A study of pressure losses in residential air distribution systems

Publication Type

Conference Proceedings



An experimental study was conducted to evaluate the pressure drop characteristics of residential duct system components that are either not available or not thoroughly (sometimes incorrectly) described in existing duct design literature. The tests were designed to imitate cases normally found in typical residential and light commercial installations. The study included three different sizes of flexible ducts, under different compression configurations, splitter boxes, supply boots, and a fresh air intake hood. The experimental tests conformed to ASHRAE Standard 120P — Methods of Testing to Determine Flow Resistance of HVAC Air Ducts and Fittings. The flexible duct study covered compressibility and bending effects on the total pressure drop, and the results showed that the available published references tend to underestimate the effects of compression in flexible ducts that can increase pressure drops by up to a factor of nine. The supply boots were tested under different configurations including a setup where a flexible duct elbow connection was considered as an integral part of the supply boot. The supply boots results showed that diffusers can increase the pressure drop by up to a factor of two in exit fittings, and the installation configuration can increase the pressure drop by up to a factor of five. The results showed that it is crucial for designers and contractors to be aware of the compressibility effects of the flexible duct, and the installation of supply boots and diffusers.


Proceedings of the ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Pacific Grove, CA



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