STP904

    Parameters Affecting Air Infiltration and Airtightness in Thirty-One East Tennessee Homes

    Published: Jan 1986


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    Abstract

    A major pathway for loss of conditioned air in east Tennessee homes with externally located heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems is leakage in the ductwork. The effect on infiltration rates, as measured by Freon-12 tracer gas dilution, becomes marked if the central duct fan is operating; duct-fan on and duct-fan off measurements of the rate of air exchange gave mean values of 0.78 and 0.44 h−1, respectively, in a total of 31 homes. Specific leakage areas measured by the blower-door, pressurization-depressurization technique are affected to a lesser extent by inclusion of the ductwork volume within the total volume of the house that is being pressurized. A subset of seven of the study homes were measured using this technique; the average increment in the specific leakage area was about 15%. Leaking ductwork in attached garages also causes degradation of the indoor air quality by pulling in pollutants such as gasoline fumes from automobiles and distributing them throughout the house. In dealing with homes that have central HVAC systems, weatherization and energy conservation programs should be cognizant of the seriousness of air and energy losses caused by leaking ductwork as well as possible degradation of the indoor air quality.

    Keywords:

    ductwork leakage, central duct fan, air infiltration, air exchange rate, Freon-12 tracer, blower door, specific leakage area


    Author Information:

    Gammage, RB
    Manager, Occupational Health Research Program, and Leader, Measurement Applications Group, Health and Safety Research Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

    Hawthorne, AR
    Manager, Occupational Health Research Program, and Leader, Measurement Applications Group, Health and Safety Research Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

    White, DA
    Graduate student, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN


    Paper ID: STP19641S

    Committee/Subcommittee: E06.41

    DOI: 10.1520/STP19641S


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