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By Don B. Shirey III, Member ASHRAE, and Hugh I.


Jr., P.E., Member ASHRAE

ngineers and equipment humidification

manufacturers at part-load

need a better understanding conditions

of de-


to evaluate the impacts and indoor

of their design choices on indoor humidity

levels. occupant comfort.

air quality. Data from previous field test studies"? show that the moisture removal capacity of a cooling coil degrades at part-load conditions supply air fan operates continuously.
Figure 1 illustrates data from a laboratory on the coil surfaces this concept with transient test. Degradation occurs that condenses provide capacity spends a smaller relatively fraction of its total cooling when the system capability of

especially when the

as moisture


because a portion of the moisture (blue data) evaporates

more time with the coil off. when the coil operphe-

during the cooling on cycle back into the airstream off-cycle adiabatic (green perforwith data)

Conversely, the system

the full latent removal is only realized

when the coil is off (green data). The data in the plot shows that the transient mance sensible of the coil cooling

ates continuously, The net impact of this latent degradation nomenon depends is that dehumidification on the runtime fraction performance
0(' the cooling

essentially of moisture

(red data) provided

in conjuncsensible

tion with evaporation back into the airstream,

coil (load divided by steady-state
About the Authors



The off-cycle

cooling diminishes with time as the amount of available moisture on the coil surfaces decreases, As a result, a cooling coil that cycles on and off in response to a control or thermostat signal will

Don B. Shirey III is principal research engineer at the Florida Solar Energy Center In Cocoa, Fla. Hugh I. Henderson [r., P.E., IS a principal With CDH Energy in Cazenovia, N, Y.



Most in the moislevels to drift cooling coils spend a large number of hours at part-load tions. model requires two additional with engineering with latent capacity cycling parameters parameters 1. for compressor cycles back on before all the moisture time until the first condensate cooling capacity nominal parameter degradation The parameter has evaporated.. that also for part-load cffi- ciency' These additional Henderson capacity agreement and Rengarajan' the degradation cooling developed equipment include the time con- a mathematical at part-load con- stant associated eter defined at startup (for the system The other pararnas rate of the thermostat model to predict of latent (dehumidification) in figure 2 it was assumed is the maximum to be 75 seconds). of single-stage ditions. This model. demonstrates with these measured data. removal impact of pal i-load operation on water-to-air heat moval since this condensate leaves the system through the heat ratio (SIIR) of a residential at steady-state conditions drain." cooling coil perforlatent the or extend A project was initiated mance. the effective coil increases.J and the steady-state arc associated especially on days when cooling loads arc modest. Howthat less moisture system provided fractions removal is (A-~) evaporates back into the airstream. These data in 20U 1 to collect additionallaboraof part-load to verify model the existing tory and field measurements arc used degradation ing systems air volume mathematical (c. of one). multistage and 1.76. As a result. After this time (to)' all the by the coil is "useful" provided chilled water systems). The model parameters for this and y were derived system to be 720 seconds and from on-site measurements (12 minutes) of the model in the NFM A thermostat test standard. the cooling is the ratio of the coil's moisture (QL)' to fall from the coil (starting at startup).\:/) must build up on the coil moisture re- model to predict latent degradation cooling for a wider range of cooland constant before condensate latent April falls from the coil. ASHRAE Journal 43 . removal is reduced for this next holding is the from a The other cycle since the coil starts out partially (Af) and steady-state time for moisture transient latent capacity effects In this case.i When the cool(i. When the coil cycles off and the supply air tim continues to operate.ure 2 shows the field-measured the sensible pump with continuous ing system operates fraction cooling provided. at a runtime SHR of the system is 0. wetted.07 respectively? parameters Figure 3 shows the meaning and to refine equipment y. shown as a line on Figure 2. less than 40%.g.e. the initial mass of moisture buildup on the coil If the cooling coil then the supply air fan operarion. as the compressor runs less often. An amount capacity 2004 of moisture (. there is considerable ture removal This part-load upwards. the effective SHR of the meaning runtime no latent condiseason. ever.. capacity for a system degradation degradation across the cooling dry coi I and ignoring y is defined as the ratio of the initial evaporation latent capacity models (QL)' The latent causes space humidity rate (Q.

