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HVAC School - For Techs, By Techs

Jul 14, 2022

Eric Kaiser joins the podcast to talk about systems thinking in HVAC. Systems thinking allows us to solve problems and address customers’ comfort holistically instead of focusing on just the equipment. The key to systems thinking is to think outside the appliance.

System design plays a major role in performance. Duct design, drain placement, and equipment placement all matter, and we can only do so much to mitigate factors of poor design. We need to assess the building envelope and consider how the HVAC system interacts with it. Building envelope and duct leakage will significantly affect HVAC performance and occupant comfort. 

Ventilation also matters, especially since many homes rely on exhaust-only ventilation. However, the air that leaves the building must be replaced, and we often don’t control where that air comes from. When you control the source of your fresh air ventilation to meet ASHRAE 62.2, filtration may further help control the quality of the air that comes in.

Installation and commissioning are other things we need to consider when thinking of the HVAC equipment systemically. The wiring needs to be correct, and we need to verify that the system is achieving the proper airflow in the first place. Static pressure is another factor that we must consider during commissioning, as an abnormal static pressure could indicate a filter that doesn’t fit or is too restrictive.

It’s best to start by looking at the appliance and widening your scope from there until you know about the system as a whole.

Eric and Bryan also discuss:

  • Is the house a duct system?
  • Oversizing equipment
  • Stack effect
  • Loose vs. tight houses
  • Filtration best practices
  • Radiant heat transfer
  • Ductwork best practices
  • Data trends of cause and effect


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