Evaluation of Commercially Available Techniques and Development of Simplified Methods for Measuring Grille Airflows in HVAC Systems

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This report discusses the accuracy of flow hoods for residential applications, based on laboratory tests and field studies. The results indicate that commercially available hoods are often inadequate to measure flows in residential systems, and that there can be a wide range of performance between different flow hoods. The errors are due to poor calibrations, sensitivity of existing hoods to grille flow non-uniformities, and flow changes from added flow resistance. We also evaluated several simple techniques for measuring register airflows that could be adopted by the HVAC industry and homeowners as simple diagnostics that are often as accurate as commercially available devices. Our test results also show that current calibration procedures for flow hoods do not account for field application problems. As a result, organizations such as ASHRAE or ASTM need to develop a new standard for flow hood calibration, along with a new measurement standard to address field use of flow hoods.

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