Home Heating Evaluation
If the cold weather has you feeling uncomfortable in your own home, it may be time to repair your current heating system or invest in a new one altogether. You should not suffer through another chilly winter when there is a heating system that will warm your home perfectly. The first step in getting your home comfortable again is to connect with a qualified technician who will examine your home, evaluate your home’s heating needs, and provide informed heating equipment recommendations.
What Should I Expect When My Contractor Evaluates My Home?
That is a question homeowners often ask. When your A/C technician visits your home, not only will he inspect your furnace or heating unit, but he will also examine your system’s ductwork, if applicable. If your current heating system has ductwork, your contractor will also take a look at that, and he may recommend that an air leakage test be done so that he can determine if your ductwork has any loss of airflow. Besides inspecting your actual heating system, your contractor will also inspect your entire house, so be ready for a thorough whole-house evaluation. This will help him calculate your home’s heating needs.
Calculating Your Home’s Heating Needs
Your home as it is right now has a certain amount of heat loss (and gain). In other words, heat is escaping it as we speak, and this is what’s causing you to feel so unbearably cold. Most people think that cold air enters the house during wintertime, but what really happens is that heat escapes your home. The reason for this is that heat is a form of energy that will always travel from hot to cold. So any amount of heat your body or your furnace gives off will constantly move toward cold substances and atmospheres.
Since heat loves to escape toward cold so much, your contractor’s job when evaluating your home’s heating needs is to calculate the heat loss rate of your home, so that he can size your central heating system accurately. This, as you may already suspect, is no simple task.
A knowledgeable contractor will determine the heat loss of your home based on procedures published by the ACCA, or Air Conditioning Contractors of America. This non-profit organization “write(s) the standards for the design, maintenance, installation, testing, and performance of indoor environment systems.” Contractors who wish to install central, or whole-house heating systems in any home follow the ACCA’s guidelines. Because the guidelines are composed of complex mathematical calculations, many contractors choose to use computer software to help them with the calculations, while others still opt for manual calculations based off printed worksheets.
What Exactly is Considered in These Complex Calculations?
In order to calculate how fast heat escapes your house, your contractor will take into consideration the following characteristics of your home and its surroundings:
- Local climate, especially noting average temperature lows
- Direction your home faces
- Square footage of entire home and each room
- Roof style & ceiling style(s)
- Number of windows in each room
- Types of window frames
- Number of walls and partitions
- Number of doors
- Types of doors: French doors, glass doors, etc.
- Types of flooring: wooden, tile, etc.
- Insulated walls & uninsulated walls
- Fireplace(s) present or not
- Major home appliances present
- Number of occupants
- And more seemingly unlikely factors!
Each of these attributes has an exact heat loss or gain value that affects the total heat calculation number. Once your contractor inputs all of these values into his software or worksheets, he will know exactly which central heating system is suitable for your home. By the end of your in-home evaluation, you’ll know exactly what to look for when selecting an appropriately-sized heating system.
Why is the Right Size So Important?
Having an appropriately-sized heating system will ensure that your system lasts as long as it should because it will work at its ideal capacity. A system that is too large for your home will cycle on and off frequently, causing the system to breakdown prematurely. A system that is too small won’t have enough heating capacity to warm your entire house, so your home will have areas that are colder than others. The best solution is to have an appropriately sized whole-house heating system. The best way to know which heating system is a perfect fit for your home is to contact your local air conditioning contractor, and ask for an in-home evaluation.
For help finding a qualified contractor, search our listings, or give us a call at 866-97-ACPRO, and we’ll happily connect you with one.