Test, Adjust & Balance FAQs
It largely depends on the size and complexity of your HVAC system. Approximate timing: quick serve restaurant is one-two days; typical dinner house is two-four days; big box retail is five days; and a kitchen hood balance is one-two days.
Pricing depends on the program, site type, flexibility and scope of services.
The TAB service can be tailored to fit each building owner’s particular needs. It can range from a full TAB of every HVAC system to a TAB of only a particular piece of equipment or investigation of a specific problem area of the building.
The entire U.S., Caribbean and Canada.
In general, the more advance notice that is provided, the better the planning and coordination of resources, which results in a smoother and more cost-effective project. Lead time can also depend on the program, site type, flexibility and scope of services. Four weeks or more in advance of the perform date is average. Special situations requiring quick response usually can be accommodated.
We provide re-inspection services to verify that the contractors corrected any deficiencies found during the original test and balance. We perform surveys and provide recommendations on existing buildings being considered for a remodel or an upgrade of equipment. We also perform design reviews to reduce construction and operation costs and improve store comfort. If you are attempting LEED certification, our team can help with that as well.
The test and balance can be performed at any time, but the best opportunity is near the end of construction. This would be after all HVAC systems have been installed and started but before turnover to operations. During this time period, the TAB firm may uncover deficiencies that can still be corrected by the contractors before they leave the site and before the deficiencies create problems for your operations staff. Melink typically schedules a TAB one to two weeks prior to a facility’s opening.
The building should also be rebalanced in whole or in part whenever the building is remodeled, when any HVAC equipment is replaced or modified, and if any air balance-related issues are observed.
To ensure that the TAB can be performed efficiently and completely, it is ideal to have mechanical, electrical and controls contractors available to assist with system deficiencies or issues that may arise. Someone who can provide safe and clear access to the roof and spaces throughout the building is recommended as well.
The test and balance firm you choose should be certified by a national organization – such as the National Environmental Balancing Bureau (NEBB) – to ensure it adheres to accepted and approved standards. The firm should also be independent (meaning the firm did not install the HVAC systems) to ensure it provides an objective inspection and follow-up report.
Understanding Test, Adjust & Balance
Yes, any HVAC system can and should be balanced to ensure proper operation, performance and energy efficiency.
A proper air balance will prevent many common issues and complaints that a facility manager faces, such as:
– high humidity
– sweating diffusers
– exterior doors that are hard to open
– uncomfortable temperatures
– smoke-capture problems
To correct a system that is over-ventilating, fan speeds are reduced and dampers are set to optimally regulate airflow for design performance with as little static pressure as possible. This reduces load on the motors and the energy required to operate them. An air balance also ensures that systems are not under-ventilating, which can lead to performance, comfort and air-quality issues.
Melink not only air balances your HVAC system, but we also commission it. We review the design, test the equipment, inspect the installation and check the sequence of operation. Basically, we are there to make sure the owner gets the HVAC system specified for the project. Think of us as a direct extension of your construction or facilities department.
HVAC equipment that has not been properly balanced may be working harder or less efficiently than it was intended, which can lead to early failure. ATAB ensures that the equipment is adjusted and operating as intended by the manufacturer and design engineer, helping to achieve or even exceed the expected life.
Existing buildings should be rebalanced every three to five years. However, your facility might need to be rebalanced more frequently if employee and customer complaints arise or if any of the problems listed above occur.
If you’re doing any remodels or replacing HVAC equipment.
Relevant codes: ASHRAE 62.1 recommendation is every three to five years for outdoor air verification
An air balance ensures that airflow is properly distributed throughout the building as designed by the mechanical engineer, which in turns helps achieve the intended temperatures and comfort level of the various spaces. In an unbalanced building, airflows may be too high or too low, making it difficult or even impossible to maintain proper space temperatures and occupant comfort.
If you have a new construction site that we balanced, then a year later you have comfort problems, we can look at that report as a baseline and re-measure the airflows to solve the problems. During the TAB work, we can inspect and report the condition and maintenance of your HVAC equipment, which the facility manager could use to evaluate the effectiveness of current preventative maintenance programs and needed repairs.
