New Study: Profound Losses from Improper HVAC Installation

A new report published by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and commissioned by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) confirms what seasoned commercial HVAC pros already knew: quality installation of HVAC equipment is mandatory to achieve performance at it’s rated efficiency. In other words, design and installation deficiencies have a substantial impact on HVAC equipment’s operating efficiency…“increasing annual energy consumption by 30% or more.”  Part of the NIST report outlines a variety of poor installation practices and their negative effects on energy consumption of the equipment.
Cleanroom HVAC Installation
Published 10/29/2014, the report takes into account the overall impacts of equipment, building and climate on the  operating efficiency of HVAC equipment installations over a three year period.  The bottom line: faulty installation of HVAC equipment translated in real increases in energy consumption.  Refrigerant undercharge & overcharge, oversized equipment with undersized duct work and low indoor airflow…all possess the highest potential for reducing equipment efficiency…according computer simulations and intensive lab testing conducted for the study. Worse yet, errors are additive…meaning that when more than a single installation error occurs, the resulting reduction in operating efficiency is compounded and increases energy consumption even more.

This report quantifies what many industry experts already know — profound efficiency losses occur when HVAC equipment is not installed properly…(it) should help consumers understand why it is important to hire a contractor who follows the QI Standard. When consumers start asking for QI from every contractor, it will raise the performance bar in the industry, and result in significant energy savings while increasing occupant comfort.

ACCA notes that the ANSI/ACCA 5 QI Standard, HVAC Quality Installation Specification, specifies what to measure, how to measure, and the measurement tolerances for unitary residential and commercial HVAC systems. This reduces faults associated with design, installation, and commissioning. Failure to meet the design and installation elements specified in the ACCA 5 QI Standard will impact equipment performance and undercut the deemed energy savings assumed by many energy efficiency programs.

Download your own free copy of the NIST report… “Sensitivity Analysis of Installation Faults on Heat Pump Performance” at

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