Duct testing is not new. It is just new here in Southern California. There are two different types of duct testing that can be required by the city in which you live and the State of California when you have maintenance or replacement of certain key components in your heating and air conditioning system. The following items can trigger duct testing in Weather Zones 7,8,9,10. You can find out what Zone you are in by looking through this Weather Zone pdf file.
Depending upon what your zip code is (or what city you are in) you may be required to perform either a lighter version of the testing or full testing. Usually in Zones 7 & 8 the city inspector wants light testing only if you have air conditioning. The city or the city can always enforce a higher code standard than the State of California minimum.
This test merely measures the amount of amount across the evaporator coil. You must have a minimum of 350 cubic feet of air per Ton of air conditioning. We use the State Certified Method and we do have our Air Testing and Air Balancing Certifications. This is not guess work…it is a science. If you have less than 350 CFM your air conditioning is not working properly and stand a very good chance of freezing up. The only way to prevent an air conditioning system from freezing up with too little airflow is too overcharge the system with Freon. When this happens the system makes more noise, cools less, costs more to operate and its lifespan decreases.
We perform the volume airflow test as in Light Duct Testing and then perform an air losses test. Every opening in the system is sealed and then we pressurize it to test it for leaks. The pressure is very small and will not harm your ducts. In order to pass the testing with older ducts they must not leak more than 15%. Most fail. For new ducting they must not leak more than 6%. 6% duct leakage is a very tight system.
The most common leaks are at the furnace or air handler, the metal adjustable elbows, the boot connections from the attic to inside the home and around the registers. Once we locate these leaks they are generally pretty easy to seal.
Our tests have shown that the average 5 Ton heating and air conditioning system here in Southern California is only delivering 3 ½ Tons of air conditioning into the living space. You may think that your air conditioning system is too small and undersized when it is not. Most are oversized and underutilized. Giving us a call and asking for a HeatMaxx or CoolMax Survey is your first step in energy independence. Call Now.