Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system installation can be a lengthy activity with multiple complications and complexities. The final steps before HVAC installation is complete include start-up, testing and balancing and commissioning. Each commissioning step ensures the system operates as designed and provides proper documentation through a commissioning checklist.
The individual pieces of HVAC equipment usually come with a start-up checklist from the manufacturer. Once the equipment is installed, a check of the electrical power wiring, breaker box connections, conduit and local shut-off switch should be performed by the technician. With these items complete, the electrical power is applied to the system. Certain verifications on the checklists could include: fan rotation direction, refrigerant levels and amp draws. Each item on the checklist should be compared to the manufacturer's recommended tolerances.
Testing and Balancing
After the equipment has been started and is operating within recommended ranges, the system must be balanced or fine-tuned to the particular system configuration. This will ensure proper operation. The testing and balancing checklists are usually developed by the installation company and include adjustments on the equipment. Technicians measure air and water flow and may adjust fan blades, change belts or adjust return diffusers. Each conditioned room will be monitored on the checklist for temperature and air flow to ensure proper design.
Commissioning and Documentation
HVAC system commissioning has many definitions. The extent of commissioning depends on the installation. Knowledgeable owners can request commissioning checklists from the installers and follow behind the installation crew checking the quality of work. More complex system installations may require a third party or commissioning agent to perform the checklist procedures. Once commissioning is complete and the auditor is satisfied with the work performed, proper documentation protects the owner and the installer from litigation arising from poor performance.
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