What is Air Balancing?
The air in every building, whether it’s a large commercial facility, hospital, or private family home, has a positive or negative air pressure. Because of various factors, including infrastructural issues within the HVAC system, the presence of too many electric and electronic devices (stoves/TVs/computer monitors) or even the furniture placement in the room, airflow can become unbalanced. Air balancing is a service that seeks to correct this problem, making the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems) in the building or home more efficient and the room climate more comfortable.
Air Balancing (Defined)
HVAC air balancing optimizes the HVAC system to best ensure that air becomes evenly distributed throughout a building. This involves inspecting all elements of the system, cleaning ducts, replacing or refitting ducts and dampers. Beyond visual inspection of these elements, air balancing also involves testing, adjusting, and balancing services. A series of tests is performed that determines the problem areas in each home/building. This allows Certified Air Balance technicians to fix/modify the elements of HVAC that are causing the issue, thus balancing airflow. The result is a building with improved, cleaner air quality, less temperature dips and highs, no hot/cold spots, and doors that are neither too hard to open (negative air) or drafty and open (excess positive air).
Why Air Balancing?
Oftentimes, unbalanced airflow is a silent problem that the owners of the home or business are not aware of, except for rising AC and heating bills. When left unattended, this can cost thousands of dollars per year. If there is too much positive air in a room, it will pull outside air in, which can cause the building to become too hot or too cold, depending on the weather. The people inside adjust the thermostat to compensate for the inconsistent temperature, producing a very costly energy inefficiency that is so easily preventable with the help of Certified Air Balancing.
On the other hand, when there is too much negative air, the room will suck air from window and door cracks, trash bins, etc. creating an unpleasant air quality inside the building. This taxes the HVAC system as it struggles to filter the air. Eventually, the excessive harmful particles sucked up in a negative building will overwhelm the system, allowing unfiltered air to circulate, jeopardizing the health of its occupants.
When an unbalanced airflow in a building becomes apparent, it can cause great discomfort and annoyance to the people within. In a home, this means an unwelcoming atmosphere for its occupants, and for a business, this can precipitate falling employee morale and productivity.
HVAC System Performance and Air Balancing
Every building is equipped with a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system, and that system needs to be tested for proper and optimal performance prior to use and throughout its lifespan. An extensive battery of tests examining various aspects of a building’s HVAC system is necessary to understanding your HVAC system performance thoroughly.
HVAC Air Balancing & Testing.
Tests done by certified air balancing professionals determine HVAC system performance by looking individually at: energy use and its efficiency, air purification testing (examines indoor air quality) and airflow testing. An unbalanced pressure buildup in a building will negatively affect the performance of all HVAC system functions and vice versa. A deficiency in the infrastructure of the HVAC system will contribute to uneven distribution of air throughout the home or business building. This is why it’s important to perform air balance adjustments with a trusted company.
Common Causes of Airflow Problems Fixed by Air Balance Adjustments
- Missing dampers: Dampers are plates that open and close to direct air towards or away from specified sections of the building to accommodate the needs of different zones (rooms/levels). When they are missing, air is distributed incorrectly, causing temperature inconsistencies.
- Restrictive ducts: Air ducts made with the wrong material create air friction and turbulence. Fittings of a tight elbow shape make airflow harder, forcing the HVAC system to work overtime to push air through.
- Duct leakage: The integrity of the material of the ducts and the connective fittings can greatly affect airflow. Brittle materials with no flex allow breaks to happen; rodents can chew through ducts, creating holes. Huge amounts of conditioned air can be lost through leaking ducts, causing energy inefficiency.
- Blower problems: When the blower fan is damaged, there is no steady pushing of air to be cooled or heated. Slow airflow through the ducts taxes the HVAC system.
- Restrictive coils and filters: Dust, grease, dirt and other contaminants can clog up the condenser coil of the cooling system, causing decreased airflow. Dirty filters can also cause air friction, contributing to turbulence within the ducts and making airflow much slower.
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