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AIR CONDITIONING & HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS
A/C - HEAT PUMP CONTROLS & SWITCHES
AIR CONDITIONER COMPONENT PARTS
AIR CONDITIONER TYPES, ENERGY SOURCES
AIR FILTER EFFICIENCY
AIR FILTERS, FIBERGLASS PARTICLES
AIR FLOW MEASUREMENT CFM
APPLIANCE EFFICIENCY RATINGS
BLOWER DOORS & AIR INFILTRATION
BLOWER FAN CONTINUOUS OPERATION
BLOWER FAN OPERATION & TESTING
BOOKSTORE - Air Conditioning "How To" Books
CAPACITORS for HARD STARTING MOTORS
CLEANING & Legionella BACTERIA
CHINESE DRYWALL HAZARDS
CONDENSATION or SWEATING PIPES, TANKS
DEFINITION of Heating & Cooling Terms
DEW POINT CALCULATION for WALLS
DEW POINT TABLE - CONDENSATION POINT GUIDE
DIAGNOSE & FIX AIR CONDITIONER / HEAT PUMP
DIAGNOSE & FIX HEATING PROBLEMS-BOILER
DIAGNOSE & FIX HEATING PROBLEMS-FURNACE
DUCTS - Asbestos
DUCT INSULATION, Asbestos Paper
DUCT INSULATION for SOUNDPROOFING
DUCT SYSTEM NOISES
DUCTS, Asbestos Transite Pipe
DUST, HVAC CONTAMINATION STUDY
ELECTRIC MOTOR OVERLOAD RESET SWITCH
EVAPORATIVE COOLING SYSTEMS
FAN LIMIT SWITCH
GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS, TOXIC
GAS DETECTION INSTRUMENTS
HEAT LOSS (or GAIN) in buildings
HEAT LOSS (or GAIN) INDICATORS
HEAT LOSS R U & K VALUE CALCULATION
HEATING SMALL LOADS
INSPECTION CHECKLIST - OUTDOOR UNIT
INSPECTION LIMITATIONS, A/C SYSTEMS
LEED GREEN BUILDING CERTIFICATION
LOST COOLING CAPACITY
LOW VOLTAGE TRANSFORMER TEST
MOTOR OVERLOAD RESET SWITCH
MOLD in AIR HANDLERS & DUCT WORK
OPERATING COST, AIR CONDITIONER
OPERATING DEFECTS, AIR CONDITIONING
REPAIR GUIDE, AIR CONDITIONERS / HEAT PUMPS
REPAIR & DIAGNOSTIC FAQs for A/C
THERMOSTATS, HEATING / COOLING
THERMOSTATIC EXPANSION VALVES
WATER COOLED AIR CONDITIONERS
WINDOW / WALL AIR CONDITIONERS
WINDOW / WALL A/C SUPPORTS
This article describes the inspection of the defects in return air registers & ducts for heating or cooling systems (HVAC) such as missing air conditioning cool air supply or return air registers, undersized air conditioning duct openings, improper cooling duct routing, cooling (or heating) air duct corrosion, leaky air duct connections, defective heating or cooling ductwork materials.
The photograph above shows a single central return air duct located outside of the apartment which the duct system intends to serve. This installation prevents recirculating of air through the air handler for heating or cooling and results in poor air flow and increased heating and cooling costs for the apartment owners.
The master document, of which this is a chapter, describes the inspection of residential air conditioning systems (A/C systems
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When the air conditioning or heating system is in operation, return ducts are under negative pressure (since the blower in the air handler is drawing air in to the cooling or heating unit). At Soffit Cool Air Blast we describe a more egregious case of duct work that was missing entirely.
Take a look at the flooding crawl space and rusty leaky ducts on dirt in our field photo (left). This crawl area suffered from flooding, sewer backups, and mold. This is not a good place from which to draw air into the building.
Missing return ducts mean that:
HVAC Return Air Duct Leaks & Obstructions - Theory & Practice
Technical note: The D'Arcy-Weisbach equation for pressure and head loss can be used to calculate the actual pressure loss due to friction in a building piping or air duct system. The Engineering Toolbox provides the D'Arcy-Weisbach formula: Δp = λ (l / dh) (ρ v2 / 2) where Δp = pressure loss (Pa, N/m2), and l = length of duct or pipe (m) and dh = hydraulic diameter (m) and finally, ρ = density (kg/m3).
Watch out: But keep in mind that even this apparently accurate calculation of the effect of piping on air pressure and airflow loss will not include the effects of obstructions in the building return air or supply air duct system such as
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