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Water Balancing of HVAC Systems

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What Is a Water Balance?

A Test and Balance (T&B) is completed on an HVAC system to ensure the system is installed correctly and operating per the mechanical engineer’s design. In some mechanical designs, the unit will cool and/or heat the air through water coils. One reason water coils are used in a design is because they heat and/or cool the space more efficiently. Many times coils may have a higher upfront cost, but they provide a greater long-term energy savings. As air passes over the coils, the coil either absorbs the heat or extracts the heat to cool or heat the air. A water balance is performed to ensure the correct flow of water, measured in gallons per minute (GPM), is passing through the coils.

Why Is a Water Balance Important?

A proper water balance should be completed on HVAC equipment for many reasons. A primary reason is to prevent any potential comfort issues. If a chilled water coil does not have the correct flow, the coils will not absorb the heat from the air passing over them. Alternately, if a hot water coil does not have the correct flow, the coil will not extract enough heat the air. This can cause comfort issues in a space.

These systems are designed to have a certain flow through the unit, and if the flow is not correct, this can also cause damage to the equipment. To avoid or investigate these issues, a proper water balance should be completed by a certified firm. An NEBB-Certified firm, like Melink, has the experience to perform a water balance, ensuring your systems are operating as designed.

How Does a Melink Technician Perform Water Balancing?

Inspection of the Equipment

Using the latest set of mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) plans and the pump curve, the technician will:

  1. Verify the equipment is installed per design.
  2. Verify the equipment is operational.
    — All pumps should be operating and in a solid state (meaning the balance scenario does not change during the balance).
  3. Verify the controls are complete.
    — Permanent wiring should be complete.
  4. Verify the coils are clean.
    — Dirty coils can prevent the system from properly heating or cooling the air.
  5. Obtain unit operating data.

Balancing the Equipment

This procedure will change based on the type of balancing valve.

  1. Place the unit into full heating or cooling.
  2. Purge sediment from the unit.
  3. Using the calibrated equipment, measure the water flow (GPM).
  4. Compare the measured flow with the design flow.

Report

A final report will be distributed by Melink, containing design data, equipment data, test data, and photos.

Our experienced technicians can assist with your water balance needs. Contact us to get started.

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