. • The moisture function tween the wet-bulb air. are time air from the coil. The remore quickly for an evaporative stYli. migration stops operating.10 . evaporation buildup and evaporation . tend to confirm adiabatic airflow rates. moisture the delay time for Coil 2 clew point goes the off cycle is a be- on the coil. equipment is cycled on and off. how fin spacing. and dry-bulb temperatures) coil evaporates of the entering cooler.c 0 Measured Data: e 10 i'u III III (J C. = 3.0 0.1. for evaluating pacities and outdoor temperature ASHRAE a psychrometric testingfacility was set up caindoor constant in ANSl/ twet y = MolQL air conditioner test chambers and humidity cooling capable coils with cooling includes = QelQL up to 3 tons (10. Through slab coil with wavy fins retained we intend to quantify lab testing. The moisarea has been field meain capacity per total finned surface in line with the measured As entering is shorter.. The one exception This vertical continued from 50°F to 70°F (I O~C to 21°('). so the time to first condensate For example. as would tained 44 moisture of the wet-bulb be expected depression (i.5 to 3 tons a factor of two from the largest to the smallest for most of the lab-tested of moisture-holding capacity observed (t). Less accurate a similar range of values: typically to 50 g/m"). The delay time is a strong up faster arc more humid. Sensible = latent Continuous Supply Air Fan Operation .0 Figure 1..000 ft2 (30 thus far is lab . following refrigerant 37.6 cyc/h = 75 sec Nma. builds removal varies Table 1 compares determined (5.. Figure 2. c: able to hold the desired j 41 testing has been completed Falls From Drain Pan Mo ~ Evaporation coil is tested at various entering all. even for transient testing. So the wet coil acts as an evaporative The mass of moisture retained on the coil surface is mostly a function o dence on dew-point The calculated generally conditions.6 Runtime Fraction H 1. T .c ~ iii "C C III !1l 20 Off·Cycle Evaporation Is Adiabatic Process. of coil surface geometry temperature values mass.: 68"F to 72°F c o Loop Temps. Each conOverthe after L .e. • The off-cycle ing moisture with some secondary and velocity of entering delay depenair.' v 720 sec = 107 . with the total fin surface area varying by nearly coil. and coil refrigerant from the laboratory process o 20 Minutes 40 ~ 60 ~ __ Figure 3: Concepts of moisture becomes inside the coil and system after the compressor expansion device has subsided The with drier inlet air conditions. Field data showing the net impact of part-load eration on sensible heat ratio': op- For this project.5 k W)..4 0... conditions ratory to date. Transient sensible &0 latent capacity of cooling coil over an operating cycle (supply air Ian operates continuously}. the difference 6 to 10 lb per 1.' to 60'% more moisture per unit surface area than the other coils. Methods of Testingfor Rating Unitary and Ifeat Pump Equipment= The facility is conditions.: 65 F to gO°F -20 o 0. trend implies that the wetted to the remaincooler is evaporated has some impact on the surface area of the coil decreases with progressively less surface ill proportion area as moisture of this transition.. April 2004 on the cooling ASHRAE Journal ashrae.70 20 40 Minutes 60 80 100 0. The tested coils ranged in size from 1. The facility conditions of maintaining as specified Standard Air-Conditioning where the cooling Laboratory ditions.000 ft2 (39 to 44 g/m-) of fin area. as the entering rate during coils at 8 to 9 lbs per also have resulted from 40 to 10 minutes evaporation 1. -10 • Entering RH: 57% to 63% • Entering Air Temp.3-10.2 0. the test results trends: evaporation • The off-cycle one or two minutes type of refrigerant length o air temperature/humidity temperatures.5 ture-holding very similar surements the latent performance model parameters of the mode I parameter condensate function of the entering for the five coils that have been tested in the labokW). fix several coils. / ~. l- .

