HVAC Airflow Problems

Klaus & Sons understands how critical airflow is to your overall system. We also understand and can assess which are home or business truly needs to maximize efficiency.

Airflow Is Critical To HVAC System Performance

By, Chris Van Rite, M&M Manufacturing Co.

Q. Does “Air Flow” really make a difference in HVAC system performance?

A. Absolutely! Equipment SEER is based on the manufacturer’s efficiency rating with no resistance factored in for the duct system. A bad duct system causes the equipment to work harder and less efficiently.

Q. If a duct installation passes inspection, is it a good duct system?

A. Not necessarily. Most building codes fail to address air flow. A duct system with terrible air flow can pass code inspection in many cities as long as it is properly sealed and insulated. Too many contractors assume that if they install duct as their competitors do and the job passes inspection, it must be a good duct system. It is important to realize that when we depend on code inspections to set the benchmark for good and bad, we are building to the lowest level allowed rather than the highest possible quality. Few people would argue that the quality of all materials and workmanship is better in new homes today than it was 30 years ago. Market pressures force contractors to look for ways of cutting costs often at the expense of quality and performance. One of the casualties of this trend has been the HVAC duct system. Technology and higher federal standards have brought about significant improvements in HVAC equipment, but the quality of duct systems and overall system installation has declined. Founded in 1991, the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) is a non-profit, public benefit corporation that actively promotes the use of energy-efficient products and services. CEE reports that according to recent research, “most residential central air conditioning systems are not installed properly”. This not only increases energy use but also reduces comfort and contributes to peak demand for electricity.

Here is a breakdown of major problem areas and the frequency with which they occur:

• Over sizing of equipment – 47 %

• Inadequate airflow – 70 %

• Improper refrigerant charge – 44 %

Correcting these problems could reduce air conditioning peak demand by 14 percent in existing homes and 25 percent in new construction. Proper installation and maintenance could also reduce air conditioning energy bills by an average of 24 percent in existing homes and 35 percent in new construction. Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE)