Before buying new heating or cooling equipment, you need to have a professional conduct a load calculation, which determines the amount of heating and cooling your home requires.
It's not wise to assume the size of your previous system was correct. Oversized HVAC systems are common, and any improvements you've made to your home have likely changed its heating and cooling loads.
To ensure the correct load calculation for your home, you'll want to work with a contractor who:
- Doesn't rely on rules of thumb -Rule-of-thumb methods don't take into account everything that affects cooling and heating loads. They're especially inaccurate with the building improvements present in many modern homes.
- Uses the correct calculation method - A load calculation needs to be done in accordance with Manual J from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) or an approved industry method. This will ensure that no factors that affect the loads get overlooked. If ductwork is being installed or modified, Manual D also must be used to make sure each room receives the right amount of heating and cooling.
- Uses complete and accurate information -Even calculations done with Manual J will be inaccurate if they're not done with the correct information. Any specifications that aren't known need to be determined via inspection or testing, not by estimation.
- Is aware of the three categories that load calculation addresses -One category is design consideration and includes things like the home's size and layout. Another, the thermal enclosure, is affected by such factors as how well the home is insulated and sealed against air leakage. Lastly, there are internal factors, such as energy losses from leaks, as well as heat generation from lighting, appliances and occupants.
If you're interested in having a load calculation or a home performance appraisal performed, contact P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We've provided service to homeowners in the greater Cleveland area since 1936.Follow @PKwadsworth
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for over 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. Paul is the Chairman of COSE's Energy Advisory Council. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.
photo credit: gynti_46