Installing a New Cooling System? A Load Calculation Comes First
Installing a new cooling system can improve your comfort during our hot, humid Delaware-area summers and lower your cooling bills too. Even if you’re installing a high-efficiency Energy Star-qualified A/C system, the system’s efficiency ultimately depends on correct sizing. To size your system right, your HVAC contractor should start by performing a thorough cooling load calculation for your home.
Accurate load calculation matters
In theory, an HVAC technician can estimate a home’s cooling load based only on square footage. This method is quick, but it usually results in oversized equipment. With an oversized system, you can be sure your air conditioner has enough power to cool your home even on the hottest days. The downside is that oversized systems cost more initially, run up your energy bills and don’t provide optimal comfort overall.
According to experts from the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a study conducted in Florida found systems oversized by 50 percent or more cause a 9 percent increase in cooling-related electricity use. The too-short run times of oversized systems also interfere with humidity control. Short cycles leave too little time for air to pass by the cool coil and be a dehumidifier.
What to expect
Using the right protocol to calculate your home’s cooling load is the first step in installing a new cooling system. This protocol is outlined in Manual J, published by the Air Conditioning Contractor’s Association of America (ACCA). It takes into account your home’s geographic location, physical orientation on the property, desired temperature, number of occupants and your home’s level of airtightness, among other factors. Because it’s a fairly complex procedure, many contractors use software to calculate faster and reduce risk of errors.
If you’re thinking about installing a new cooling system, talk with your contractor about how he or she plans to calculate your home’s cooling load and equipment size.
For trustworthy guidance on the process, contact us at Sobieski Services. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
Image Credit: Felix Idan