LBNL Report Number
This paper discusses the accuracy of commercially available flow hoods for residential applications. Results of laboratory and field tests indicate these hoods can be inadequate to measure airflows in residential systems, and there can be large measurement discrepancies between different flow hoods. The errors are due to poor calibrations, sensitivity of the hoods to grille airflow non-uniformities, and flow changes from added flow resistance. It is possible to obtain reasonable results using some flow hoods if the field tests are carefully done, the grilles are appropriate, and grille location does not restrict flow hood placement. We also evaluated several simple flow capture techniques for measuring grille airflows that could be adopted by the HVAC industry and homeowners as simple diagnostics. These simple techniques can be 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, agencies 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 capture techniques.