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Old 03-09-20, 03:49 AM   #2
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There are a few ways to get the answers you seek, but simply heating up the space and trying to extrapolate information from the results isn't going to be very accurate. There are a lot of variables to consider, so nailing down the unknowns takes some work.

The most accurate way to do this is to do an energy audit on the house. Your local public utility company may have a free or cheap program in place to do a decent amount of the work for you. If not, it's not super difficult to get a good estimate on your own. The ACCA (air conditioning contractors of America) has standard protocols for calculating everything you need or want to, and publishes a set of manuals for the purpose.

Manual J covers heating and cooling load calculations. Doing a good manual J calculation entails taking measurements of the home, specifying construction materials, and measuring infiltration. There are a lot of computer programs (some free, some not) to make the process a whole lot easier than tabulating and making a math model for the building on paper. In general, the more information the program can digest, the more accurate the answer is. Trash in, trash out, so to speak.

The other ACCA manuals cover system selection, ductwork, balancing, testing, etc. Depending on what type of heating and/or cooling systems you employ, you may or may not be using many of them. If you're truly interested in the performance and quality of what's already installed and operational, or considering altering or upgrading the existing rig, these manuals are invaluable.

Obviously the ACCA wants everyone to buy their approved manuals and software brand new from them. I, however, am not them, so I encourage you to Snoop around on the net. There's a ton of articles that describe what to do and how. A few members have posted threads in the forums here on their own doings.

As always, I wish you good luck and encourage you to chronicle your journey. If you have questions or issues, there are a lot of people here that can help you out. It might take a little time to get answers, but it's usually worth the wait.
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