What Is a Heat Load, and Why Does it Matter?

January 23, 2018

Heating technician When you’re considering upgrading or replacing your home’s heating system, there are a number of things to take into consideration, and a couple terms you should understand a little more. One of those is “heat load.” Here’s what you should know, how it’s calculated, and what it may mean for you as a homeowner contemplating a change in the way you heat your home.

So What’s a Heat Load Anyway?

The answer is that a heat load is the amount of energy needed to keep an indoor space heated at accepted levels of comfort. It’s an important aspect in determining the heating capacity, or the amount of heat the equipment in your home (or the equipment you’re considering upgrading to) should be providing. These two numbers combined will help you determine what heating solution might work best for your individual needs.

How is it Calculated?

A heat load calculation is influenced by a number of factors. When sizing and specifying a replacement furnace or boiler for your home, an HVAC professional will “run a heat load” for your installation, taking into account your home’s existing square footage and volume, insulation values (for your walls, ceilings, floors, windows), as well as how tightly sealed the house is (infiltration) and what outdoor temperatures are like in your region throughout the year. The full heat load calculation adds all these factors together and then adjusts the final total for the elevation of your home (crucial in the Colorado Front Range!). The heat load is expressed in terms of “BTUs per hour” of equipment heating output needed to properly heat your home. When recommending specific systems for your home, your HVAC contractor takes the further step of factoring in the efficiency level of the equipment you are considering.

Why Does it Matter?

A well-calculated heat load will help ensure that whatever equipment you’re considering isn’t too big or too small for your home and its needs. If you’re working with the experts at Save Home Heat you can rest assured that we will consider all the parameters necessary to find the most efficient solution for your home, while maintaining or improving the level of comfort you and your family are accustomed to. The heat load calculation helps us hone in on intelligent solutions by matching your home’s specific needs with the heating capacities of various gas fired systems and supplemental electric heating options.

If you’re contemplating a replacement or upgrade of your heating equipment and it seems like a pretty big undertaking, that’s because it is! There’s a lot to consider, but that’s why you bring in the professionals. We love this stuff, and helping you find the right solution for your home’s very individual needs, going above and beyond all the Googling you could do, is what we’re all about. If you want to know more about your home’s heat load calculation before you replace your unit, give us a call.