What Is an HVAC Load and Why Is it Important in Poinciana, FL?

It’s critical to get the right size system when installing a new HVAC system for your Poinciana, FL home. The only way to accurately do that is with a professional HVAC load calculation. Learn what an HVAC load is, how it’s different from estimates and why it’s so important.

Understanding HVAC Load

First, let’s define what an HVAC load calculation is. HVAC load is a mathematical approach to understanding how your home generates and transfers heat.

How your home transfers heat informs your technician about both the right size, but also the right style, of system your home requires. It does this by evaluating sources of potential heat and how heat enters and leaves your home.

The industry-standard method of calculating this is the Manual J calculation. This particular calculation considers a host of variables that affect how you heat and cool your home. These factors include:

  • Square footage
  • Ceiling height
  • Number and size of windows
  • Number of exterior doors
  • Insulation value
  • Appliances and lifestyle factors

Difference Between Load Calculation and System Estimates

Some people think they can estimate HVAC system sizes based on some general rules of thumb. Much of the time, they take into consideration the square footage of a home, plus the typical number of occupants, which sounds reasonable on its face.

While these estimates may give you a ballpark for estimating a budget, they lack the specificity truly required. Rather, this leaves you at risk of installing an improperly sized system, potentially too large or too small.

With Manual J calculations, your technician uses specific measurements and established values. This gives them a clear picture of how your home transfers heat, including which areas are more challenging. The result is a more specific recommendation for both system size and style to keep your home comfortable.

Problems with Undersized Systems

When thinking about HVAC system sizes, this describes the heating and cooling capacity. The common measurement is British Thermal Units, or BTUs. A single BTU is the heat required to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

Undersized systems leave your system running longer for heating and cooling cycles. This significantly increases the amount of energy consumed while failing to achieve your desired temperature.

Additionally, longer cycles put excessive wear on your system. Think of your system as having a certain number of operational hours it’ll work. If you run longer cycles, you’ll use more of those hours more quickly than you should, which shortens your system’s lifespan.

By using those hours more quickly, you’ll accelerate how quickly you’ll need heating and AC repairs. Additionally, using those hours more quickly reduces the number of seasons your system will serve your home.

Problems with Oversized Systems

More capacity is just as problematic for your system as not enough. In the case of an oversized system, you’ll experience short cycling, which is when the system shuts down prematurely. This creates a situation where the system isn’t running long enough to effectively heat or cool your home.

Short cycling also increases the number of cycle starts your system experiences. This is the hardest part of the cycle, using more energy than the unit running longer cycles. Constant short cycling consumes more power, raising your utility costs, and causes more repairs.

Finally, the system short cycles because it either overheats or freezes, depending on the system. Overheating your heating system can damage your heat exchanger, and freezing can damage your AC’s coils. In both cases, it significantly shortens your service life and can invalidate your manufacturer’s warranty.

Don’t guess whether what you’re installing is the right system for your house. Call to schedule your AC consultation with the experts at Frank’s Air Conditioning and know you’re getting the right solution.

Image provided by iStock

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