Whether you're buying a new home or installing a new HVAC system in your existing home, a load calculation can save you plenty of time and frustration. Your HVAC technician conducts a load calculation to determine the appropriate size for your furnace, air conditioner, heat pump, or other appliance.
When you hire a professional to install your air conditioner or other HVAC appliance in your Chester, Texas, home, ask him or her about accurate load calculations. You'll enjoy the following eight benefits from taking that important step.
Improve Temperature Accuracy in the Home
If your air conditioner or heater is too small for your home, it cannot produce enough conditioned air to maintain the temperature you set on your thermostat. Even if it manages to reach the desired temperature, the system will have to run much longer than it should.
A load calculation determines the exact-size HVAC system your home needs to run efficiently. When you have your HVAC professional conduct a load calculation, temperature accuracy increases, and you feel more comfortable in your house. You won't experience hot and cold pockets, for instance, or rooms that feel too cool or too warm at certain times of day.
Improved comfort means you get more value from your HVAC system and you don't have to call your HVAC company for repairs and evaluations as often. It makes no sense to invest in an HVAC system that doesn't work efficiently or produce the desired results.
Reduce Energy Consumption in Your HVAC System
In addition to enhanced comfort, reduced energy consumption also results from a properly sized HVAC system. The unit does not have to work as hard to maintain the desired temperature in your home, so you'll see savings in your utility bills, and you'll develop a smaller carbon footprint.
Other factors also impact energy consumption. A load calculation greatly increases the chances that you'll have the right-size system, but you also need professional installation performed by an expert. Even though you might be tempted to save money, it's never a good idea to try to install an HVAC system yourself. Too many things can go wrong, and if you perform the job incorrectly, the resulting repairs will cost more than you would have paid for professional installation in the first place.
Additionally, you'll get better performance from your HVAC system if you use energy-efficient windows and doors. If you're purchasing a new home, give those factors consideration in addition to your air conditioner, heater, and other HVAC appliances.
Identify Incorrect Sizing in the Current System
If you are replacing your existing HVAC system in a home that you own, a load calculation prevents you from repeating a mistake that was made when the original system was installed. If the last installer failed to conduct a load calculation, he or she might have installed appliances that are too small or too large for your home.
Never rely on the load specifications of your current air conditioner or heat pump. Having a professional perform a new load calculation will ensure that the new system meets the demands of your house. HVAC professionals have become far more precise in their calculations as new technologies and tools become standard practice.
Plus, external factors can change your home's load needs. For instance, if you add a mother-in-law suite over your garage, your home gains square footage. Your heater and air conditioner require more energy to heat and cool your home, so you might need a larger unit. Conversely, knocking down an unwanted wall in your living room could decrease the load requirements in your house.
Maintain Adequate Humidity
An air conditioner does more than cool your house. It also lowers the relative humidity, which decreases the chances of mold infestations and improves your comfort. If your air conditioner is too small for your house, it can't reduce the humidity, so you might feel warmer than the thermostat indicates. Similarly, if you choose an air conditioner that is too large for the house, the HVAC system might extract too much humidity from the house.
You can address humidity issues in other ways, such as by installing whole-home air humidifiers or dehumidifiers. These appliances greatly improve home comfort, especially if you live in a humid environment. However, you don't want to purchase an air conditioner that doesn't have the correct load specifications. Otherwise, a humidifier or dehumidifier will have to work even harder.
Improve Indoor Air Quality
Just as a load calculation improves the humidity levels in your home, it also improves indoor air quality. A load calculation takes a holistic approach to HVAC system sizing, addressing issues such as ventilation and air flow. Your technician might discover, for instance, that your home experiences unnecessary or extreme air leakage in a particular area.
Improving indoor air quality can have a positive impact on your family's comfort and health, especially if any of your home's occupants suffer from allergies or asthma. You can increase your home's indoor air quality even further by improving air filtration and reducing humidity levels, but it all starts with a properly sized HVAC system.
Reveal Areas of Extreme Heat Loss and Gain
Heat loss and gain, or heat transfer, refers to the amount of conditioned air your home loses through a variety of means. For example, heat loss and gain can occur through windows. During the summer, the sun admits heat that transfers into your home through the glass or through gaps on the sides of your windows. This is called heat gain.
A load calculation can reveal areas of heat loss and gain as your HVAC technician evaluates your home. While this is not the express purpose of a load calculation, these discoveries often result from it.
If you are worried about heat loss and gain, address the issue with your HVAC technician. Ask about ways to reduce the problem, such as by closing gaps around your home.
Follow the Law
Many states have instituted laws that require HVAC professionals to conduct load calculations before installing air conditioners, heaters, and other appliances in new construction. While this doesn't necessarily apply to a replacement of an HVAC system, the reasoning behind these laws still applies.
A load calculation is designed to improve energy efficiency, reduce costs, and protect homeowners. When you have a professional conduct one, you increase the chances of achieving those goals. Even if your state does not require a load calculation, talk with your HVAC company about scheduling one prior to air conditioner or heater installation.
Prevent Unexpected HVAC-Related Costs
Just like a car or other piece of machinery, an HVAC appliance experiences wear and tear over the course of its lifespan. Components might become corroded or dulled, for instance, and fasteners can become loose. Increased use can shorten the unit's longevity and lead to increased mechanical failure, especially if it isn't properly maintained. While many factors can increase the overall deterioration of a furnace or air conditioner, improper load specifications rank as a common cause.
For example, the longer a furnace runs, the more wear and tear occurs on its critical moving parts, such as the blower. If your furnace isn't the right size for your house, the blower will run more often, hastening its deterioration. You might get fewer years out of your furnace's blower, or you might have to have it repaired sooner than you would have with a properly sized unit. Both outcomes cost money that you shouldn't have to spend.
Similarly, you might have to replace your entire furnace or air conditioner sooner if you don't have the right size. An HVAC system is an expensive investment that should last many years, but not if it's too large or small. An air conditioner that lasts 15 years has a lower total cost of ownership than one that gives out after 10 years.
Load calculations offer many advantages for homeowners who need to replace or install an HVAC system. If you want to discuss a load calculation for your house or if you need other HVAC services, call McWilliams & Son Heating and Air Conditioning at 936-465-9191 to schedule an appointment.
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