calculate HVAC loads

Getting a New AC? Why You Need to Understand HVAC Loads in Fuquay Varina, NC

June 29, 2022

Choosing a new air conditioning system for your home requires some groundwork beforehand to make sure you’re getting the right system for your needs. One of the most important things to take into consideration is HVAC loads. Let’s learn about HVAC loads and why they’re important when picking out a new AC system for your Fuquay Varina, NC home.

What Is an HVAC Load?

HVAC load refers to the total amount of cooling or heating required for a home to stay regulated at the proper temperature. Several factors influence load, including the square footage of the house, local climate, number of exterior doors and windows the structure has, grade of insulation, exposure to direct sunlight and number of occupants living in the home. All this information determines the size of the unit needed to adequately heat or cool the dwelling.

Why Is Knowing HVAC Load Important?

One of the biggest misconceptions when choosing a new air conditioning system is that bigger is always better, which isn’t the case. A unit that’s the wrong size for the space will cause several problems

A unit that’s too large will cycle on and off frequently as it tries to regulate the temperature, leading to overworking and a shorter lifespan down the road. Finally, a unit that’s too small will experience this same issue because it’s constantly working harder to keep the area heated or cooled.

Whether too large or too small, the wrong-size system will have a negative effect on indoor air quality. An AC unit that’s too large for the dwelling will cause the air to have a humid, clammy feel because it’s working too quickly and producing a large amount of cool air without being able to adequately reduce the humidity. An undersized unit won’t have the power it needs to process the air it’s attempting to cool down, leaving it at a warmer, uncomfortable temperature.

How to Calculate HVAC Loads

In order to calculate the HVAC load, the level of efficiency required must first convert to British Thermal Units (BTUs). The higher the number of BTUs a unit is capable of handling, the more power it’ll put forth for heating or cooling. There are three steps to calculating HVAC load.

1. Determine Square Footage

The first thing you’ll need to do is measure the square footage of the house. Use the blueprints or measure from room to room to get these figures. Measure each room to determine its length and width, then multiply each set of numbers accordingly to get the approximate square footage of the area your new system will need to heat or cool.

2. Calculate Determining Factors

Count the number of windows and exterior doors, find out the insulation grade used in your home’s construction, track sun exposure and determine the house’s level of airtightness and the number of heat-generating appliances. Once you have all of this information, technicians will then use it to determine load. A simple way to estimate BTUs is by using the following steps:

  • For each home resident, figure 100 BTU
  • For each window, figure 1,000 BTU
  • For each exterior door, figure 1,000 BTU

3. Add It All Up

Double-check to make certain you’ve correctly calculated in each step to determine BTUs. Be sure to factor in the base BTU figure based on the overall size of the house. For example, a 2,500 square foot house with four residents, 10 windows and two exterior doors would calculates as follows:

  • 2500 x 25 = 62,500 (this is the base BTU figure)
  • Four residents x 100 = 400 BTU
  • 10 windows x 1,000 = 10,000 BTU
  • Two exterior doors x 1,000 = 2000 BTU
  • 62,500 plus 400 + 10,000 + 2,000 = 81,000 BTU

Our Professional Services

Taking the time to ensure that you’re getting the right system for your home will save you money and eliminate any potential problems later on. If you need help determining BTUs and the correct load for your new AC system, don’t hesitate to contact Cape Fear Air Conditioning, and one of our expert technicians will be happy to assist you.

Image provided by iStock

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