What’s a heat load?

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Heating load is the amount of heat required per hour to maintain a desired temperature in a space. It is calculated using factors such as space size, layout, and potential for heat loss. It is important to determine the heating load before installing a heating system to ensure efficiency and sustainability.

A heating load is a measure of how much heat is required per hour to heat a given space and to maintain a desired temperature. A number of factors go into calculating this measurement and there are several software programs that allow people to input variables for the software to make a calculation that will determine the heating load. People can also do the math by hand, a skill that is often taught to people installing heating systems, contractors, engineers, and people in similar industries.

Heating load is usually expressed in British Thermal Units (BTU) per hour, using a familiar unit of energy to ensure people immediately understand what the measurement means. It is calculated before a heating and cooling system is installed, to determine which size would be most appropriate, and it is also calculated during the design of a facility, with the aim of implementing changes that will make the facility more efficient.

Obviously, the size of a space is a key factor in the heating load. It takes less energy to heat a smaller space than a large one. The layout of the space can also play a role, with factors such as ceiling height, the number of rooms in a structure, etc. affecting the load. The potential for heat loss through doors, windows and other openings is another area of ​​concern, as is the energy required to heat outside air if it is used for ventilation. Things like insulation can reduce your heating load by reducing heat loss.

It is important to understand the heating load. When installing a heater, if the heater is too small for the space, it will have a hard time heating it and will use a lot of energy in the process. On the other hand, if the heater is too large for the space, it will not work efficiently, resulting in wasted energy that adds to the lifetime cost associated with the facility. Heating load can also be an important factor when assessing sustainability or thinking about changes that could be made to make a structure more sustainable.

When a heating and cooling consultant arrives at a facility to assess needs, measurements of the space will be taken and some observations noted. This information will be used to calculate heating requirements so that an appropriate recommendation for a system can be made.

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