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Why a Load Calculation Is the Important First Step to Furnace Replacement

Posted on: January 1, 2014

Does it seem to you like Chicago’s frigid winter winds are overwhelming your furnace and leaving your home cold? If you’re thinking of replacing your furnace, the most important first step you can take is to have load calculations performed. These are the collective measurements made in a home or commercial space to gauge heat gain and heat loss and the necessary capacity for new equipment.

There are several reasons why this is such an important part of any heating or cooling project.

  • First and foremost, it’s necessary to determine the proper sizing of heating equipment. An oversized furnace will be inefficient and unable to dehumidify the air in your home. Similarly, an undersized unit will be overworked and more likely to break down, which can subject the unit to experiencing a shorter life span.
  • Load calculations will generally identify areas of excessive heat loss around the home, which can then be shored up by additional insulation or other efficiency strategies. If heat loss areas are detected and managed, it may then be possible to install a smaller unit, since less capacity might be required.
  • In 29 states, it’s now required that load calculations be performed in new homes.

The best way to ensure that load calculations are done properly is to have an experienced HVAC professional visit your home and take the time to perform the calculations. A pro will refer to the source used by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), which is known in the industry as Manual J. This manual contains the most up-to-date guidelines available for correct measurement of heat gain and loss. For standards on ducts to be used, your professional will use Manual D, which is the ANSI standard reference on ducts.

When you’re ready to begin your Chicago area home heating or cooling project, you’ll want the help of the most reputable HVAC professionals. Contact the heating and cooling experts at Black Diamond Plumbing & Mechanical for your home comfort needs.

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