Let’s face it– most of what we learned in math class stopped being useful the day we graduated high school. We’ve never had to calculate the time it would take for two trains, traveling at different speeds, to meet at an arbitrary middle destination. And we’ve never needed to know the length of the hypotenuse of a 30-60-90 degree triangle. However, we have discovered that certain calculations make our job a lot easier, and one such calculation is to determine heat load. But what is a heat load calculation, and why does it matter?
If you receive an estimate from Air Express, you can always expect your technician to perform a heat load calculation. This calculation determines the correct air conditioner for your Tampa, FL home, dependent on square footage, layout, ceiling height, and other factors. It also accounts for your desired temperature– someone who likes to keep their home at 72 will need a different system than someone who prefers 78. Many people assume that when it comes to air conditioners, bigger is always better. This is not true, as an oversized air conditioner will cycle more frequently (ie. turn on and off more often throughout the day), driving up your energy bills. Further, an air conditioner that is too large for your home won’t be effective at regulating humidity, so even if you’re able to achieve the right temperature, your home might not be as comfortable as you’d like it to be.
We believe that performing a heat load calculation takes the guesswork out of finding the right system for your needs. Every time we install an air conditioner for a customer, we know we’re providing them with the best possible system. This means that all of our customers will pay less on future electric bills, as their systems will be better at cooling their homes. Also, a correct heat load calculation ensures that you’re not overpaying initially when you install your new system. We never want to overcharge our customers for something they don’t need– so as long as you’re listening to the recommendations that come from your heat load calculation, you’re golden!
Let’s talk about tonnage & SEER ratings…
When we recommend a system, we might say that you need a 3-ton 16 SEER system. But if you’re not well-versed in HVAC lingo, you’ll likely have no idea what we’re talking about. So let’s clear up those terms, while we’re talking about heat load calculations.
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it measures heating and cooling efficiency. This calculation is performed by dividing the cooling output by the electric energy input in a particular time frame. The minimum SEER rating for air conditioners is 13, but it goes all the way up to 22. You can think about your AC’s SEER rating the same way you think about miles per gallon for your car. Your car might advertise that it gets 33 miles/gallon on the highway, because that is when it’s most efficient. However, you’ll notice that around town, your car will be less efficient and require more frequent fill-ups. Your air conditioner functions in a similar way– a 21 SEER air conditioner is not performing at maximum efficiency all the time, but it’s likely performing better than one with a lower SEER rating (as long as it’s the right size). Further, SEER ratings are standardized across brands, so you don’t have to worry about a 21-SEER Amana air conditioner being less efficient than a 21-SEER Trane air conditioner.
Tonnage measures the cooling capacity of your system, and it correlates to its overall size. Moving further with the car comparison, you can think about tonnage in the same way as the capacity of your car’s gasoline tank. A lot of old-school technicians will correlate tonnage to the square footage of your home, and they’ll recommend an AC unit based solely off of that ratio. However, this does not take into account all of those other factors that are important when determining your perfect unit, such as the amount of insulation in your home and the height of your ceilings. That’s why it’s so important to ALWAYS ask for a heat load calculation when receiving an estimate! And remember, as we mentioned above, bigger is not always better!
Now, you might be wondering… what size air conditioner do I need?
This is where we come in! Contact Air Express today, and we can send a technician to your Tampa home ASAP. This is your opportunity to receive a heat-load calculation directly from our NATE-certified technicians. Then, you’ll be able to move forward with your AC installation project!