HVCA DW/143

Apreactical guide to -

DUCTWORK LEAKAGE TESTING
Based on the requirements of DW/142 specification for sheetmetal ductwork. 1983

COPYRIGHT ⓒ 1983 by the Heating and Ventilating Contractors' Association All rights reserved

HEATING AND VENTILATING CONTRACTORS' ASSOCIATION
Esca House, 34 Palace Court,

London W2 4JG

Obtainable from : HVCA Publications, OLD Mansion House, Eamont Bridge, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2BX Telephone : Penrith (0768)64771 Telex : 64326

page 1 of 40

Contents
Part One
Acknowledgements Preface Financial Caution Practical Guide to leakage testing Example of complete test sheet Hints on leakage testing

Page 4 5 6 7~8 9 10~11

Part Two
Air leakage from-ductwork Nomogram converting area basis to percentage of airflow Air leakage testing procedure 13~15 16 17~18

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The HVCA records its appreciation and thanks to the persons and organisations who have freely contributed to this work, and in particular to the members of the Drafting Panel. DW/143 Drafting Panel J.H.G Gardner (Chairman) K, Angood P. Doyle K, Wheatley K, Waldron H. Brockiehurst H. Brierley J.M Paynton (Former Secretary, Duct Work Group) R,J,Miller (Secretary, Duct Work Group)

page 2 of 40

PREFACE
Ductwork Specification DW/142, published by the HVCA in 1982, provides for the first time in a long series of such publications for leakage limits over the whole range of air pressures covered by the specification and (where required) a test procedure to establish conformity. Although leakage testing of high-pressure ductwork is mandatory in DW/142 (as was the case in previous ductwork specifications issued by HVCA) the leakage testing of ductwork designed to operate at low and medium pressure is required only where so specified in individual job specifications. With the introduction of four pressure classifications in DW/142 it is hoped that the designer,having selectional control of constructional srandards,will find leakage testing an unnecessary contract expense with fegard to low and medium pressure ductwork. However,it is possible that initially the advent of more stringent constructional requirements may be followed by an increased demand by clients and specifiers for the testing of low-and medium-pressure ductwork and this booklet has been prepared in order to assist ductwork contractors to minimise the cost of this unfamiliar operation. It will be noted that the leakage limits speccified in Appendix A of DW/142 are expressed in litres per second per square metre of duct area. It is however possible that some ductwork specifications will still quote leakage limits as a percentage of air flow. In order that the area basis can be converted to a percentage equivalent a nomogram from DW/142 has been reproduced in this booklet on Page 16. Ductwork contractors faced with a job calling for leakage testing should take this requirement very seriously and satisfy themseleves as the job progresses that the required leakage rate or rates are within the limits set by the designer or the client. The cost of making good an installation that has been found on completion to have failed in this respect can be very exprensive indeed. DW/142 specifies leakage limits for the ductwork alone, not for the complete air distribution system. This is because the ductwork contractor has no control over the leakage characteristics of the various components which go to make up the whole of the air distribution system. Where a job specification calls for a leakage limits for the whole system. It will be for the designer or client to ensure that the leakage rates of the components are also within the required limits.

J.H.G. Gardner, Chairman, Executive Committee, Duct Work Grop, 1982/83

Part One - A Practical guide to
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ductwork leakage testing
1. GENERAL With regard to air leakage, the responsibility for ensuring the achievement of a satisfactory job is divided between the Drawing Office, the Factory and the Site Erection Operatives. It is essential that there is full co-operation between them.

