Assessing and Managing Your Home Heating Load

Assessing and Managing Your Home Heating LoadChilly Indiana winters may mean a heavy home heating load. The heating load is the amount of BTUs required to keep a specific house comfortable in the coldest expected weather. The good news is: it’s not written in stone. Heating load varies according to the efficiency performance of the house and can be altered by improvements you may opt to make.

First, determine the status quo. Consider a formal heating load calculation by a qualified HVAC contractor. The process involves a room-by-room assessment to gather data about the specific thermal characteristics of your house. Plugging the numbers into industry standard software called Manual J generates an accurate heating load estimate in total BTUs. In addition to determining whether your heating system is properly sized for the job, this information helps pinpoint correctable issues.

Changes you may choose to make to manage the home heating load include:

Eliminate air leaks.

Heat energy naturally seeps out of the house through structural holes and gaps, increasing the BTU requirements to maintain a comfortable temperature. Track down any areas where air leakage occurs such as openings in the ceiling, cracks between wall joints and the gap along the baseboard. These can be filled with household silicone caulk. Also, evaluate the condition of weatherstripping around doors and windows and replace with new material as needed. Outside, seal up any external openings such as points where pipes or conduits enter the structure.

Evaluate insulation.

Do you have enough in the attic? Measure the depth of attic insulation and compare to current published Department of Energy recommendations. If additional insulation is needed, it can be added atop existing layers.

Seal ductwork.

Leaky ducts release heated air into unconditioned areas such as the attic or crawl space. Since these lost BTUs must be made up by the furnace running longer cycles to maintain thermostat settings, the heating load increases. A qualified HVAC technician can pressure test ducts to establish the amount of leakage, then suggest options for sealing.

Manage your home heating load effectively with advice and service from Paitson Bros., serving the Wabash Valley since 1922.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heating loads and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859. 

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “geralt/Pixabay” 

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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