Upgrading an HVAC system could be one of the most complex purchases you make as a homeowner, and the critical first step is a load calculation.
Without it, you risk choosing a system that won’t be as energy efficient or long-lived as one that’s been precisely sized for your home.
To complete this calculation, HVAC professionals use computer software called Manual J and D that take into account these factors about your home:
- Cubic footage
- Insulation levels
- Air infiltration rates
- Windows, their size, energy efficiency and solar exposure
- Landscaping factors
- Floor plan design
- Number and age of family members
- Preferred indoor temperatures
- Appliances that create heat
All of those elements make a difference in the size of HVAC system you need. Starting the selection process with this analysis shows you where you can make changes that could improve your home’s energy efficiency. Since it’s easy to change the inputs of the load calculation using Manual J, you can see if it would be more cost-effective to add insulation and seal air leaks or to install a larger system.
Manual D uses the results of Manual J to find the best configuration for the ductwork based on your home’s layout and the size of the system you need. Ducts that aren’t adequately sized or configured won’t deliver the conditioned air as efficiently.
Not carefully measuring your home’s conditioning load could result in these problems:
- Short cycling. This occurs when an HVAC system is installed that’s too large for your home. The equipment heats or cools your home too quickly and it turns on and off frequently. This adds considerable wear to your system and increases energy bills. It also reduces comfort because the air won’t circulate thoroughly and an A/C that’s too large won’t remove as much humidity in the summer.
- Running too long. Systems that are too small have to run a long time during weather extremes, which also increases wear and reduces comfort.
To learn more about load calculation and its importance, contact T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating. We’ve provided trusted HVAC services for Long Island homeowners since 1934.
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