2. THE DRAWING OFFICE THE DRAWING OFFICE must : 2.1 Establish with the client or his representatives the class of ductwork called for in the job specification, i.e.: Class A : up to 500 Pa positive Class B : up to 1000 Pa positive Class C : up to 2000 Pa positive Class D : up to 2500 Pa positive Establish with the client or his representative that the required leakage rate or rates are for the ductwork alone .i.e. excluding dampers,fire dampers, air handling units, fans, heater batteries, silencers, terminal boxes, etc. Additionally, establish the type of gasket material required in relation to the pressure class/velocity of the system. Note : - Specific gasket material may be required in locations such as clean rooms, hospitals etc. If a leakage limits is laid down for the whole system, it will be for the client or the designer to ensure that leakage characteristics of the components are acceptable. 2.3 Agree with the client of designer the test pressure for eath section of the installation. (Note that whilst duct construction) Specification is related to the highest test class of the duct installation it is important that each duct test zone should only be tested to a pressure to cover the mean working pressure of that particular section of ducting - see A.2.5(b) Decide on the best way to isolate the installation into test zones. When doing so, the drawing office should bear in mind the test pressure called for, the allowable air losses, the work sequence on site and the capacity of the test equipment. Arrange for the supply of suitable blanking medium, e.g. heavy-duty polythene sheet. page 4 of 40

2.2

2.4

2.5

special care must be taken in the fitting and sealing of access doors and panels etc. as required by DW/142.3 3.6 3.2.8 2. in accordance with the requirements of DW/142.7 page 5 of 40 . the ductwork when ready for despatch to site must be handled and loaded carefully. Seal all longitudinal seams. and to the corners and junctions between those seams and the cross joints. cross joint. Prepare test sheets giving the information called for on the sample test sheet shown on page 9. Care must therefore be taken to make components with a good fit. To be sure of minimum leakage. 3. damper spindles.4 3. rivets and duct penetations generally. To avoid the danger of breaking the seals.6 Make sure that all test points and blanking devices can be reached with the minimum of difficulty after the ductwork has been installed. Make sure that sealant is properly applied to the ends of all lock forms nd other types of longitudinal seam. This information should indicate the test content. THE FACTORY 3.9 3.7 2. and to use only enough sealant to make a satisfactory joint. duct operating pressure and test pressure. 2.1 Ductwork specification DW/142 requires the sealing of more joints than was the case in previous specifications. as for example. and indicate the nature of the blanking devices. A poor fit cannot be remedied by the use of more sealant . Provide the erectors with details of the test zones. and permitted loss for each section to be tested (this loss is to be expressed in litres per second per square metre of the ductwork). the surface area of the ductwork to be tested.it will not work. laps. gasket material and seaiant to be used.2 3.5 3. plan test sections to have a permitted loss of approximately 25 per cent less than the total volume generated by the test rig at the pressure required for each section. To ensure that a reading can be obtained. Take special care to have as small a clearance as possible where are penetrations of the duct. First and seal branch connections carefully.

and vice versa. Make sure that the right type of test rig is available for the job. Ensure the correct gasket material has been supplied for your situation and the application is in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Before erection Inspect all duct sections to make sure that factory applied sealants have not been damaged in transit. (Use only as much sealant as will do the job .4. Note that leakage testing is always done under positive pressure even when the ductwork is to operate under negative pressure. page 6 of 40 . SITE WORK For full details of procedure see Appendix B Pages 17 and 18 and the diagram on Page 10 and 11. It is expensive precision equipment.7 4.too much sealant is as bad as too little. To ensure that the ductwork has been correctly manufactured and site sealant correctly applied it is essential that a preliminary test is carried out on each section of the work at the earliest opportunity .4 4.) Pay special attention to the sealing of joints that will be difficult to reach after erection of the ductwork.10 If these preliminary tests show that the leakage is over the limit. 4.9 4.6 4.8 4.3 4.before presentation to the elient. 4. Check with the drawings and specifications as to where sealants are to be used on the cross joints.5 4. (Again.) At the earliest opportunity agree with the client or his clerk of works on a progressive testing programme. make sure that the blanking material can be reached when it has to be removed. A rig suitable for high pressure leakage testing is seldom suitable or economic for testing low-or medium-pressure ductwork.2 4. then .1 Understand the proper use of the testing. Makr good where any damage is noticed. Fix the blanking plates or other types of temporary seal in the positions shown by the Drawing Office. The instructions must be read carefully and the equipment handled in responsible manner. and then apply the sealants as necessary.

