You've probably heard the terms "heating load" or "cooling load" in reference to the furnace and air conditioner. Sometimes experts advise reducing these loads on the HVAC system to save money on utility bills. Heating and cooling loads will also affect the size of the furnace or air conditioner you need. Here's a brief explanation of these terms and how understanding them can help you save.
Defining Heating (and Cooling) Loads
Load refers to how much heat has to be added or removed in a space to achieve a desired temperature range. When you're planning to upgrade your heating system, your HVAC consultant will refer to your home's heating load, or how much capacity a furnace must have to heat the home to the desired temperature. Reducing the load means finding ways to make the home more efficient so a system with a lower capacity can be installed. It also means preventing heated air from escaping the home — and cold air from infiltrating — so that the furnace works efficiently to achieve the temperature set points.
Heating and cooling loads are determined by software calculations, based on input from data collected on the home, including square footage, how many and what size windows, the home's orientation, insulation and many other factors. The software calculates the home's heating or cooling load so that the consultant can determine what size HVAC system is needed. The more efficient the home, the smaller the heating or cooling load, and the less heating or cooling capacity an HVAC system will need.
Here are a few things you can do to reduce your heating load this winter and lower your bills:
Caulk or install weatherstripping around windows and doors to keep out drafts.
Install a door sweep on exterior doors.
Install insulation around pipes, cables and wiring that enter through holes in exterior walls.
Insulate electrical switches in exterior walls.
Add insulation in attics and walls. Attic insulation should be above joists.
To learn more about reducing the load on your furnace, contact Air Assurance. We've served the Broken Arrow area for 30 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Imagentle/Shutterstock”