Installing New HVAC Equipment? A Load Calculation Comes First


installing new hvac equipment, Acton, MassachusettsTwo important reasons exist for conducting a load calculation prior to installing new HVAC equipment. Whether you’re purchasing a new air conditioner or heat pump, performing a load calculation helps your installer select the right size of system in terms of capacity, and it gives you the opportunity to improve home efficiency in order to select a smaller system.

Here’s what you need to know.

The sizing method

Developed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), reputable, experienced contractors use the Manual J method to calculate a home’s cooling load. (This method can also be used to calculate heating load.) While complicated, the calculation takes a comprehensive look at the home’s efficiency, determining the performance of insulation, air sealing and windows, while also taking into consideration lifestyle patterns such as temperature preferences and equipment inside the home that generates heat.

Sizing the HVAC system

Without a load calculation, your installer would have no other option but to make an educated guess regarding system capacity, taking only the home’s square footage into account. However, during this phase of the installation process, the contractor should conduct a calculation to determine the size using Manual S, also developed by the ACCA. Manual S uses information discovered during Manual J to accurately match the size of the air conditioner or heat pump to the home’s cooling load.

Benefits of installing new HVAC equipment based on sizing methods

Ultimately, the primary benefits of employing industry-leading sizing methods pays off in terms of lower purchase and operating costs. If the load calculation shows the home’s performance is low, make improvements to boost efficiency. Your contractor may suggest air sealing the home, upgrading insulation or simply changing temperature preferences. Making these upgrades before installing new HVAC equipment in many cases allows homeowners to purchase a smaller-sized system at a lower cost.

Don’t risk your investment when installing new HVAC equipment. Always begin with a sizing calculation, boost the efficiency of your home and then make the selection. For expert advice, contact Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning today. We provide HVAC services to the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts.

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