Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

measuring air flow

zacmobile Member Posts: 211
Recently I have been installing the odd HRV and other make-up air devices to add to my hydronics repertoire and I've taken a government sanctioned ventilation course so I am now certified for this kind of work however I am having trouble measuring airflow. I just got a Dwyyer magnahelic gauge and a pitot tube and yesterday I used it on a kitchen range hood to try it out but it barely flickers on the scale. The hood is definitely moving some air, it is rated for 450CFM and it's blowing over some bushes about 15 feet away from the discharge but by my calculations: .02" static pressure (that's kind of a guess because the needle hardly moves much at all) on the chart that comes with the pitot tube says 600 feet per minute velocity X .20 sq ft. for 6" round duct area gives me 120CFM, but that can't be right can it? I know i'm not going to get 450CFM from a 6" duct but I was expecting more than that. The gauge I have is a Dwyer 2001D with a range of 0-1" water column, with a 160-12 pitot tube.


  • BillW
    BillW Member Posts: 198

    It sounds like you are doing the test correctly.  For my purposes I used an anemometer type instrument.  Contact the manufacturer technical support, or post the question on the "Wall".  Somebody who has more experience with magnahelics could be out there.  Sorry I couldn't give a better answer.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    edited September 2011

    The area of 6" round pipe is 28.26 sq. inches.

    That makes 2.35 sq ft.

    600FPM x 2.35 sq ft = 1410 CFM

    If your gauge barely moved, maybe it was reading 0.01" instead of 0.02? Then...

    300FPM x 2.35 = 710CFM

    I've attached a document that does a good job of explaining the test.
  • njwebdevguy
    njwebdevguy Member Posts: 33
    I would also very much like the answer to this question

    I called the manufacturer on my HRV and they recommended using pitot tubes (one in each duct) and an electronic manometer . But the cost of that setup was a lot higher than I can afford.

    One way Ive heard its done cheaply is with a large trash can liner and a stopwatch, but to do that you need access to both the fans with the duct as part of the circuit. that requires access to the outdoor exhaust of your HRV which in my case is hard to get to without climbing a ladder.
  • njwebdevguy
    njwebdevguy Member Posts: 33
    Multiple speeds

    If your HRV has multiple speeds, be aware that the balancing will only be accurate for the speed its done at.

    If you go to www.hvi.org, somewhere, buried on their site there is a huge PDF file that has the CFM curves for all the major HRV manufacturers models.

    My HRV has a tendency to exhaust more than pull air in at the lowest speed. Not a great deal, but enough to change the direction a smoke candle blows in an open window on the ground floor when its an equal temp indoors and outdoors.

    For obvious reasons I think the measurement is only valid when the temps indoor and oudoors are the same and the measurement is taken at the middle of the habitable space in terms of height. Otherwise, the stack effect may throw everything off.

    Also be aware that the filters have to be clean - if the filers get dirty, (and its always he intake filter that gets the dirt) at some point the intake is going to be reduced proportionately to the amount of dust/dirt on the filter.
This discussion has been closed.