Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

Heating Installation Question: What Is a Load Calculation and Why Is It Important?

An integral part of designing and installing a heating, ventilation and cooling system in our Olney home is the load calculation. Calculating the load of a room, home, or building essentially consists of determining how much heat is lost and gained within that area. A proper load calculation is critical to installing an appropriate HVAC system, as well as ensuring maximum efficiency or diagnosing problem areas of an existing system.

The Load Calculation Process

When conducting a load calculation for your home or office, a professional will consider several factors that can affect heat loss and gain. First among these is the construction of the building. This includes not only cubic footage, but also the type of material making up the walls, ceiling and floor, as well as any duct work. A professional performing a load calculation will examine the entire building envelope, including whether the walls are wood or masonry, if there are cathedral ceilings, what type of insulation is installed, and so on.

Secondly, load calculation takes into account doors and windows, as these can affect heat gain and loss. The number of doors and windows, as well as the size, shape and material of each one is included in the load calculation. This includes skylights and sliding glass doors, as well as the type of material shading any windows. A professional will look at pane thickness, number of panes in each window, if there are storm windows installed, any drafts in door installations, and even what kind of drapes are on the windows in order to accurately calculate load.

Additional Factors

There are other factors an Olney professional must take into account, including appliances and occupants. Heavy appliances tend to give off heat, as does having a lot of people in a space, so these must be considered in order for an HVAC system to properly regulate temperature and airflow. Last but not least, of course, is the matter of desired temperature change. By how much do you want to raise and lower the temperature of your home or office?

Calculating load prior to installing a new HVAC system is a vital part of the process. It is also a good idea to perform a calculation with current systems, as it may reveal already existing inefficiencies or deficiencies. An inefficient HVAC system not only results in unsatisfactory heating and cooling, but also unnecessary cost due to wasted energy. As you can see load calculation is an elaborate and complex process, but it is necessary for a properly functioning HVAC system.