• Duct Leakage Testing or “Duct Blasting” Test ensures that central air ducts and building cavities used as ducts do not leak more than a specified amount by pressurizing the ducts and measuring how much air escapes. A CF-3R MCH 20 form is issued when a system passes.
• Adequate Air Flow or Minimum Air Flow is required to be measured when air conditioning is newly installed, or even one component like the condenser or coil is replaced. A CF-3R MCH 23 form is issued with a system passes.
• Refrigerant Charge Verification Test is required when either the condenser or coil are replaced or air conditioning is newly installed. The test verifies that the correct amount of refrigerant is charged in the lines and is custom set for every installation. A CF-3R MCH 25 form is issued when a system passes.
• Fan Watt Draw Verification ensures that the power drawn for the blower to move the air through the ducting system is not excessive relative to the amount of air it can move. A CF-3R MCH 22 form is issued when a system passes.
• EER/SEER Verification ensures that equipment installed, the furnace and the evaporator coil and the condenser are government tested and certified to have met specific energy efficiency targets, like MPG for a car. A CF-3R MCH 26 form is issued when a system is installed that is AHRI certified as meeting the requirements established on the CF-1R document (Title-24 simulation).
• Quality Insulation Installation or QII is a highly rigorous, multi-visit inspection of a new building’s framing, sheeting and insulation in each stage of construction to ensure it is installed perfectly. Since 2013 code, the only means to pass QII is to use a blown in product such as loose-fill cellulose or fiberglass or spray on expanding foam insulation. A CF-3R ERV 22, CF-3R ENV 23 and CF-3R ENV 24 forms are issued when the assemblies pass.
• Blower Door Testing ensures that a house, as a whole, does not leak more than a specified amount found on the CF-1R (Title 24) form. A total air leakage value is generated by pressurizing the entire building, after closing all the windows and doors tightly, and measuring how much air still moves through the fan to maintain a certain pressure. The test is also called a Reduced Building Infiltration test and a CF-3R ENV 21 form is issued if the leakage is at or below the number specified on the CF-1R form.
• HERS II Whole House Energy Efficiency ratings for Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs) and other purposes.
• Additional HERS verifications may include: Indoor Air Quality Fresh Air Ventilation, Supply Ducts Located in Conditioned Space, Maximum Cooling Capacity, Buried Ducts, Deeply Buried Ducts, Return Duct and Filter Grille Design and Hot Water Distribution.
• Heating and Cooling Needs Analysis: "Manual J, Manual S, and Manual D" Calculations are detailed room-by-room measurements and load calculations to know how much heating and cooling is needed in every room and what the most proper size furnance and air conditioner is for the greatest energy efficiency. To distribute the required air flow to each room, a detailed ducting plan is also provided.
• Residential Air Balance Analysis is strongly recommended to optimize and ensure the correct amount of air goes to each register when a new duct installation is complete. Just like a fine automobile requires tuning for optimal performance, a newly installed HVAC system requires tuning via an Air Balance to achieve optimal comfort and performance.
WHAT IS A DUCT BLASTER TEST?
Air leaking from ductwork is never as obvious as broken or leaking water pipes or even natural gas lines. However, it can cause serious problems such as contamination of indoor air, back-drafting of combustion appliances (furnace or hot water heater suck air in the flue rather than pushing to fumes out), high energy bills and uncomfortable homes. If duct leakage is significant, the ducts should be sealed. California building energy code (Title-24) allows existing ducts to leak no more than 15% of total fan flow when a furnace or air conditioner condenser or coil are replaced (“change-outs”), but only 5% of fan flow when completely new ducts or completely new systems are installed. A “Duct Blaster” test is performed by temporarily sealing all registers and grilles and then blowing air into the duct system and pressurizing it using our specialized fan. Our computer measures the amount of air escaping from the ducts.
WHAT IS A BLOWER DOOR TEST?
A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts into the frame of an exterior door. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher pressure, outside air then gets sucked into the house through all the tiny cracks, holes and crevices. We may use a little smoke to actually witness these tiny air leaks by watching the smoke billow through an unseen hole. This test determines the air infiltration rate of the house.
WHAT IS A HIGH QUALITY INSULATION INSTALLATION?
High Quality Insulation Installation (QII) is a very careful installation of not only a building’s insulation but the entire outside sheeting. While most insulation contractors always reassure clients they are “the best, most careful contractor,” unfortunately, over 99% of these installations cannot pass a formal QII inspection. To be a “high quality” installation, the framing, sheeting and insulation installation must pass a detailed 124-point inspection to ensure it is installed air tight and uniformly with no gaps, ripples, voids or holes anywhere in the walls, floor and ceiling. While well installed insulation provides a continuous thermal barrier to minimize heat movement through the walls, ceiling and floor a complete, hole-less air barrier on the outside keeps air from seeping into the home. An outside air barrier and insulation help keep a building at a constant temperature without air conditioning or heating. With big air holes and poor or inadequately installed insulation (compressed, with gaps, or too thin etc.), the building will not be as comfortable and energy costs will be higher than one with a tight air barrier and quality installed insulation.
WHAT IS EER/SEER VERIFICATION?
EER is the Energy Efficiency Ratio and SEER is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio of the heating and cooling equipment. These a laboratory derived numbers like MPG for cars. We will verify that the EER or SEER of the equipment installed: the furnace, evaporator coil and condenser meet or exceeds that specified in the project’s Title24 report (CF-1R).
WHAT IS ADEQUATE AIRFLOW?
This test measures how much air is being drawn in through the return, cooled as it passes across the coil and sent back into the house. Every air conditioner is factory designed to provide cooling for a specific amount of air that flows through it. The industry standard is for every ton of the condenser’s cooling capacity, 400 cubic feet of air per minute (CFM) is cooled. However, most existing systems only provide 200-300 CFM. Less than 300 CFM could cause the cooling coil to freeze or the condenser to prematurely wear out.
WHAT IS FAN WATT DRAW?
When a forced air unit (heater or air conditioner) turns on, a fan blows air through the duct system. This fan draws electricity (measured in watts) and a Fan Watt Draw test measures how much electricity the fan uses at full power relative to how much air is being moved. The greater the air flow, the lower the ratio of power to air moved while the lower the airflow, the greater the ratio. If the ratio is too high, the fan is working too hard not moving enough air.
WHAT IS MAXIMUM COOLING CAPACITY?
Maximum Cooling Capacity is the engineering of an HVAC system that is specially designed, generally smaller, to ensure optimum efficiency and comfort. Maximum cooling is an important part of improved comfort, better performing equipment and overall lower energy usage. However, the vast majority of systems installed are OVER sized, and not engineered for maximum cooling capacity.
WHAT ARE BURIED DUCTS?
Ducts installed in an attic can be buried deeply by the application of loose-fill, blown-in attic insulation. When ducts are buried in insulation, they maintain the heat (winter) or cool (summer) significantly better than ducts hung by the attic rafters. If taking the buried duct credit, a minimum of R-30 insulation must be blown on top of the HVAC ducts. Prior to being buried, the ducts must have at least R-6 duct insulation.
If a building official asked you to get a "HERS" report or certificate for a Lighting or Mechanical control system, please click
http://www.energy.ca.gov/title24/attcp/ and scroll about half way down the page to "Acceptance Test Certification Providers." There you will find a list of certified providers (organizations, like CalCERTS) who have, in turn certified companies and testers who can help you. HERSRaterLA is not currently certified to perform acceptance testing for lighting or mechanical control systems.