Thanks to JacktheShack’s point about a well insulated home being heated by a candle had sparked (excuse the pun) the idea of putting some thoughts down regarding HVAC considerations.
There is a huge amount of information available from different sources so things that will be mentioned here aren't new rather just condensed for the purpose of discussion.
It’s a fact of life we all need some form of Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) in our homes . The types or portions of systems will vary as to where or what is needed but the one thing that is common is the reason why … to condition the living space for comfort.
Today we all face the rising energy costs for operating the HVAC systems both in money and the environment so it’s important for us to be efficient. The manufacturers of HVAC systems continue to make their equipment operate more energy efficient but using them in a less efficient home will reduce that point.
The HVAC system is only one component in the conditioning of the living space for comfort. Insulation is another important component that is often overlooked and is common regardless of region. We rely on the HVAC system to provide the conditioning of the living space, but we have to consider keeping that space heated or cooled. Also there really should be more consideration of preventing the outside elements from making the inside space uncomfortable and relying too heavily on the HVAC systems.
By improving the insulation of the home makes the living space more comfortable, increasing the energy efficiency, and will help to save money not only in energy also in some cases with the equipment purchase.
Heating or cooling systems are purchased for a myriad of reasons but many times without considering the value of insulation that exists. Take the point of heating a home with a single candle is something that would be a wonderful achievement. It’s worth keeping that thought in the back of your mind when considering the conditioning of the living space for comfort.
When the time comes to purchase a HVAC system one of the first things is to have an independent heat gain/loss audit or evaluation of the home. Then evaluate the performance of the insulation that exists and ways to improve it … reducing the heat gain/loss. Having done this will make the home more comfortable, efficient and only paying for the right size of equipment.
I’ve seen homes with no or little insulation have over sized HVAC systems installed to try and maintain some reasonable comfort level. This is the wrong approach and in cases can be detrimental. Instead of addressing the heat gain/loss from lack of insulation they are throwing their money at the wrong places for their heating/cooling issues with a larger HVAC system.
For heating systems that are too large they will cycle on and off too frequent and shorten the life of the system also using more fuel. For Air conditioning equipment that cools too quickly there are humidity issues that will be less comfortable as well problems with wood floors etc. plus they will cycle on and off too frequent also reducing the life of the unit.
Remember the single candle thought … having a strong insulation blanket that reduces the heat gain/loss for the home will allow a smaller system in cases. This will save money for the purchase of the equipment as well the benefit of not having the issues mentioned previously and of course energy savings.
Food for thought. :)