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There Are No “Guesstimates” When We Do a Heat Load Calculation!


“How powerful a heater should I get?” That’s a question HVAC professionals, and HVAC professional dogs, hear often. The answer you should expect is, “I don’t know right now—but I can find out!” There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to home heating systems (true for air conditioners as well), and it’s extremely important to take extra time to ensure a home receives a correctly sized heater. Not too big, not too small.

When it comes to tonnage (that’s an HVAC term for the amount of heat a system puts out, not how much it weighs), you’ll need to have a professional determine it for you by doing a heat load calculation. I don’t mean to brag—okay, maybe a little bit—but our Russell & Abbott team does great, thorough heat load calculations. No shortcuts, and no “guesstimates”!

Why Professional Heat Load Calculation Is So Important

Whenever I’m not napping, I’m usually on the Internet doing research. One of the things I’ve found a lot of is “guidelines to doing heat load calculations” encouraging people to try to do it for themselves. I’ve found plenty of these sites that have guidelines like “x number of square feet in a house = y number of tonnage for the heater.” Do you know what that is? It’s a guesstimate! The people who wrote those so-called calculations were probably relying on information about heating systems and home insulation that’s a few decades old. Heating systems have changed significantly since then, and so has residential construction. But even with up-to-date information, a simple calculation like that is really no better than making a guess.

You don’t want someone to guess how much heat your home needs, and you don’t want to do the guessing yourself. You want our professionals to do a thorough heat load calculation that will tell you exactly how much heating tonnage will provide your house with warmth without energy waste. It takes much more than a simple “x = y” formula for that.

If you do end up with a heater that’s incorrectly sized for your house, it will mean a number of serious problems.

  • Too small: The heater will work almost constantly to warm up your house, draining power but never delivering the comfort you need.
  • Too big: The heater will short-cycle, rapidly turning on and off without completing a full heating cycle. This wears the heater down quickly and raises your bills.

We Don’t Guess! We Want You to Have the Right Heater

Your heating in Knoxville, TN is in great hands when you contact us for an installation. We don’t rush the heat load calculation: it takes us about two hours to do it, which is longer than other contractors often take. This is because we want precision so you’ll end up with the heating system that’s ideal for you. Our heat load calculations take into account many more factors than square footage. We’ll measure how fast your house loses heat, as well as where it gains heat from other sources (lights, appliances, human bodies, dog bodies, etc.). Once we’re finished, we’ll know the optimal tonnage for your new system.

If you’re looking for a new heating installation this winter, you can trust us to get the job done right the first time! We offer furnaces and many other types of heaters to keep you warm.

Stay warm,