What does HVAC Cooling Load Mean

Whether you are on the market for a new air conditioning system or whether you are concerned that your AC unit isn’t keeping your home comfortable, you may need to consider your home’s cooling load and your system’s size as you research your options. The cooling load is defined as the amount of conditioned air that is necessary to moderate a designated area. It is based on calculations related to several structural and usage issues in your house.

Can I Do My Own Load Calculation?

There are different methods for computing your cooling load, each based on the use of a variety of measurements. Varied factors are taken into account, including your home’s square footage, the type and quantity of insulation, window sizing, house orientation and occupancy. Your existing system may be used as a point of comparison in determining the correct sizing for your home as well. While some consumers like to be able to do their own computations, a professional analysis is important for ensuring that a properly sized system is selected when you upgrade.

The Effect of Improper Sizing

While it’s easy to imagine that a bigger AC unit is better, this isn’t true. An oversized unit can lead to both comfort and cost issues. One of the most important factors is the run time your air conditioner experiences. Our humid Georgia climate can make your home miserable during the summer months. Your air conditioner coils cause moisture to condense and drain. However, an extended run time is important for this process to happen appropriately.

An oversized unit may reach the desired temperature quickly, but it won’t enable the effective condensation needed to dehumidify your home. The result is wasted energy and poor comfort levels. Short spurts of cooling aren’t sufficient. If your unit doesn’t run for at least 15 minutes at a time, you are probably dealing with a sizing issue. You may also deal with mold and indoor air quality issues related to too much moisture in the house.

If your system is undersized, it may have some trouble keeping your home comfortable on hotter days. You may experience extensive running time from your unit, a factor which is definitely helpful for keeping indoor humidity down. However, comfort levels may still be compromised and there will be increased wear and tear on your system.

Should I Replace My System if Sizing Is Wrong?

Before you decide on a replacement unit, it’s helpful to consult with an HVAC professional who can provide a comprehensive evaluation of your system. In addition to your cooling load, he can check:

  • System operation and condition
  • Duct condition
  • Thermostat function
  • Strategies for reducing heat gain at windows and doors
  • Availability of ventilation and dehumidification equipment

In some cases, supplemental equipment like a whole-home dehumidifier can produce a marked improvement in home comfort levels when an oversized system is in place. Intermittent strategies like using insulated window coverings or adjusting attic insulation levels can help with maintaining comfort in a home with an undersized AC unit.

Wilson Bryant Air Conditioning provides HVAC products, service and maintenance in Milledeville, GA. We can evaluate your current system and provide the most effective solutions for improving your home comfort levels. Please give us a call for more information.