11 When satisfied with the results of the preliminary tests then .) 4.49 249. 4.11. the smoke should be introduced downstream of the test rig and not on its intake side.1 a) b) c) d) Look for any obvious places where there may be leaks. A permanent record of tests must be retained.3 Offer the section to the client's representative for formal acceptance : On successful completion of the test obtain a signature . Manufacturing faults should be reported to the factory immediately. remove all blanking off devices. by listening for them .10.1 Volume Flow To convert Litres per second to cubic metres per hour Multiply by 3. Repeat the test after allowing enough thme for the sealant to set.2 Reseal or correct where you have found the leakage source(s). (Remember that sealants take longer to do this in cold weather. an open access door or missing or punctured polythene blanks. by feeling for them espencially with a wet hand .1 4. NOTE : When smoke pellets are used.60 Example of a completed test sheet Based on ductwork shown on page 10 and 11 page 7 of 40 . 4. by (with the agreement of the client) using a smoke pellet. Relevant Conversion Factors Pressure To convert Inches water gauge to milibars Inshes water gauge to pascals (Pa) 1 Pa = 1 Newton per square metre = 10~2 millibars Multiply by 2.3 4.11.10. Read the sealant manufacturer's instructions. Simple methods of locating any leakage are .on the test sheet . by applying soapy water over the seams or joints .11.2 4. 4.4.12 As tests are satisfactorily completed.10. for example.

Physical details a b c d e f g Senction of ductwork to be tested Drawing Number Pressure Classification Test static pressure Leakage factor Surface area of duct under test Maximum permitted leakage (PROVIDED BY DESIGNE (FROM DESIGNERS BY REF TO TABLE (FROM REF TO TABLE 31 OR (FROM CALCULATION BELO (OBTAINED BY MULTIPLYING AN Part 2 .706 3.500 square metres 54.000 4.440 6.405 13. 250 dia.Test particulars a b c d e f Duct static pressure reading Type of flow measuring device Range of measurement of flow measuring device Reading of flow measuring device Interpreted air flow leakage rate Duration of test (normally 15 minutes) (READ OFF MANOMETER ON TEST R (ALSO STATE MANUFACTURER & TY (FROM RIG MANU.Test No. LITERATU (DERIVED FROM CHARTSUPPLIED WITH RIG USING" Date of test Carried out by Witnessed by Width and depth or diameter millimetres 800 x 750 600 x 650 300 x 300 305 dia.009 page 8 of 40 .570 1. Periphery Length Area millimetres 3100 2500 1200 958 785 metres 17.925 1.550 5. General Name of job Building Ref. Part 1 .200 7.533 TOTAL 80.

Connect and adjust test apparatus to correct pressure. 5. 8. 6. 7. 3. Fit correct flow measuring device. Reapply test pressure and check reading. Switch off and allow to zero. Prepare test sheet. Record details on test sheet and obtain signature. WARNING Take care not to over pressurise system under test page 9 of 40 . Inslined manometer to read leakage rate SEQUENCE OFF TEST 1. Read off leakage rate. Maintain test for 15 mins. TEST APPARATUS Site on firm level base and ensure gauges are topped up with correct fluid and zeroed prior to commencing test. In order to avoid incorrect readings of duct pressure the tube from the vertical manometer should be connected directly to the ductwork under test.Hints on Ductwork Leakage Testing Take special care with inaccessible joints FLEX Keep length to a minimum and make sure that both end connections are the flexible dict itself has no leaks. 2. 4. Reseal if necessary (allow time to cure).

leaks should be audible. Smoke Pellet .particularly at blanks.The dimensions on this ductwork are used in an example on page 9 Blank off all open ends with polythene carefully taped in to position to avoid leaks. Soap and Water .running your hand (particularly if wet) over joints can help to locate leaks. 2.placed inside ductwork (obtain permission for use) Part Two page 10 of 40 .Paint over joints and look for bubbles 5. Remember to blank instrument tappings and test holes. Vertical manometer to read duct pressure Blank at convenient place with access for ease of removal 800 x 750 HOW TO FIND LEAKS 1. access openings and difficult joints. Listen . Feel .with test apparatus running. Look . 4. 3.

