Development of a New Duct leakage Test: Delta Q
Duct leakage is a key factor in determining energy losses from forced air heating and cooling systems. Several studies (Francisco and Palmiter 1997 and 1999, Andrews et al. 1998, and Siegel et al. 2001) have shown that the duct system efficiency cannot be reliably determined without good estimates of duct leakage. Specifically, for energy calculations, it is the duct leakage air flow to outside at operating conditions that is required. Existing test methods either precisely measure the size of leaks (but not the flow through them at operating conditions), or measure these flows with insufficient accuracy. The DeltaQ duct leakage test method was developed to provide improved estimates of duct leakage during system operation.
In this study we developed the analytical calculation methods and the test procedures used in the DeltaQ test. As part of the development process, we have estimated uncertainties in the test method (both analytically and based on field data) and designed automated test procedures to increase accuracy and reduce the contributions of operator errors in performing field tests. In addition, the test has been evaluated in over 100 houses by several research teams to show that it can be used in a wide range of houses and to aid in finding limits or problems in field applications. The test procedure is currently being considered by ASTM as an update of an existing duct leakage standard.