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Duct Diagnostics February 2003

Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Duct Diagnostics: Topics Addressed in Session


Ductwork sizing discussion.
What’s Wrong with this System „

„ Ductwork Specification: Consortium for Energy


Efficiency (CEE).
Smarter Buildings: Smarter Business Residential Conference
„ Tools for duct design and commissioning.
February 18, 2003
„ Some duct installation details.
„ Analysis of existing ductwork.
Rick Karg „ Ductwork trouble-shooting.
R.J. Karg Associates
www.karg.com

©2003 R.J. Karg Associates

Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Ducted Distribution
Some Basics of Duct
Design and
Installation

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Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Good Ducts Start With Good Design Duct Design Objective


„ Design - yeah, right! „ Duct delivery system provides year-around
What constitutes design comfort with:
is usually a mix of after-
„ Efficiency,
thought, what happens
to be on the truck at the „ Little noise,
moment, and the need „ No hazards to occupants,
for speed. „ Little maintenance.

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Rick Karg, R.J. Karg Associates 1


Duct Diagnostics February 2003

Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Low Noise Levels are Important A Well Designed Duct System


„ Properly balanced.
„ Look good.
„ Be inexpensive to install.
„ Help create a comfortable environment.
„ Be very quiet while air handler is operating.
„ Be economical to operate.
„ Proper insulation, tight ducts, no pressure imbalance.
„ Be healthy for occupants (e.g., from pressure imbalances).
„ Be easy to maintain.

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Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Duct Design Rules Duct System Pressures


„ Place air handler in central location.
„ Plan for symmetrical duct system.
„ Keep duct runs short.
„ Support ducts properly.
„ Use minimum number of fittings.
„ Keep aspect ratio low.
„ Select registers properly.
„ Install return in each room having a working door.
„ Etc.
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Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Measuring Temperature Rise & Design Standard is Manual D


Calculating CFM
Available from
ACCA
2800 Shirlington Road, Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22206
(703) 575-4477
www.acca.org

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Rick Karg, R.J. Karg Associates 2


Duct Diagnostics February 2003

Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Manual D Procedure Manual D Procedure (con.)


„ Calculate DHL/DCL (Manual J, ACCA). „ Plan location of registers and grilles (Manual T).
„ Select blower (Manual S, ACCA & Man. Data). „ Determine the greatest Total Effective Length (TEL)
„ Determine External Static Pressure (ESP) from value for the duct system, supply and return sides.
manufacturer’s data. Include measured length and fitting equivalent length.
„ Determine device pressure losses (DPL) that are „ Calculate Friction Rate design value (FR).
added to distribution system.
„ FR = (ASP x 100)/TEL, or use friction chart.
„ Determine Available Static Pressure (ASP). „ Friction rate should be between 0.06” and 0.18” WG/100
„ ASP = ESP – DPL (Equal to about 0.2” WG, limits of range are feet of duct.
0.10” to 0.35” WG).

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Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Manual D Procedure (con.) Ductwork Specification 1


Quick Reference for HVAC Installation Specification
Ducts and Air Handlers
„ Calculate heating and cooling airflow factors. Section/Specification Element

5. Ducts and Air Handlers


Specification Element Potential Benefits Verification Test or
Method

5.1 Duct Location - All ducts should be located within the conditioned spaces - Reduces conduction and air-leakage - Visual inspection.

„ HF = (blower CFM)/(Design heating load) whenever possible.


- No ducts in exterior wall cavities.
- Always install ducts, don’t use building cavities.
losses.

- No panned floor joists.

„ CF – (blower CFM)/(Sensible cooling design load) 5.2 Duct System Design


- Don’t use crawl spaces as plenums.
- Use Residential Duct System, Manual D, 1995 edition or later. - If ducts are not sized large enough to
permit adequate airflow, system efficiency
- Residential Duct System,
Manual D, 1995 edition or
can be adversely affected. later.
- 25 CFM of leakage for every 400 CFM of measured airflow, or - Can save 15% in energy costs per year for - Tests for Ensuring Proper Air
„ Calculate CFM for each register (room). 5.3 Allowable Duct Leakage, New Air
Distribution Systems - The sum of supply and return leakage divided by air handler
fan flow shall be a maximum of 6%.
new systems. Handler Airflow – 3.13 and 4.9.
- Total Duct Leakage and
Percentage Duct Leakage Test –
5.13.1.