1) 162.8 ¢ Steady State SHR = 0.1 (0..5 2. which is shown as a line on the plot.8) 1.6 (42. 46 ASH RAE Journal April 2004 .0 Figure 4: Comparing measured latent degradation to LHR model at nominal conditions (Coil 2). 15.7) 3.5 fpi. expo :a 'Cij til Q) e Q) = 0.3 17.000 ft· (g/m2) 8.7 (67. and coil orientation affect the moisture-holding capacity of the coil. Wavy Fins...8 o t'Il J: J: :a 0.0 1.4 Runtime 0.2 0. Two rows. Lanced Sine-Wave Fins. As part of the test program.) varied from 12 minutes to 33 minutes for the lab test coils at nominal conditions. Similar variations were observed for the model parameter lweI' The results from field testing have generally confirmed these parameter values for other cooling coils. Slab.Coil 2 with low Airflow (A-Coil.3 minutes and gamma of 1. 13 fpi. The time for condensate to first fall from the coil (I..8 (22.3 (12. Condensate delay time and are at nominal conditions.0 1.5 for Coil 2. we have completed a series of quasi-steady cyclic tests in the laboratory with differing lengths of compressor on and off times to simulate real-world cycling performance.1) 1. 15.91) 8. Orifice) Coil 2 .8 (6.4 Runtime 0. Lanced Sine-Wave Fins. Table I: Comparing measured performance p arsuneters for lab-tested cooling coils. 3.8 (22. The triangles from the third cycle match the latent degradation model.730 (Based on Condensate) 0.3) 138. in Figure 2) and confirmed that the model by Henderson and Rengarajan' could reasonably predict partload dehumidification performance.5) 2.4 (0.6 Fraction 0.5 ceu s (Slanted Slab.6 Fraction (-) 1. Nominal conditions correspond to ASH RAE Test A test point. Figure 5: Measured latent degradation with cycling fan at nominal conditions.50.4 (41.0 0.1) 16.5 9.91) 8. The lengths of the on and off times were selected to correspond with the NEMA thermostat curve with a maximum cycle rate of three cycles/hour.i a: . gamma = 1. second.0 (0. e 0. 14 fpi. M Ib (kg) Ib/1. Similar tests have been C0111pleted at other operating conditions that also show agreement between the model and the measured data. TXV) Coil 4 (Vert.5 16.0 0. Three rows. Three Rows.5 29. Wavy Fins.1) 2. Fin surface area is gross fin area (coif face area x coil depth x fin spacing x 2). t Min Fin Surface Area «: Min ft' (m') 243.1) 11. 2. implying that at least two cycles arc necessary to achieve quasisteady conditions..0 (10.8 1." The quasi-steady lab testing showed the same degradation trends observed in the Cooling Capacity tons (kW) Coil 1 (Slanted Slab.3 (8.1) Condo Delay Time. t'Il Q) Q) o () 1st Cycle 2nd Cycle A 3rd Cycle 0 :. Plain Fins. TXV) Coil 3 .1) 2.3.9 (0. The parameters for the model include a of 17.:: 1l3rd Cycle a: t'Il Q) Q) .4 (41.5 18.0 1.95) 13. Three Rows. Cooling capacity includes sensible and latent cooling at nominal conditions with airflow rate of 400 elm/ton (54 Lis per kW).5 fpi.4) 237.5 (5.0 (0..4 (8. Orifice) Notes: 2.3) 237.7 (15. the results for the second and third cycles for a given runtime fraction are in close agreement.0) 23. and third operating cycles at the same inlet air conditions and discrete runtime fractions.8 'Cij til = Steady State SHR 17. Typically.2 0.64) 8.755 (Based on Condensate) 0. 12 fpi. The data points shown in Figure 4 for Coil 2 correspond to the first.6 (42. Four Rows. Orifice) field (e. Moisture-Holding Capacity. fin type.86) 13.0 0.g.Normal Air Flow Rate (A-coil.1) 32.8 (22..

