# What are Heat Gain, Heat Load, and Heat Loss in an HVAC system?

In an HVAC system, heat gain is the process of heat being added to the air. Heat load is the total amount of heat that must be removed from a space in order to maintain the desired temperature. Heat loss occurs when heat is transferred from one area to another.

## 3 main ways that heat can be transferred

There are three main ways that heat can be transferred:

**Conduction**occurs when heat is transferred through a solid material, such as a wall or floor.**Convection**occurs when heat is transferred by the movement of fluids, such as air or water.**Radiation**occurs when heat is transferred through electromagnetic waves, such as infrared waves.

The amount of heat transfer that takes place will depend on the difference in temperature between the two areas, as well as the type of material that is doing the transferring. For example, heat will transfer more quickly through metal than through wood. In addition, heat will transfer more quickly from a hot area to a cold area than from a cold area to a hot area.

## Heat load calculation

Heat load calculations are used to determine the amount of cooling or heating that is necessary to maintain desired temperatures in a space. These calculations take into account the specific conditions of the space, such as the size, insulation, and occupants. By understanding the heat load of space, engineers can design an HVAC system that is properly sized for the space and will provide comfortable temperatures year-round.

## Heat gain and heat loss in buildings

Buildings gain heat from sunlight, conduction through the walls, and internal heat sources such as people and electrical equipment. Buildings lose heat through conduction during cold weather. The amount of heat gain or loss that occurs will depend on the specific conditions of the building, such as the insulation, size, and orientation.

### Heat loss = heat gain formula

The heat loss from a building can be calculated using the following formula:

Q = U x A x ΔT

Where:

- Q – is the heat loss in BTUs per hour.
- U – is the overall heat transfer coefficient.
- A – is the area of the building envelope in square feet.
- ΔT is the difference in temperature between the inside and outside of the building.

The heat gain from a building can be calculated using the following formula:

Q = 1.1 x U x A x ΔT

Where:

- Q is the heat gain in BTUs per hour.
- U is the overall heat transfer coefficient.
- A is the area of the building envelope in square feet.

## Is heat load the same as heat loss?

No, the heat load is the total amount of heat that must be removed from a space in order to maintain the desired temperature. Heat loss occurs when heat is transferred from one area to another.

## Related Links

Heat loss, heat gain and cooling load calculations

Basics of heat loss, heat gain

Heat loss/heat gain considerations

Accurate Heating and Cooling Load Calculations

Heat Gain and Loss Explained – Mr. HVAC Software and Advice

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