„ Room CFM = HF or CF x Room DHL 5.3 Allowable Duct Leakage, Existing Air
Distribution Systems
- 40 CFM of leakage for every 400 CFM of measured airflow, or
- The sum of supply and return leakage divided by air handler
fan flow shall be a maximum of 10%.
- Can save 10% in energy costs per year for
existing systems.
- Tests for Ensuring Proper Air
Handler Airflow – 3.13 and 4.9.
- Total Duct Leakage and
Percentage Duct Leakage Test –
5.13.1.

„ Size branch ducts and trunks with use of duct 5.4 Duct Sealing Materials and Methods - Refer to Duct Installation and Sealing Specification. - Use of the proper materials and methods
extends the life of the ducted system,
retaining duct efficiency.
- Visual inspection.

5.5 Insulation, New and Existing Installations - Follow insulation manufacturer’s recommendations. - Duct insulation slows heat transfer, - Visual inspection.
calculator or friction chart. 5.5.2 Insulation, New Installations
- Refer to Duct Installation and Sealing Specification

- No insulation required for ducts in conditioned spaces, except


making the ducted distribution network
more efficient.
- Duct insulation slows heat transfer, - Visual inspection.
to prevent condensation. making the ducted distribution network

„ Check velocity. 5.5.3 Insulation, Existing Installations


- In unconditioned spaces a minimum R-value of 6 is required.
- Ducts located on the exterior of building require a minimum R-
value of 8.
- No insulation required for ducts in conditioned spaces, except
more efficient.

- Duct insulation slows heat transfer, - Visual inspection.


to prevent condensation. making the ducted distribution network

„ Select registers and grilles (Manual T, ACCA). - In unconditioned spaces a minimum R-value of 6 is required.
- Parts of ductwork that are not accessible do not require
insulation.
- If ducts are already insulated to R-4 or greater, no additional
more efficient.

insulation is needed.

„ Balance system with branch balancing dampers. - Ducts located on the exterior of building require a minimum R-
value of 8.

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Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Ductwork Specification 2
Quick Reference for HVAC Installation Specification
Ducts and Air Handlers (continued)
Section/Specification Element Specification Element Potential Benefits Verification Test or
Method
5. Ducts and Air Handlers (continued)
5.6 Room Pressure Imbalances - While air handler is operating and house is closed up, pressure - High-pressure differences between spaces - Room Pressure Imbalances
differences between 1) closed room and the outdoors and 2) the in a house and the outdoors can increase air Test – 5.14.1.
main body of the house with all the interior doors closed should leakage to and from the outdoors.

Tools for Duct


be no more than 0.01 inches water gauge (3 Pascals), positive or Decreasing these pressures can save energy.
negative. - Room depressurization may cause
hazardous back drafting of combustion
gases.
5.7 Selection and Location of Supply Registers - At least one supply-air register should be installed in each - Proper selection and placement of supply- - Visual inspection.
conditioned room. air registers can increase occupant comfort.
- Each register should be able to handle the required heating and
cooling CFM and air velocity.
- Maximum velocity of 700 feet per minute.
- Select for proper throw, drop, and spread.
5.8 Selection and Location of Return Grilles - Return-air grilles should be located to provide pressure- - The proper placement of return-air grilles - Visual inspection.

Design & Testing


balanced air circulation during air handler operation. minimized indoor pressure imbalances
- Max. velocity of 500 feet per minute. during air handler operation, thereby
conserving energy lost due to forces air
leakage.
5.9 Duct Support - Ducts should be supported so as to prevent dislocation or - Supporting ducts in a proper and durable - Visual inspection.
damage. fashion helps maintain duct system
- Refer to Duct Installation and Sealing Specification. efficiency.
5.10 Volume Dampers - Supply branch ducts should be equipped with volume dampers - A properly balanced duct system increases - Visual inspection.
to allow for manual balancing of distribution airflow. occupant comfort and reduces occupant
- After installation, the ducted system should be properly complaints.
balanced.
5.11 Access for Installation and Maintenance - Adequate clearance should be provided on all sides of the - Adequate clearance for the maintenance of - Visual inspection.
equipment to allow for easy access for periodic maintenance. important equipment components allows
- All doors leading from the mechanical room to the outdoors the equipment to be serviced properly and
should be large enough to allow easy passage of equipment. regularly, thereby ensuring the maintenance
of maximum equipment efficiency.
5.12 Maintenance Items - Inspect the following items at servicing: - Proper maintenance of the forced-air - Visual inspection.
- Filters, distribution system will help retain system
- Duct obstructions and debris, efficiency.
- Duct leaks and disconnections,
- Volume dampers,
- Duct balancing,
- Duct insulation, and
- Room pressure imbalances.

