While, over the course of my 30-plus years in the HVAC industry, I have seen plenty of ventilation-system designs and installations that have been nothing short of amazing, I have seen more than my fair share that, to put it kindly, have left a lot to be desired. Often, when I see these unfortunate systems, with their misapplied components, convoluted ductwork, and the like, I cannot help but shake my head and laugh. That amusement, however, quickly gives way to sadness, sadness over the unrealized potential—to save energy, to ensure a comfortable, healthy, and safe environment—of these systems.
There is no shortage of reasons for poor system performance, and, unfortunately, not all causes are visible to the naked eye. Ignorance, poor design, and substandard information from the manufacturer are but a few of the reasons the wrong fan may be selected. An incorrect adjustment—or the failure to make an adjustment—following a system change, meanwhile, can lead to a fan operating at the wrong duty point.
Poor system performance also can be the result of cheating. I have seen examples of products and technical data having been copied and fan curves parallel-adjusted upward. Incorrect technical data additionally may result from a manufacturer not having the knowledge or equipment to make accurate measurements. These types of errors are difficult to detect without accurate control measurements, especially when fans are part of a larger system.
There also are examples of poor performance resulting from incorrect interpolation of fan sizes, fan operating points, and blade pitch angles.
Whether plain as day or invisible and requiring testing to detect, these barriers to better building performance drive our efforts to cultivate trust. Verification by a third party that a product’s technical data are correct and presented properly means the customer can rest easy knowing the product underwent a rigorous certification process. We invite everyone to support us in our efforts to strengthen accountability and build confidence in the HVAC sector. We all have a part to play in raising the standard within our industry, the importance of which in maintaining health and safety is underscored in these challenging times.
True to its mission, AMCA is doing its part to “advance the knowledge of air systems and uphold industry integrity on behalf of AMCA members worldwide.” Through its Certified Ratings Program, AMCA provides assurance a product line has been tested and rated in conformance with AMCA International standards and requirements. Through its Laboratory Accreditation Program, it demonstrates a laboratory is qualified to test products in accordance with AMCA International and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) methods. Through its various education and training initiatives—white papers, webinars, online training modules, AMCA inmotion magazine—it promotes knowledge exchange. And through its advocacy efforts in the regulatory, legislative, and standardization arenas, it promotes and defends the cause of efficient, healthy, and safe buildings.