Your home’s heating load refers to the amount of energy it requires to stay at a comfortable temperature during the heating season. Taking steps to manage it starts with evaluating how energy efficient your home is and following up with improvements that will reduce the load.
The fastest and most effective way to asses the load is through a professional energy audit. The audit will turn up places where your home is losing energy through air leaks and heat transfer. Air leaks occur most commonly around window and exterior door frames, as well as the ductwork. Inadequate insulation or low quality windows let heat seep out during the winter, which increases the heating load.
Auditors use blower doors to find air leaks and thermal imaging equipment to identify areas of inadequate insulation. You can test the windows by placing your hand on the glass. If it feels cool on a cold day, the glass is losing heat energy, increasing the home heating load 24/7.
Lowering the Load
- Air leaks. Seal the small air leaks with caulk and use expanding foam for larger holes. Weatherstripping around the door frames stops some leaks, as do door sweeps or draft blockers placed at the bottom of the doors. An HVAC contractor can seal the ductwork leaks.
- Heat transfer. If you have the wherewithal, you may be able to add insulation to the attic. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that homes in this region have at least 16 inches and up to 20 in the attic for the best thermal protection. Many homeowners use contractors to add more, especially if they need it in the walls or basements.
Thermal and Energy Star windows will cut the heating load considerably, along with reducing noise from the outdoors. In lieu of new windows, consider insulating window kits or thermal drapes that slow drafts and heat transfer.
Managing your home heating load does require effort, but making the improvements results in a more comfortable home year-round. For more information, contact Detmer and Sons, providing trusted HVAC services for Dayton-area homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Dayton, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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