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HVAC Loads and Their Importance for Installations

When you’re shopping for a new HVAC system for your Fairfax, VA, home, you might hear people talking about loads. If you’re new to the heating and cooling world, you might not be familiar with the term, but it’s important for a variety of reasons. Read on to find out what an HVAC load is and why it’s a critical part of heating and cooling.

What’s a Load Calculation?

Load refers to the amount of heating or cooling a particular space requires, which determines the size of HVAC system it needs. Load calculation is, as you might guess, the calculation used to determine the building’s load.

Types of Loads

Though we’ve gone over the most basic definition of load, there’s more to it than that. There are actually three types of loads taken into account when calculating how much heating or cooling a building needs. Those are:

  • Extreme load.
  • Design load.
  • Partial load.

Extreme Load

Extreme loads are probably the least relevant type of load, at least as far as determining the size of HVAC system you should purchase for your home. HVAC professionals determine extreme loads by looking at the temperatures a building experiences; specifically, they take into account the absolute highest and absolute lowest temperatures.

Design Load

The design load is the amount of cooling or heating your home needs in relation to the home’s design and its location. Design load also includes the structure of the building itself, keeping its overall energy efficiency in mind along with sun exposure, insulation, the types of windows installed in the building and so on. This means that a two-story home will have a different design load than a one-story home, but even two two-story homes might have different design loads if one is more exposed to the sun or has a different type of insulation.

Partial Load

Partial load is arguably the most important type of load; it’s used in concert with the design load to determine the best size of HVAC system for a home or other building. At its most basic, the partial load is the amount of heating or cooling that a structure will most commonly require. Think of it as the most normal conditions a home will experience.

Importance of HVAC Load Calculations

You might be wondering why calculating your home’s load is important; after all, wouldn’t a bigger air conditioner be better for cooling your living space? That might seem ideal, but having the wrong size of HVAC system can result in quite a few issues, whether your system is too big or too small. To prevent having to call someone for HVAC repairs constantly, you need to make sure your system is the right size for your home.

When your HVAC system is too small, it’ll struggle to heat or cool your home to the temperature you set, resulting in faster wear and tear. When an HVAC system operates under heavy stress, pieces of it can malfunction or break entirely. You’ll also see an increase in your energy costs.

On the flipside, a too-big HVAC system can cool your space too quickly; this might sound good, but your system plays a role in regulating your home’s humidity, meaning that its cycles need to be the right length to actually get the job done. Short-cycling can also put more stress on the system, increasing your energy bills and causing more wear and tear than necessary.

If you need more information on load calculations and why they’re essential for your Fairfax, VA, home, contact Brennan’s Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer expert HVAC installation and maintenance services and are ready to help keep your home comfortable.

Image provided by iStock

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