Carefully sizing equipment to match the cooling load requirements results in better humidity control and higher system efficiency since part-load losses are minimized. Figure 5 shows that degradation in latent capacity is even apparent with this Em operating mode. Dynamic (e. The SHR ofthe cooling coil was maintained fairly well at pari-load conditions since the system spent many hours with the first stage operating continuously. field measurements for a lO-ton (35 kW) packaged rooftop unit in a retail application showed that having two stages of cooling capacity significantly reduced the impact of latent degradation. a two-stage residential cooling system with variable-speed air handler was monitored in a Florida home and was shown to experience little part-load latent degradation. Whether operating with continuous fan operation..Laboratory testing also has been used to evaluate cooling coils with the AUTO fan mode. Field testing of a constant air volume chi lled water coil in a Florida commercial building confirmed the expected drop in latent capacity as the water flow rate through the chilled water coil modulates to match the load requirements. Modulated chilled water coils in large commercial systems also experience latent degradation at part-load conditions. The results [rom this research project also confirm and quantify the impact equipment oversizing has on humidity control. Most of the coils tested in the lab so far have shown some amount of degradation in the AUTO fan mode. engineers and designers April 2004 must be SUfC to specify rooftop equipment with coil circuiting that provides good dehumidification at part load (i. Data collected from field test sites also have confirmed that degradation occurs with both continuous (ON) and cycling (AUTO) fan operation. two-speed residential systems that now are available provide longer compressor on-times. In applications where improved humidity control is important designers should consider controlling cooling capacity by bypassing air around the coil.e. using face-split evaporator cui Is instead of rowsplit coils). hourly) building simulation tools provide the best means for engineers to evaluate how well their designs perform at part-load conditions. Since these mainstream simulation models do not consider partload degradation.ims. The field results show that the expected negative impact of constant fan operation in commercial applications can be greatly mitigated by specifying multistage equipment. The air bypass method clearly provides better humidity control at part load compared to systems that modulate capacity by varying the chi lied water flow rate. The key to developing better building designs is to provide engineers and other building design professionals with better tools to understand the implications of their design decisions. as is common in commercial applications. Variable air volume systems also provide good dehumidification when controlled to an appropriatc discharge air temperature. The field measurements also have demonstrated that control and equipment configuration issues have a significant impact on latent degradation and the ability to control space humidity levels. In contrast. Therefore. However. or in the AUTO fan mode.g. they tend to overesti- wwwinfo. the SHR of the system was held low enough to provide adequate dehumidification when operating in first-stage cooling. as most residential systems do. Since the tim speed was modulated properly with the compressor cooling capacity. humidity control was reasonably maintained in this commercial application even with continuous supply air fan operation. so good humidity control was maintained continuously. This research project also measured thc performance of cooling coils at six different residential and commercial field test sites. although to much lesser extent than with continuous supply air fan operation. Ovcrsizing AC equipment increases the time spent at part load and results in higher space humidity Icvels. The system operated continuously for hundreds of hours at low capacity. where the supply air fan cycles on and off with the compressor. Unfortunately most mainstream hourly building simulation tools currently do not predict space humidity levels properly at part load. For instance. which can result in better indoor humidity control if supply air fan speed is properly modulated with cooling capacity. The or Circle 17 ASHRAE Journal 47 . a single-stage rooftop would have resulted in extremely poor space humidity control in this application since the compressor would have operated for several thousand hours at less than a 50(10 runtime fraction. The data from these test sites generally have confirmed the findings of1aboratory testing.. Similarly. dehumidification performance degrades at part-load conditions.