B and C. 6. Appendix A (Table 31) sets out the pernitted leakage at each of a series of pressures up to the maximum for each class. 6. as set out in their ducument 2/2 (Air Leakage in Ductwork) have been adopted for the low pressure.4 Testing for air leakage All ductwork operating at pressure classified in this specification as high pressure' shall be tested to establish conformity with the relevant leakage limits set out in Table 2.3 Leakage at various pressure : and other relationships Applying the limits specified in Table 2. and also charts from which may be determined leakage as a percentage of airflow for classes A. B and C are the same as those used for the classes similarly designated in the Eurovent Document 2/2 (Air leakage in Ductwork). Included in that appendix is a graphical presentation of the pressure/ leakage relationship .sec also Note(2) on page 1 of DW/142 page 11 of 40 . Appendix A also gives details of the basis for the leakage limits specfied in Table 2.1 Limits for each pressure class Permitted air leakage is related to four standards of airtightness.Specification for Sheet Metal Ductwork. as set out in Table 2. The leakage limits for EUROVENT classifications A. EUROVENT document 2/2 has no standard for a leakage class equivalent to our Class D and therefore the leakage limits for high pressure ductwork used in DW/141 (the predecessor to DW/142) have been retained. and for ease of reference the numbering as in DW/142 has been retained. 6.2 Compatibility with EUROVENT The leakage factors used in Table 2 for Class A. 6 AIR LEAKAGE STANDARS 6. medium pressure and high pressure Class C classifications.B or C. Testing for leakage of ductwork within the low and medium ranges of pressure in this specification will not form part of the ductwork cintract unless this requirement is set out in the job specification .This section is predominantly extracted from DW/142 .

1 A.65 High-pressure .Class C 0. (This value has been adopted by EUROVENT in preparing their Document 2/2 .001 xp . particularly at the corners.and has also been adopted in this specification (see Table 2) and has been applied in Table 31. the leakage through an orifice of a given area will vary according to its shape.65.Class D 0.AIR LEAKAGE FROM DUCTWORK A.65 High-pressure . even though there may be considerable variation in different sections of a complete system because of the changing sizes of the ducts and the number and variety of the fittings.Class A metre of ducts surface area 0. whether rectangular or circular.see Appendix L . Leakage related to duct area In practice. leakage can be taken as proportional to pressure to the power of 0.1 GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS Leakage points in ductwork Air leakage in installed ductwork occurs almost entirely at the longitudinal seams and the cross joints. so a precise value cannot be given to the pressure/leakage relation shop.Air Leakage in Ductwork .2 A.65 Medium-pressure .1. The surface area is easily calculable as part of the design procedure. the leakage orifices are of differing shapes. With installed ductwork.003 xp .65 where p is the differential pressure in pascals 0 0 0 0 Air leakage 1 APPENDIX A . Pressure/leakage relationship For a given pressure.3 page 12 of 40 .Class B 0.027 xp .Table 2 Air Leakage Limits Leakage limits 2 litres per second per square Low-pressure . leakage can be taken as proportional to the surface area of the ductwork. A.1. However. Swedish tests on a variety of constructions have shown that for ductwork operating within the range conered in this specification.1.009 xp . and at the intersection of the seams and cross joints.

calculate the surface area and estimate the mean system pressure difference for the ductwork system (or part of system) .4 A.2 A. the permitted leakage at each of a series of pressures up to the maximum for each class is set out in Table 31. Air loss is likely to be between 2 ans 0. it cannot in advance of the detailed calculations be expressed as a percentage of total airflow.2.2.2.2. where . nor will a percentage loss be acceptable as a standard of performance. Special cases The percentages mentioned in A. page 13 of 40 A. BE ADOPTED. according to which leakage limit is applied. 169. but where the ratio is high (e. calculate the pressure class .5 per cent. For the high-pressure class . and will need to . application of the leakage limits to a variety of ductwork systems indicates that under iparating conditions air losses will usually be within 6 per cent of total airflow for the low-pressure class and 3 per cent for the medium-pressure class.1 LEAKAGE LIMITS . P 2 = operating pressure at the end of the ductwork system or part of system. Designer's required calculations Designers will be concerned with the total loss of air through leakage which must be allowed for the ductwork.3 A.5 a) b) . PAGE 17. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT MAXIMUM TEST PRESSURES AND LEAKAGE RATES SHOWN IN TABLE 32.g long runs of small ducts). Graphical presentations The pressure/leakage relationships given in Table 31 are expressed graphically in Fig. P 1 = operating pressure at the beginning of the ductwork system or part of system.2 A.3 apply to normal rations of duct area to normal ratios of duct area to airflow .2. Leakage as a percentage of airflow As air leakage is related to surface area of the ductwork. 2 Pm = mean or average pressure. Definition of mean pressure Pm = P1 + P2. However.RELATIONSHIPS Limits for each pressure class Applying the values given in Table 2 (page 13).A.2. it may be necessary for the designer to specify a higher standard of airtightness in order to keep the actual leakage within an acceptable limit.

