Air Conditioning Performance Testing shows how efficiently your system is running, where in the systems problems exist, and thus where to make improvements to get maximum efficiency.
DIAGNOSTIC TESTING -
Air Conditioning Testing
Since air conditioners are the greatest consumers of electricity in most hot, humid climates, energy efficiency requires that ...
1) A/C units perform close to their design capacity when cooling the air (system performance)
2) Very little of this cool air is leaking into attics and other place where it is wasted (system tightness)
3) Cool air is distributed in the proper amount to every room (system balance)
All three of these variables can be tested scientifically and the A/C system optimized with the data gathered. It is often possible to gain more performance from your existing units through optimization than from buying new equipment - at a small fraction of the cost. Most air conditioning contractors do not have the knowledge, equipment, or motivation to optimize systems, as they gain more revenue from simply replacing equipment. Perhaps this is why the national performance average for these systems is 57% of rated capacity (data from over 20 years of testing by the National Comfort Institute).
Below are the diagnostic tests for ...
External Static Pressure
This is the pressure in your A/C system against which your fan must push. If it is higher that what the fan is designed for, the volume of air distributed to your rooms (measured in cubic feet per minute, or CFM) can decrease dramatically.
Filter Pressure Drop
This test measures how much your air filter is restricting air flow and reveals if you need a better approach to filtration or a larger area of air return grill.
Evaporator Coil Pressure Drop
This test measures the difference in pressure on either side of the evaporator coil. It shows how much the coil is restricting air flow and whether it needs cleaning.
A small camera is inserted into the equipment to literally see the condition of the evaporator coil or other components of the A/C system.
System Temperature Change
This test measures the temperature of air entering your system at the return grill and compares it to the temperature of the air delivered to the supply registers in your ceilings – and shows the actual temperature change your system is delivering.
Equipment Temperature Change
This measures how much heat is being taken out of the air as it passes through the air conditioning equipment. Comparing equipment temperature change to entire system
temperature change reveals how much heat is being lost or gained in the ducts.
The purpose of an air conditioning/heating system is to remove/add heat to the air passing through it and deliver this conditioned air to your rooms. The Btu your system is delivering is simply a function of how much your system changes the air temperature and how much of this conditioned air is delivered. [12,000 Btu is 1 “ton”] We calculate your system’s Delivered Btu with the data collected (above) on delivered air volume and system temperature change.
This is a comparison of how many Btu your system is delivering to how many it is rated to deliver. The national average is 57%. The goal should be over 90%.
Duct Leakage Tests
These tests measure the volume of air, in cubic feet per minute, leaking from the distribution system. Tests for both total duct leakage and duct leakage to outside the conditioned space can be performed.
Pressure Pan Test
This test is run in conjunction with a blower door test to reveal which supply duct runs and return air channels have major leaks.
Smoke Machine Test
This test, used in conjunction with duct blaster equipment, gives visual evidence of where duct leakage is occurring. It is particularly valuable in spotting leakage points in hard-piped ducts covered up by insulation.
Air Balancing Test
Air Balancing is the process of adjusting the volume of conditioned air flowing into each room to ensure the room is comfortable. Usually the process begins with a calculation of how much air should be supplied (a Manual J room-to-room heat load calculation). Then the volume of air actually entering each room is measured in cubic feet per minute with an Air Flow Hood. Finally, airflow to each room in your house is adjusted to "balance" the house.
This is the gold standard for air conditioning system efficiency. And since A/C efficiency is one of the prime determinates of overall home energy efficiency in hot, humid climates, these system performance tests provide the data needed to increase your home’s actual (as opposed to theoretical) efficiency.