Standard Test Methods for Determining Air Leakage of Air Distribution Systems by Fan Pressurization
Air leakage between an air distribution system and unconditioned spaces affects the energy losses from the distribution system, the ventilation rate of the building, and the entry rate of air pollutants.
The determination of infiltration energy loads and ventilation rates of residences and small commercial buildings are typically based on the assumption that the principal driving forces for infiltration and ventilation are the wind and indoor/outdoor temperature differences. This can be an inappropriate assumption for buildings that have distribution systems that pass through unconditioned spaces, because the existence of relatively modest leakage from that system has a relatively large impact on overall ventilation rates. The air leakage characteristics of these exterior distribution systems are needed to determine their ventilation, energy, and pollutant-entry implications.
Air leakage through the exterior air distribution envelope may be treated in the same manner as air leakage in the building envelope as long as the system is not operating (see Test Method E 779). However, when the system blower is on, the pressures across the air distribution system leaks are usually significantly larger than those driving natural infiltration. Depending on the size of the leaks, these pressures can induce much larger flows than natural infiltration. Thus, it is important to be able to isolate these leaks from building envelope leaks. The leakage of air distribution systems must be measured in the field, because it has been shown that workmanship and installation details are more important than design in determining the leakage of these systems.
For codes, standards, and other compliance or quality control applications, the precision and repeatability at meeting a specified target (for example, air flow at reference pressure) is more important than air leakage flows at operating conditions. Some existing codes, standards, and voluntary programs require the use of a simpler test method (Test Method D) that does not separate supply from return leakage, leakage to inside from leakage to outside, or estimate leakage pressures at operating conditions.
5.5 Test Methods A, B, and C can be used for energy use calculations and compliance and quality control applications. Test Method D is intended for use in compliance and quality control only.
1.1 The test methods included in this standard are applicable to the air distribution systems in low-rise residential and commercial buildings.
1.2 These test methods cover four techniques for measuring the air leakage of air distribution systems. The techniques use air flow and pressure measurements to determine the leakage characteristics.
1.3 The test methods for two of the techniques also specify the auxiliary measurements needed to characterize the magnitude of the distribution system air leakage during normal operation.
1.4 A test method for the total recirculating air flow induced by the system blower is included so that the air distribution system leakage can be normalized as is often required for energy calculations.
1.5 The proper use of these test methods requires knowledge of the principles of air flow and pressure measurements.
1.6 Three of these test methods are intended to produce a measure of the air leakage from the air distribution system to outside. The other test method measures total air leakage including air leaks to inside conditioned space.
1.7 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are for information only.
1.8 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. For specific hazard statements, see Section 7.
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