35 0.40 0. Table 31 Air Leakage rates Static Maximum leakage of ductwork pressure Low-pressure Med-pressure High-pressure differential Class A Class B Class C Class D A.75 0.29 0.69 0.18 0.30 0.16 0.11 0.12 0.37 0.51 0.28 0.27 0. d) decide on the maximum total leakage that he can accept .53 3 0.32 0.2. Alternatively.11 0.58 0.44 0.13 0. The leakage characteristics of plant items and accessories are not within the control of the ductwork contractor.14 0.13 0.23 0.39 0.25 0.54 0. the designer may .15 0.12 0.42 0. Leakage of complete system DW/142 deals only with the ductwork.80 4 5 Litres per second per square metre of surface area 0.10 1. e) calculate the wurface area and estimate the mean system pressure difference for the ductwork system (or part of system) and from these determine the required pressure class.c) Calculate the total leakage using the appropriate rate from Table 31.14 0. and therefore any leakage limits and leakage testing called for under DW/142 shall be understood to apply only to the ductwork itself.19 0.15 0.6 1 Pa 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900 2000 2100 2200 2300 2400 2500 2 0.84 1.36 0.14 0.33 0.10 0.64 0.16 page 14 of 40 .21 0.38 0.10 0.32 1.

Fig. 169 Permitted leakage at various pressures (a) LOW & MEDIUM PRESSURE CLASSES-LEAKAGE LIMITS (b) HIGH PRESSURE CLASSES-LEAKAGE LIMITS page 15 of 40 .

AIR LEAKAGE TESTING PROCEDURE page 16 of 40 .APPENDIX B .

B.2. terminal boxes. This procedure used on either side of a duct-mounted component will enable the component to be included in a sub sequent additional test if specified. heat exchangers. rigid removable blanking plates can be used. Alternatively. The proportion of the ductwork to be tested and the method of selection (where not included in the job specification) should be determined in collaboration between the designer and the ductwork contractor. B.4 B.2.B. If a first test produces leakage in excess of the permitted maximum. the section of ductwork under test shall not be counted as part of the tested ductwork.2. page 17 of 40 B. and items such as air handling devices. builder's work construction.4 B. Terminal connections.2 B. the use of polythene sheet or similar insertion blamks between duct cross joints and duct-mounted components will assist in avoiding delays in installation when tests are being carried out. Appendix B is solely concerned with recommendations for the testing procedure. To enable the blank to be cut out after the testing is completed. are excluded from the tests. except where the whole of the ductwork is required to be tested.3 Testing to be completed before insulation. etc. sound attenuators. B. Testing shall be satisfactorily completed before insulation or enclosure of the ductwork and before terminal units (if any) are fitted.4.2.1 Extent of ductwork to be tested The procedure set out in this section is limited to the ductwork.1 Retesting procedure where necessary The air leakage rate for any section shall not be in excess of the permitted rate for that section.1 GENERAL Section 6 (page 13) of this specification deals with the performance requirements of ductwork in respect or air leakage . access may be required adjacent to each blank. Where the method is by random selection. the section shall be resealed and retested until a leakage not greater than the permitted maximum for that section is achieved. If at the time of witnessing the test it is apparent that excessive additional sealing of seams or joints has been done in order to meet the required leakage level. although this involves remaking joints.3 B.2 B. and Table 31 (Appendix A) tabulates the limits of leakage applicable to each class of ductwork.2 .4.

