A home’s heating and cooling load refers to the amount of BTUs of heat that must be added to the house by the furnace or extracted from the house by the air conditioner to maintain a consistent level of comfort.

Because every house is different when it comes to thermal characteristics, accurately determining the heating/cooling load can’t be left to simple guesstimates or averages based on other houses.

You should always have a professional load calculation performed by a qualified HVAC technician before you install a new system. Both under-sized and over-sized furnaces and air conditioners are a bad deal for the homeowner: they cost more to operate, provide disappointing heating/cooling performance and have a shorter expected service life than a properly sized unit.

In a typical heating/cooling load calculation, the technician conducts a room-by-room survey of the house, entering specific data about the home’s thermal characteristics into industry-standard software known as Manual D, published by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America.

Here are some of the factors that go into computing an accurate load calculation:

  • Square footage of the house
  • Seasonal orientation to the sun
  • Type of foundation
  • Roofing type and color
  • Insulation R-value in walls, floor and ceiling
  • Number of windows, size and location
  • Type and number of doors
  • General air-tightness of the structure
  • Desired temperature for optimum comfort
  • Details of local climate

After these and other data points are entered into the software, Manual D computes the optimum heating and cooling load, expressed in BTUs. With this information, a qualified HVAC contractor can select a furnace and/or air conditioner with the BTU capacity to meet the unique HVAC needs of your home for optimum comfort, energy efficiency and system reliability.

For more information about professional services to accurately determine the HVAC needs of your home, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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