Yes, ductwork that is leaking air occurs when it is installed improperly. This is an important issue to fix because it is costing you money by conditioning an area that doesn’t need to be conditioned. And because duct is located above the ceiling, you’re probably losing conditioned air. This is an issue a TAB service would find and report on. Duct leakage can significantly reduce performance and effectiveness of the HVAC system. It can negatively impact occupant comfort and increase energy use and cost. It is common and expected for general HVAC duct systems to have some amount of air leakage. Sealing for complete airtightness is cost prohibitive and unnecessary in most applications. Somewhere around 5 percent leakage could be considered acceptable for most general duct systems. Greater leakage, such as caused by improper connections and sealing, should be addressed prior to performing the air balance.
The most common indicators are:
– sweating diffusers
– exterior doors that are hard to open
– uncomfortable temperatures
For those facilities with commercial kitchens, smoke-capture problems are a sign.
– International Mechanical Code
– ASHRAE 62
– California Title 24
– WELL Building
– Many local jurisdictions throughout the U.S.
HVAC testing and balancing (TAB or air balance) is the process of ensuring that your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is operating properly and delivering the correct air quantities at the air devices inside your building. This involves cycling the equipment on to verify functionality, measuring preliminary airflows, checking fan rotations, adjusting fan speeds, adjusting dampers and measuring final airflows to ensure conformance to design.
What makes Melink TAB different from a local balance company? Why does your service take longer than local providers?
Our national TAB service is not the same as a local or regional firm. We have earned a reputation for professionalism, integrity, thoroughness and service excellence. We take a holistic approach toward HVAC problem solving and do not limit our scope of work to simply measuring and adjusting airflows. We complete a comprehensive inspection of the HVAC systems with an 82+ point checklist; many other TAB firms don’t provide any checklist.
We don’t sub-contract out our work so we have the best grip on quality.
As an independent TAB company, we work directly for the owner. We don’t install, design or manufacture the systems, so we are truly neutral.
Since one subset of the HVAC system can greatly influence the performance of another, all systems within the building should be balanced. This includes, but is not limited to:
– conditioned supply air distribution
– exhaust systems
– make-up air systems
– any hydronic systems (water balance)
If you’ve ever been bothered by uncomfortable drafts of air or experienced room temperatures that are inconsistent with what the thermostat reads, then you’ll quickly understand why a test and balance is necessary. In short, unbalanced air prevents you from feeling comfortable. TAB ensures that your HVAC system is performing correctly and you have a comfortable and energy-efficient building. It can mean the difference between comfortable and uncomfortable customers and employees, and between wasting and saving money on equipment operation. It also contributes to healthy air quality by ensuring the proper amount of fresh air in the building. Lastly, you want a TAB service performed to be sure the HVAC equipment in the design specifications matches what was actually installed. You wouldn’t believe how often we see this mistake.
Once you’ve received your air balance report from Melink, we recommend you take a look at the following sections first:
– Summary page – This is an overview of our onsite visit (what the technician found and who he spoke with).
– Punch list page – This is a consolidated list of deficiencies, indicating who should fix them, whether they have been corrected, and why it’s important to correct them.
– Recommendations page – These items may not be included in the Mechanical, Engineer and Plumbing (MEP) prints, but they are suggestions based on our experience with well-operating HVAC systems.
– Inspection pages (rooftop, above ceiling and below ceiling) – These show where the deficiencies are located on the building layout, indicated by an “X.” There is also an associated photo with each deficiency.
Our team is always willing to provide live training to teach you how to read your air balance report. If you are interested, please fill out a “contact us” form indicating you’d like someone to reach out to you for training.
– There are three core ways to use your most recent balance report:
– Identify system deficiencies that were caught during the TAB work.
– As a future reference for the owner and maintenance staff of the building’s HVAC equipment, balanced settings, and operating conditions.
– As an aid to evaluate the design and installation of the HVAC systems under actual operating conditions.
Consult with your mechanical engineer to make any necessary changes to the HVAC design, such as additional HVAC equipment, changes to capacity, ductwork modification, air diffuser relocation and airflow changes.
Assess the current condition and performance of your existing HVAC equipment to determine whether any repairs or replacements should be performed during the remodel. During construction, protect the HVAC equipment from dust and debris, which could contaminate air handling equipment, coils, fans and ductwork.
After construction, remember to have your contractor start the HVAC equipment and clean or replace the air filters. Then contact your TAB firm to rebalance the building as needed.
It is a record of the final balanced operating conditions and settings of the HVAC system.
The quality of these reports varies from contractor to contractor. You may be given a hand-written note or a detailed Excel-based document, depending on who performs the work. The goal is to obtain a report that will help you make better decisions on managing HVAC systems, even from a remote location. Our customers appreciate our reports for being the most detailed and informative in the industry.