Testing & Balancing

North Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors, working in offices, in vehicles, in homes or shopping in large retail centers. Studies have shown that the air being inhaled indoors can be significantly more polluted than the air outside. Inadequate ventilation is acknowledge to be the cause of “Sick Building Syndrome” in 70% of buildings.

With today’s energy efficient construction and airtight structures, this syndrome is suggested as a major cause of serious, acute and chronic health risks to building occupants. Proper testing and subsequent balancing of the HVAC system can help keep a building in top operating condition and mitigate Sick Building Syndrome.

Testing and balancing is the testing, adjusting and balancing of various HVAC system components so that the entire system produces the intended results. This requires the proper use of instruments, the skilful evaluation of readings, and the ability to adjust the system to design considerations.

Air and Water Flow Measurement Surveys

The current operation of building systems is compiled to assist with environmental upgrade or energy conservation measures. Audits conducted by Air Movement Services Ltd. contain all field measured data relevant to assess as found operation of mechanical HVAC equipment, including flows, static pressure, power draw, and power factor readings of motors.

 

Commissioning and Verification

Commissioning is a comprehensive procedure to ensure that HVAC systems are constructed and will perform as per design intent, thereby helping building owners avoid the high cost of system modification after installation and provide a more energy efficient system operation. Air Movement Services Ltd. systematically tests and verifies the performance of all components making up the mechanical and electrical systems by actual field tests. Documentation is provided listing full performance evaluation of all equipment that comprises the total mechanical system for the building.

 

Duct Leakage Tests

Air leakage in duct systems has become a major factor in the performance of air distribution systems. Excessive duct leakage affects operating costs for the equipment, not only the fan filters nd other air system components, but the hydronic system as well. Leakage tests performed by Air Movement Ltd. during construction work prior to ductwork concealment and insulation, identify leakage locations, giving the installer the opportunity to remedy the situation during the installation period, rather than causing costly disruptions upon system start up.

 

Fire/Smoke Damper Tests

Air Movement Services Ltd. professionals test the HVAC system to ensure and certify that fire/smoke dampers perform according to manufacturer's and fire safety specifications. In addition, Smoke Evacuation and Stairwell Pressurization Fan tests are conducted under simulated fir alarm conditions to ascertain these systems meet local fire safety standards.

 

Indoor Air Quality

An indoor environment is considered as providing an acceptable IAQ if the air is free from significant levels of odors, dust, and contaminants, and circulates freely without creating drafts.

Because of poor indoor air quality, however, more and more buildings are demonstrating symptoms of sick building syndrome. Occupants or such buildings complain of headaches, eye and throat irritation, dizziness, nausea, and other symptoms. The results are increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, and low employee morale. Air Movement Services Ltd. addresses the problem by monitoring the building air composition and HVAC equipment operation levels. In general, the guidelines referred to for acceptable operation are those prescribed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Once the assessment is complete, a comprehensive report identifying and quantifying the problem is submitted, along with specific, practical recommendations on how to remedy the situation. Air Movement Services Ltd. strives to provide building owners with solutions which optimize the performance of existing mechanical systems. Often the solution lies in the correct setting of the building fresh air rates in relation to system capability rather than expensive redesign and purchase of new equipment.

 

Dust & Microbial Sampling

It is generally  recommended that air ducts be cleaned routinely, but only as needed. Cleaning of commercial air ducts should be considered if:
   i)  there is visible mould growth inside the duct or on other components of the heating, cooling and/or humidification system.
  ii) ducts are infested with vermin (rodents or insects).
  iii) ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and/or debris and particles are actually becoming dislodged and being released from the supply grilles.

If any of these conditions exist, it suggests underlying causes which should be corrected prior to any cleaning or else the problem will likely recur.

An inspection service can be provided to inspect accessible duct work, air handling units, fresh air intakes, heating/cooling coils and drain pans, areas downstream of humidification and terminal air control units to determine if any of the above conditions are visible.

Microbial amplification in the air handling system including the duct work can be determined by sampling the return air and supply air of each AHU and comparing the results. This could be done with an Air-O-Cell spore trap totaling viable and non-viable spores or an RCS Air Sampler culturing for viable spores only. The RCS method is recommended because it is the only method with a Health Canada guideline for interpretation of results.

Determining dust levels attributable to dirty ducts can be accomplished by measuring mass concentrations of particle sizes up to 10 micrometers and measuring the quantity of airborne particles with an airborne particle counter. Dust samples would have to be taken at supply diffusers near the end of the supply ducts and compared with samples of the return air before the AHU filtration system.

This investigation would include a detailed report on all observations and test results complete with recommendations including whether duct cleaning is considered necessary or not. This report will also serve as an Indoor Air Quality assessment and will provide better preventative maintenance of HVAC systems and hopefully fewer air quality complaints.

Air Movement Services Ltd. Est. 1967 / Re-Inc. 1999

 

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