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Is the Heat Loading You Down?

Recently, central Texas has been experiencing triple digit heat and there does not seem to be any relief coming in the near future. If you are like most people, you are looking for ways to keep your house as cool as possible without breaking the bank. We would like to help you improve the efficiency of your air conditioning as we all look for ways to survive the last dog days of summer.

Heat loading

Have you ever walked in your house and felt really cool in one room and then the next room feels much hotter? You probably have wondered why this is happening and what can be done about it. “Heat loading” can be a real problem for homeowners as the temperatures soar during the summer months and even in the winter. To understand how to combat this problem we first need to take a look at what heat load is and some factors that lead to it.

Basically, heat load is how much heating or cooling is needed to make a particular room the right temperature. The room’s square footage, ceiling height, number of windows and the direction those windows face, all play a role in determining the heat load in a given space. Other factors that effect heat load, are the appliances used in the room, the number of people using a given space, and weather conditions. The single most influential factor to heat gain in any area is solar radiation. Solar radiation is determined by how much direct sunlight an area receives and for how long each day. The amount of solar radiation an area in the home receives can be lowered by considering what materials are used to construct the home, how much insulation is installed, what direction the home faces, and how many external doors and windows are installed. These are all factors that should be considered when the home is built and also when purchasing a new HVAC system for your current home. If you are not currently building a home or in the market for a new AC, you can still limit the solar radiation a room gets by installing window treatments that help to block the suns rays, such as curtains or solar screens.

Certain areas of your home will have a larger heat load than others. Here are a couple of examples:

If a room has east or west facing windows, a high ceiling, or is located over the garage it is more likely to become uncomfortable. As the sun travels across the sky the east and west facing windows allow much more sunlight and heat to enter the room. Heat rises, so the room over the garage will absorb the rising heat from the uncooled space below it. Another example of how heat load can change from one room to the next; is how the room is being used. A room that is being used by one adult reading on the couch will have a lower heat load than a room that is being shared by three children all using their own personal computer.

So, next time you walk into a room in your house and wonder why it is hotter or colder than the one you just left, consider the factors we just discussed. It may be time to consider upgrading your HVAC unit or checking the ductwork in your home as well. A unit that is too small or large can effect the temperature and humidity in your home and duct work helps determine how much air is flowing into each room.

1st AC and Heating can help you complete a heat load assessment at your home and make sure that you are doing everything to save money and stay cool this summer. Give us a call today to schedule your AC checkup.

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