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Flow hoods are used to measure supply and return grille airflows in HVAC systems. Depending on hood accuracy, these measurements can be used to determine if individual rooms receive adequate airflow for heating and cooling, to determine flow imbalances between different building spaces, to estimate total air handler flow and supply/return imbalances, and to assess duct air leakage.
Accuracy requirements are based on the flowhood application. A poorly calibrated flow hood and sensitivity to grill flow variances, result in an over or underestimation of flow by 25-35%. Also, one must consider original design specifications of the HVAC system and if any room changes have been made. A great original duct design and a new HVAC system originally did everything it was intended to do, however, poor HVAC maintenance, room modifications without design re-work, and changes in source conditions, will result in building related issues. Flowhoods are useful and are sometimes limited to the application such as duct breakage, room comfort, and duct leakage. The change in airflow pattern between calibration and application creates large flow measurement errors.
Commentary regarding flow hood accuracy issues are discussed in ASHRAE Standard 111 (ASHRAE 1988. Current testing procedures do not account for approach errors and that most diffuser measurements are not reliable. They recommend a pitot tube traverse to field calibrate the flow to account for these problems. The ideal situation would be to have laboratory calibration account for actual field conditions. CIH Equipment’s flowhood laboratory calibration station is configured to mimic actual field conditions with a supply and a return side and using pitot tube traverse measurements.
An airflow capture hood or balometer is a device used for measuring the volume of air coming out of grilles and diffusers in HVAC systems. “Balometer” is actually a term coined by Alnor in 1983 that has become synonymous with “airflow capture hood” today.
It is recommended that your LoFlo Balometer® Capture Hood be sent once a year for a calibration check. When shipping the LoFlo Balometer® Capture Hood for calibration, pack it carefully, and follow the Instructions for Return in your manual.