4. D. 2001.L. Indoor J lumiditv Tool -. Rengarajan. Algorithms to predict latent degradation are being incorporated into hourly whole building energy analysis tools to allow building designers and equipment manufacturcrs to quantity thc impact as well.cncrgyplus. ventilation rcquiremcnts. 1998. 7. Methods ojTestingfor Rating Unitarv Air-Conditioning and Heat Pump Equipment. Manual. 3.J. Osaka.l? This research project has confirmed the validity of the latent degradation model for single-capacity systems and is working to refine the model to consider more applications.. January 2002. Regional Sales Managers and Service Engineers. Continuous supply air fan operation is used in nearly all commercial buildings to provide the outdoor air ventilation requiremcnts prescribed by ANSliASHRAE Standard 62. Experience in HVAC products preferred.. 5." Presented at ASH RAE's TAQ & Energy '98 conference. Assessment Available at www. "Fan cycling effects on air conditioner moisture removal performance in warm.9 and will be available soon in other models." Presented at the International Symposium Washington. .com www.R.mate the moisture removal capacity of cooling equipment and predict that space humidity levels are maintained at lower levels than are observed in practice. humid climates." ASHRAE Journal 40(3 ).epa. Cocoa. Phone: Fax E-mail: Web: 604-276-7641 604-276-8681 info@EnStar-HVAC. Personal correspondence with D. and M. 12.B.• April 2004 . This study is working to quantity the equipment characteristics.C. most residential air conditioners cycle the supply air fan on and off with the cooling coil in response to the thermostat signal (AUTO fan control). 8.6 showed that ignoring latent degradation causes hourly building simulation models to underpredict space humidity levels by 5% to 10% RI [ under typical conditions in a small office application. and R. The latent degradation model from Henderson and Rengarajan has already been incorporated into some whole building hourly simulation models7. 2003.) Ventila- tion for Acceptable Rise Residential Indoor Air Quality in rowBuildings . findings. Ventilationfor Acceptable Indoor Air Qualit_v11 and to provide air circulation for occupant comfort. 2000. WVvW. Rengarajan.S. 13." ASllRA 1:' Transactions I 02( I): 266-274. We are also working to UI1derstand the moisture-related characteristics of cooling coils so we can develop guidelines for selecting model parameters for an array of cooling coil and equipment configurations. Parker regarding a large scale utility study: Parker. 1990. We are seeking Dealers. M. Calif. Khattar. However. However. ANSJlASHRAE Standard 37-1988. However. However. Witte.EnStar-HVAC. under Award No. 2. Ramanan.C. control modes. The latent capacity of a cooling coil degrades at part-load conditions. Room Air Conditioners (RAC's) and Ductless Mini-Split Systems. and Humidity April. National Electrical Manufacturers Association.E?vlA. O. and K.S. This degradation is most significant when the supply air fan operates continuously with a single-stage cooling coil. Hedrick. of air conditioners and heat pumps at part-load conditions with constant fan operation. (Also published as FSEC-PF369-02.Info ims ca/3216-16 or Circle 16 48 ASH RAE Journal This article was prepared with the support of the U.B.l' or occupant comfort. "A model to predict the latent capacity 1996. Customer Solutions Group. H ." A S1 fRA F Transactions 102(l):153-165 9. D. or recommendations expressed a s h r ae io r q JPS-RFTF97P01002. and K. Available at Standard 62-2001. N. 6. Distributors. "Dehumidification issues of Standard 62-1 Y89. D. Palo Alto. The impact of latent degradation must be considered in these circumstances. some degradation also occurs with modulated and staged cooling systems as well. Kosar. CM111112-R4. ANSUASHRAE Ventilationfor Acceptable indoor Air Quality." Proceedings of International Svmposium on Highly Efficien: Use ot Energyand Reduction Environmental lmpact. Henderson. Henderson. Shirey. H. Kosar et al.2-20()3. Washington. "The impact of part load air-conditioner operation on dehumidification performance: Validating a latent capacity degradation model. J\.g. and operating conditions where latent degradation is a concern.~.Reference 10. Most homeowners in humid regions inherently know this operating mode is preferable since it provides reasonable moisture removal. DE-FC26-0 I NT41253. Japan. herein are those of the authors and do no necessarily reflect the views of the DOE. 1998. uve lamps or high-efficiency air filters). M. Supermarket Simulation Too] Version 3: Installation and User Guide. DC 3. Fla.govliaq!schooldesign/saves. D. EPRI. ence Manual for II. 108116. NEMA Standards Publication No. Inc. Shirey. 1. Department of Energy. conclusions. EncrgyPlus. "Research highlights from a large scale residential monitoring study in a hot climate.. A recent utility research project indicated that 2(%of Florida homeowners opcrated the supply air fan continuously. any opinions. Engineering ReferEnergy PIllS. r is an Air Conditioning Equipment provider/manufacturer seeking to expand into the US market with their new line of Portable Air Conditioners (PAC's).:::===============::. Florida Solar Energy Center.. Swami. on Moisture D. Residential Controls- Electric Wall-Mounted Room Thermostats. Japan Society fix the Promotion of Science Research for the Future Program.! Air Conditioning. pp. Electric Power Research Institute.html. laboratory data have confirmed that even AUTO fan control can result in significant degradation in dehumidification performance at part load. "Impacts of ASHRAE Standard 62-1989 on small Florida officcs.. 1985. 12 This fan operation mode may become more prevalent in residential applications if its use is recommended for central air filtration systems (e. ASIIRAE Standard 62.