How to Assess Your Home Heating Load

How to Assess Your Home Heating Load

You may have heard the term "heating load" and wondered what it means. While it’s an HVAC industry term, understanding its meaning will help you operate your home’s heating and cooling system, as well as undertake certain home improvements, for better energy efficiency and comfort.

The home heating load is the amount of heating required to make the home comfortable. Similarly, the cooling load is the amount of air conditioning needed for home comfort. However, the heating or cooling load is not a static figure; rather, it can be reduced or increased by manipulating the factors that go into it.

One of the main factors is the energy efficiency of your home. A house that’s tightly sealed and well-insulated will have a lower heating load than one that’s got lots of air leaks and lacks insulation in crucial areas. If the ductwork and registers that deliver warm or cool air are leaky, poorly designed or otherwise defective, this also will reduce the heating load.

If you take steps to address those factors – seal air leaks with caulk, weatherstripping or spray foam, install the right type and amount of insulation, repair leaky ducts, etc. – you’ll reduce the heating load. You may want to hire a special technician to perform an energy audit on your home that will measure and identify areas where air and heat energy are escaping or infiltrating (depending on the season).

The benefits of a lowering the home heating load are two-fold. First of all, the lower the heating load in your home, the easier the workload on your HVAC equipment and the lower your energy bills. Second, when it comes time to replace your heating system, a lower heating load will allow you to buy a cheaper, lower-capacity replacement system.

Nearly any step that you take to reduce your home heating load will have the simultaneous effect of reducing the cooling load as well, with the same positive benefits.

If you’d like to discuss tried-and-true methods to reduce your Silicon Valley home heating load, please contact us at Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).