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how do you heatloss: tips and tricks anyone?

Hilly Member Posts: 418
Just curious how most of the professional here get their heatloss calculations done. What do you find most efficient? ie, measure and sketch floorplan and then put into software back at the office, or do you use technology in some manner to created a floorplan on site and do you heatloss off site, do you use computers or tablets and do everything onsite on the fly? I am a beginner when it comes to heatloss, so I'm curious if any experienced professional have their trade tips or tricks to seamlessly getting the math done first. As always, I just want to thank anyone that reads or responds to this. Your experiences are often my best lessons when it comes to the hydronics world. Quality hydronics is often an enigma in my part of the world.



  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,783
    edited April 2014
    Different methods

    It's rare that I do load calculations on site. I prefer to do them in my office after I've gathered the necessary information. It's easier putting that information on a worksheet or spreadsheet that is made for that purpose...it helps to keep things organized and professional while doing so.

    For Hydronics, I use Uponor's software which I believe is still free for professionals.Slant Fin also has one for free that can be used on iPads and other tablets.For commercial load calcs, I just ordered Elite Software's CHVAC which was recommended to me by an engineer who use to frequent this site.
    Steve Minnich
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,783
    I've also used

    Wrightsoft software and still use the ACCA Manual J short form tear-off sheets for small jobs. If the information you feed in to the load calc is accurate, trust the math.
    Steve Minnich
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,221
    On site.

    I have most of my programs on my laptop or I-pad and do them on site. That way I only have to take down the information one time and don't need to worry about missing anything. For hydronics I use Hydronic Design Studio, FloPro, Uponor ADS, Viega, and Wrightsoft. I pick the program that best fits the application. Different programs have different wall, floor and ceiling buildouts.

    For HVAC I use Wrightsoft Mobile on my I-pad and when I get back to the office I upload the file to Wrightsoft (full version) and further develop the design and duct drawings.

  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,783

    I just took a look at the Wrightsoft mobile. It looks like a really good tool for block loads on replacements where there aren't issues with individual rooms. Great for on site, I would think. Do you find it to be as accurate as others? Do the results populate quickly?

    Steve Minnich
  • Ross_24
    Ross_24 Member Posts: 82

    I use hydronic design studio 2. Excellent piece of software. I still prefer to gather the numbers and enter them while at the office, but it is definitely possible to do them on-site just as easy.

  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,221
    It seems to be quite accruate.

    For replacements I do block loads. It saves all files to the cloud and if they need further development it is quite easy to download them into the full version. I also have wrightprice where I store all my equipment prices. It links to wrightmobile and allows me to do an instant, on site quote in either standalone or good better best scenario. If you do a good, better, best scenario and enter utility costs, it will calculate payback period right on the spot.

  • heatpro02920
    heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    edited April 2014

    Tools for the job...

    I'm sure others in the field use them, but my Leica d8 cuts down the time it takes me to gather measurements immensely. A friend of mine turned me onto the products when he got home from visiting an hvac "convention" in germany a while back, I tried his and fell in love... He just got a newer version d810 and I may be upgrading soon, after he brings it by for me to play with...

    This allows me to get my outside wall, glass, and door numbers from outside the house, so then when I go in I only need to get ceiling heights, R-vals, ect. Then it blue tooths the numbers to my pc so no writing everything down and fumbling with tape measures, pads, pencils, ect..

    I used to bring a helper, and spend minimum of an hour gathering info, now I go by myself and it takes me 20 minutes or less... So even though these things are expensive {I think I paid $500} they save me from bringing a helper so figure an hour of drive time, and hour of info and 30 minutes of customer chatting saves me 2.5 hrs of paid labor {around $40} not to mention saves me time at the job. Do this 12 times and it paid for itselfs, considering I have used it hundreds of times it is now making me money...

    Thats the only trick I can think of, besides the obvious like measure one of each window and or door of the same size {most houses use the same size windows over and over, no sense measuring them all} and bring a compass so you know which walls face where, also the EDR book by DH helps {not specifically in the heatloss department but when trying to figure out emitter output its a must}..

    Thats all I got, if you are going to do a lot of heatlosses and your time is usually already spoken for year round like mine is, spend a few bucks, get a designated PC or tablet for your proposals and job info, get a wireless bluetooth printer {office jet 150, is awesome to keep in the truck}, get a decent bluetooth distometer, tripod, the EDR book, and maybe if you have any money left over a Flir I7 and a cheap inspection camera {you can get borescopes for under $200 now or if you use a pc, you can get a usb model for $15 http://www.amazon.com/Waterproof-Endoscope-Borescope-Inspection-Camera/dp/B007UZ6RVO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397306481&sr=8-1&keywords=camera+snake }.

    So you arrive to the customers house, you can gather all kinds of info before entering, do a quick TI scan of the outside walls and roof so you know if there are any leakage/ insulation problems, snap some pics if there are so you can show the customer, take the rest of your measurements, offer to do a fast chimney inspection {hence the borescope/camera}, maybe a fast efficiency test while you are there... Then go out to your truck, print their name/address/proposal number on an envelope, while you draw up your proposal call in for prices and availability if you need to, print the proposal and bring it back inside to them, you can put ti pictures of their home on it, measurement sketches from your leica, ect..

    Another thing to think about is energy audits, the real reason I have this equipment, I charge X amount to do a building energy audit, comes with business cards from my insulation company, my chimney guy, window and door guy, since I have been in building a while I have some good contacts and customers appreciate that... Your knowledge about energy and buildings can be more useful than you think...

    I also include some pre printed information docs that tell customers about oversized heating equipment, out door resets, DHW facts, ect...

    One more note, not every job needs this kind of attention, I pull up to a property and can tell which units I would install, since I deal with certain brands and models, I know which is going to fit, the heatloss confirms it but some I can do super fast {I can just count the windows, get the walls, sq ft, ect and leave}, and some require a lot of time and effort..

    A small 1960's cape, where I have walked into the almost identical house a thousand times, and the customer has base board with an oil boiler wants to switch to gas, I know which boiler I am going to use and which size.

    But a 4000 sq ft craftsman with 20 ft ceilings, bay windows, radiant in some parts, hydro airs in others will need an accurate heatloss done... Im not saying that with a smaller cookie cutter house my numbers aren't accurate, but I know where i am going to end up, check a few things to confirm it and be on your way... I am not saying "rule of thumb it" I am just saying, if you have been there a bunch of times, and know what is rite, you can save yourself some time....

    I did a proposal this week for a 2000 sq ft ranch, I put 3 boilers in this neighborhood in the last 2 years, the houses are almost identical and all are within 1000 BTUs of each other, and since we can not order boilers custom made for our heat loads, I know these houses get 3 section owb's and I will fire them as close to my needed btu as possible, a change of end cone, nozzle, and pump psi will get you there for $20 and 20 minutes... Then there are so tight and or small that you will need to make the boiler oversized to get them hot water {indirects}, I have done many houses that needed 30K BTU's, no mod con budget or maybe no gas at all, and as you know some boilers dont get that small and when you use an indirect getting one that will work well with low btus like that is tough especially if they need a lot of hot water...

    Anyway, Ill stop there before this turns into a book, I think the point I was trying to make is experience and common sense will also save you a bunch of time...