14 B.3 B.2 B.5 Minimum area to be tested The section of ductwork to be tested shall have an area large enough to enable the test aparatus to register a measurable leakage. and unless otherwise specified. 171. and shall have a calibration certificate.44 800 0.7 B. A diagram of a suitable test apparatus is given in Fig.B.7. and ± 5 per cent at the indicated static pressure in the duct under test. The recommended test pressures for the various classes of ductwork are set out in Table 32.8 B. page 18 of 40 .84 400 1. whichever is the greater . which should be left in position until final connections are made. Table 31 Air Leakage rates Static Maximum leakage of ductwork pressure High-pressure Low-pressure Med-pressure differential Class A Class B Class C Class D 1 2 3 4 5 Pa Litres per second per square metre of surface area 200 0.4 litres per second.7.32 0. ± 10 per cent of the indicated flow rate. B. or 0.1 Test apparatus The accuracy of the test apparatus shall be within . Main ducts should be provided with flanged joints to enable blanking plates to be fitted. the choice of test pressure shall be at the discretion of the test operator. chart or graph dated not earlier than one year before the test for which it is used.8.30 1500 0.35 0.7. B.1 Procedure The section of ductwork to be tested for air leakage shall be sealed. the test apparatus shall be inspected by the user before use on site.12 2000 0.6 Test pressures and leakage rates The maximum permissible leakage rates for the full range of pressures are given in Table 31.69 1200 0. while small open ends may be sealed with polythene or inflatable bags.

(No assition shall be made to the permissible leakage rate for access doors.3 B.9. Reduce pressure in section to zero by switching off the fan . The joint shall. Sufficient time shall be allowed between erection and leakage testing for sealants to cure. B.B. be checked by external visual examination.9.1 B. if required.5 B.2 On low-pressure systems.9. B. access panels or dampers where these are included in the ductwork.8. i. Connect test apparatus to section of ductwork to be tested.e.3 B. so that arrangements for witnessing the tests. B.) Maintain the test for fiften minutes and check that the leakage rate has not increased. Check that the measured leakage is with in the permitted rate. then immediately re-apply test pressure to establish that the air leakage rate is not greater than the previous reading. can be made. where practicable.8.4 Complete Part 1 of the Test Sheet. Special care must be exercised in making all joints which fall outside the scope of the testing procedure.9.9 Testing sequence The recommended sequence fo testing is as follows.9.9.8.9.4 B. Record details on Part 2 of the Test Sheet and complete. Adjust test aparatus until the static pressure differential is obtained. joints between tested sdctions of ductwork and between ductwork and other units.7 page 19 of 40 . including witnessing.8.6 B.2 B.. final grille spigots made as a second fix operation shall be excluded from the test. Due notice of testes shall be given.5 B.

10 Air leakage test sheet A specimen of a suitable Test Sheet is given on page 9. 171 Diagram of typical apparatus for air leakage tests Bleed valve(not necessary) Flow measuring device if variable speed fan used) (may be located on the suction side of the fan) Blanking plate Electrically driven fan Duct under test Dust test Inclined gauge pressure gauge page 20 of 40 . Fig.B.

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009 page 28 of 40 .706 3.440 6.405 13.(PROVIDED BY DESIGNERS) SIGNERS BY REF TO TABLE 32) ROM REF TO TABLE 31 OR 32) (FROM CALCULATION BELOW) AINED BY MULTIPLYING AND f) FF MANOMETER ON TEST RIG) TATE MANUFACTURER & TYPE) ROM RIG MANU. LITERATURE) (FROM RIG) SUPPLIED WITH RIG USING"d") Area square metres 54.925 1.533 80.

ARATUS evel base and s are topped up uid and o test. w measuring page 29 of 40 .

e9 page 30 of 40 .

W/142) page 31 of 40 .

RK page 32 of 40 .

EAKAGE RATES page 33 of 40 .

page 34 of 40 .tractor.

page 35 of 40 .

URE page 36 of 40 .

sound ere the onents included page 37 of 40 .

e given ctwork plates page 38 of 40 .

peration page 39 of 40 .

der test e gauge page 40 of 40 .