Coming up with an efficient residential cooling load estimate is one of the critical steps in every new air conditioning installation—whether the cooling system is for commercial or home use. Identifying the right size and capacity of your heating and cooling equipment not only saves you on electricity bills. It’s also critical in providing the best comfort for you and your family or employees.

How To Estimate Your Home's Cooling Load

In this article, you’ll find out how heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) specialists assess cooling requirements for your property.

Why Is A Cooling Load Estimate Crucial?

Coming up with reasonable estimates helps you determine the types of equipment that must be used to replace or purchase parts of your HVAC system, including air conditioner, heat pump, furnace, to name a few. Getting either an oversized or undersized cooling unit causes energy-efficiency problems that won’t be able to provide you with the comfort you need. Check the tips here and understand why bigger isn’t always better for HVAC systems.

How Are Home Cooling Load Estimates Done?

By definition, a home’s cooling load measures an air conditioning unit must have to cool a specific home area. This capacity is often measured through British Thermal Units or BTUs. One BTU is the amount of thermal energy needed to increase a pound of a matter’s temperature to one degree Fahrenheit.  It may sound counterintuitive, but BTU is essential in the HVAC sector in that it also indicates the amount of heat that an air conditioning system can remove in an hour. Thus, a higher BTU rating in an air conditioner means higher capacities in heat removal, even in large spaces.

How To Estimate Your Home's Cooling Load - technician

Taking the abovementioned tips in mind, you may check on your entire property and perform the following steps:

  1. Get An Accurate Measurement Of Your Home

If you can’t find your residential blueprint, take the length and width of each room to be cooled and multiply them to get the square footage. Do this in each room and add their total measurements to get your estimated cooling requirements. While this is by no means the only factor to consider, the size of the area to be cooled is one of the primary elements in estimating your home’s cooling load. A larger space requires higher BTU units. For instance, a property that measures about 5,000 square feet would need about 100 to 150 BTUs per hour. A BTU increase in increments of 50 to 100 is required for every additional 1,000 square feet area for every hour.

  1. Consider Your Home’s Temperature-Sealing Properties

When considering cooling loads, your home’s insulation is included in the primary considerations. Generally speaking, the purpose of insulation is to avoid heat transfer, and many people may think that this process is only vital in keeping the room warm. However, insulation is just as crucial in preventing external heat from getting into your property. Proper insulation helps reduce heat conduction in your home through windows, doors, and other openings. It also helps keep cold air in. Meanwhile, proper ventilation may also avoid heat buildup—but only if you practice spot ventilation. This means using vents only in areas where heat, humidity, and moisture buildup, are likely to occur, such as in your laundry room or basement.

  1. Check Your Home’s Location And Other Heat Sources

Several sources contribute to the additional heat in and out of your property. Check, from among a few things, the direction your home faces, the climate, alongside the number and positions of windows.

  • Number and location of your windows: Windows facing south can contribute to higher heat gains than other properties without them. Some estimates suggest you add 1,000 BTUs for every window in your home. The said measurement is also applicable for every other exterior door.
  • Climate or sun exposure: According to this study, a third of the estimated total energy consumption in the summer comes from residential air conditioning systems. Thus, it’s also important to consider your home’s peak load, especially during the summer, when getting your overall home cooling load estimates.
  • The number of occupants: Humans generate heat throughout the day, emitted through the surroundings. The more occupants you have in the home, the higher the cooling load you’ll have. It’s estimated that each additional person could contribute about 100 additional BTUs to your home’s cooling load.

The Bottom Line

Getting the proper estimations for your cooling and heating load capacities is the first step in providing you and your family with the best cooling and heating experience. Incorrect load calculations can lead to costly bills and inefficient cooling and heating capacities. Thus, besides getting an estimate of your BTU requirements and enhancing temperature-sealing properties, choose an air conditioning unit with a high seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating to ensure energy efficiency.