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Rick Karg, R.J. Karg Associates 3


Duct Diagnostics February 2003

Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Duct Duct
Calculator Calculator
From ACCA From ACCA

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Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Duct Blower Digital Manometer

The Energy Conservatory


Duct Blaster™

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Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Duct Leakage Testing Blower Door


„ If you don’t test, you A blower door
is often needed
don’t know. for duct leakage
„ Duct leakage testing is testing.
essential to producing
comfort and efficiency.

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Rick Karg, R.J. Karg Associates 4


Duct Diagnostics February 2003

Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Pressure Pan & Flowbox Measuring Air Flow


„ The volumetric
capture bag.

„ AKA the garbage bag.

„ Works by timing how


long it takes to fill a
known volume with air.

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Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Some Duct
Installation Details

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Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Try to Keep Duct Inside


„ Inside vs. outside Do not use
the air and duct tape
thermal barrier
of the house. on ducts!
„ If the ducts are
outside, more
work is required
But, it’s really
to make them good for many
efficient. other needs.
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Rick Karg, R.J. Karg Associates 5


Duct Diagnostics February 2003

Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Ducts Should Be Permanently Tight Love that Duct Mastic

„ Mechanical Fastening
„ Sealed with Mastic

Pay attention to gores

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Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Provide Ability to Adjust Airflow Temperature Measurements


„ If duct are large enough, Simple temperature
Cooling coil
airflow can be adjusted readings can help
to met individual locate leaks or loss
comfort levels or of cooling or heating
differences in heating energy in a ducted
and cooling loads system.
Cooling season
Balancing damper handle

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Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Impact of an Air Handler Multiple Returns are Essential


What happens to air leakage „ Return air paths are
as a result of the closed
bedroom door?
critical to a good duct
system.
What if a return is installed „ A closed door can serve
in the basement return trunk?
as an air distribution
What if the supply trunk leaks damper!!
to the outdoors?

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Rick Karg, R.J. Karg Associates 6


Duct Diagnostics February 2003

Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Return Side Retrofit


Analysis of Existing
Ductwork

For a furnace/AC to operate at maximum efficiency and capacity, the volume-


carrying capacity of the return air must equal that of the supply air. However,
many residential systems are undersized on the return side, causing pressure
imbalances and discomfort. To balance the return and supply sides, additional
Page 22 return grilles and ductwork might have to be added.
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Source: Journal of Light Construction, 2/94, page 49

Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Analysis of Existing Ductwork 1 Analysis of Existing Ductwork 2


„ Inspect air handler and ductwork for such things
„ Interview occupants about thermal comfort of as:
existing system. „ Anticipator setting.
„ Ask such things as: „ Duct leakage.
„ Uncomfortable rooms. „ Restricted returns.
„ Excessive noise. „ Panned floor joists.
„ Frequent cycling of air handler blower. „ Ducts in unconditioned spaces.
„ Balancing dampers.

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Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Analysis of Existing Ductwork 3 Analysis of Existing Ductwork 4


„ Do technical appraisal of duct system and „ Do pressure testing of existing system:
equipment: „ Room-to-room pressures.
„ Temperature rise. „ Duct leakage testing
„ Static pressure measurements. „ Blower door.
„ Blower CFM. „ Duct blower.

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Rick Karg, R.J. Karg Associates 7


Duct Diagnostics February 2003

Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Analysis of Existing Ductwork 5 Now, Perform the Work!

„ Determine strategies for duct repair:


„ Write down possible problems.
„ Check trouble-shooting list.
„ Determine required alterations to furnace/AC and
ductwork.
„ Decide on consumer education strategies.

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Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Ductwork Troubleshooting 1
Duct Trouble-
Shooting Tables

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Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System? Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Ductwork Troubleshooting 2 Ductwork Troubleshooting 3

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Rick Karg, R.J. Karg Associates 8


Duct Diagnostics February 2003

Duct Diagnostics: What’s Wrong with this System?

Ductwork Troubleshooting 4

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