Does duct size really matter when using ECM2 motor?

Page 1 of 2  
Recently replaced my forced air oil furnace with a 5 ton dual speed WaterFurnace Envision. My HVAC guy told me the not to worry about my ducting as the ECM motor will overcome the lack of duct size. I mainly concerned about my return air vents.
Here are some details;
- 2 story house - 2800 sq/ft - Near Toronto Ontario - Two supply ducts 12"x8" and 12"x7" - Two return duct 14"x6" and 12"x8" - 18 heat registers feed by 5" dia ducts - 4 return air vents 15"x7" (2 up stairs, 2 downstairs) - Design heat loss of 63,312 btu/h - Heat gain 30,000 btu/h - Furnace blower settings - 1st stage CFM00, 2nd stage CFM50
Quite honesty everything seems to be working fine...... slight noise from downstairs return vents, however we're warm. Defiantly much long run times over oil.
I've read many times the CFM should be 400 per ton (cooling?)..... I'm nowhere close. So I having trouble sleeping at night not know if I my ducting is incorrect or I shouldn't worry as the ECM motor overcomes it by pushing more air. Also adding to my confusing is the supply duct on the furnace measures only 14"x14".
I'd very much appreciate your thoughts and advice, Thanks
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It doesn't matter eh... ? you better get a new HVAC technician!

12 x 8 & 12 x 7 with a plenum that's 14 x 14... for a 5 ton unit... Oh MY.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Why? His tech is looking to replace that ECM motor down the road.

--
Make love, not war -- but be prepared
for both.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The warranty rreplacement from WFI isn't that great of a $$
--
Bob Pietrangelo
snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes you can increase air flow by increasing motor size but you also increasing air friction the air friction also generate heat so you also increasing load on AC system it is needles to say that your electric bill goes up too You can not get something for nothing From Dido
I mainly

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Your HVAC guy is full of shit.

nowhere near the correct sizes for proper airflow

working fine??? nope, just working...sort of

400 CFM per ton is a good average, but better still is a proper Manual J and Manual D calculation to correctly size the system and the ductwork. From what you have posted, you need to have your duct system ripped out, and correctly sized/designed and re-installed.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Double A-Ron" wrote:

your hvac guy is a clueless brain dead moron for giving you such false advice.

airflow is dependent upon the restrictions imposed by friction losses of the duct system and obstructions such as filters and air conditioning coils. also, the grills themselves impose restrictions to the air flow.
to achieve the nominal 400 cfm per ton, its obvious you cant change the coil, although you can change air filtration and ducting. but why sacrifice air filtration because your hvac tech is brain dead?
the solution is to design the duct system (both supply and return) so that it imposes a very nominal total static pressure on the fan motor.
now a variable speed blower will help overcome some of these restrictions, but it will not correct a faulty design. and it will cost you more money in operational costs than if the duct system was designed correctly from the git-go.
my ductulator says that if i want to move 1950 cfm at .08" wc, my round duct size must be 19" OR a 20 x 16 duct. OR two 15" round ducts.
why .08" wc? well, the maximum your fan will deliver is in the .5-.7 range. Now add in a wet coil factor of .35 to .45, throw in a dirty filter or whatever, then the grills, and whats usually left is a number under .1 for the duct system. there are different ductulators for metal or flex ducts. A smart ccokie will design around the .08 figure and be very very close 99.9% of the time.
my suggestion is to find somebody who knows how to properly size air distribution systems.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dam it! I was afraid to hear that! Thanks for your time and suggestion.....
When it was suggested "someone who knows distribution systems" is this referring to another HVAC technician or an Engineer? What do I look for in the Yellow pages?
Was that one 20 x 16 duct for supply and another 20 x 16 for return?
I'd prefer to have the duct system designed and do the work myself as I have full access to duct work...... and no money.
I'm still puzzled why the furnace has only a 14"x14" supply duct; however it suggested I'll need a 20" x 16"?
Please bare with me, I'm really trying to understand how all this works so I won't make that same mistake twice.
Thanks again for your suggestions.
snipped-for-privacy@gonefishin.net wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Double A-Ron" wrote:

forget the yellow pages....see below

yup. total airflow in the supply typically = total airflow in the return. sometimes the return can be decreased by 10% if there is that much fresh air being brought in thru a dedicated duct from the great outdoors. 20% or more on commercial systems.

no problem. all you need to do is obtain a copy of ACCA Manual D Residential Duct Systems. Read it until you comprehend what it is saying, and then proceed. remember, this is not rocket science. anybody that can read & comprehend english can do this work. errrr well most everybody.....
http://cgi.ebay.com/Residential-Duct-Systems-Manual-D-BOOK-ACCA-ANSI_W0QQitemZ270080735569QQihZ017QQcategoryZ2228QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

nobody can see your system except you. I have no idea what you need. However, if I want to move 1950 cfm at .08" w.c., I will need a 16x20 duct to do so. Actually a 15x20, but I like even numbers.
why is it 14 x 14? which is cheaper to build? who got to do the original install? the lowest bidder. now you know.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks Gone Fishing.... you really gave me hope! I'll order manual D today.
You can see what I mean about the 14"x14" supply duct in the Waterfurnace manual, page 13, here's a direct link:
http://www.waterfurnace.com/Envision/pdf/SP1585.pdf
-    horizontal model 060-070 -    discharge connection "M" - 13.6" -    discharge connection "N" - 13.2"
FYI, here's a very user-friendly Design Heat Loss program that does duct sizing too;
http://www.hvaccomputer.com
In the mean time I'd like to increase my 4 air return vents by removing some drywall to open up the holes. Can you kindly suggest the grill sizes required keeping in mind I'll increase the actual return ducting in the near future.
Thanks again for your help, I'd really like to but ya some beers.
snipped-for-privacy@gonefishin.net wrote:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Residential-Duct-Systems-Manual-D-BOOK-ACCA-ANSI_W0QQitemZ270080735569QQihZ017QQcategoryZ2228QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Double A-Ron" wrote:

what you're looking at on that page is the discharge opening of the blower. the airhandler is rated at 5-6 tons, so consequentially, yes, it will have a discharge of that size, based soley on the blower wheel. Notice the return air opening size? Ideally your supply duct would be somewhat similiar, based on the total cfm YOUR system is supposed to be delivering. If you maintain only the 14x14 supply duct, the static pressure inside will be such that it limits the ability of the blower to deliver the correct airflow, plus it will cost you $$ in operational costs.
My ductulator says at 1950 cfm a 14x14 duct by itself will impose a .2" w.c. static pressure on the blower. Now factor in all the other restrictions like filter, coil, & too small return ducting. You ARE NOT getting the engineered airflow the manufacturer of your equipment recommends. It cannot perform to factory specs.

I learned correct duct sizing long before there were computer programs. Computer programs exist so people dont have to learn the basics. Any moron can use a program to plug in numbers. Computer programs that are based on ACCA Manual J & D are approved by city building departments. I would strongly question software that wasnt approved.
You dont need software if you can read and comprehend ACCA Manual D.
FWIW, the ONLY software I would recommend is http://www.wrightsoft.com/overview/unitedstates/default.asp?country=US

yes. install 4 each 14x20 bar type commercial grade return grills. From these run 4 12" dia ducts back to the air handler. The 14" is width, they will fit inbetween the 16" on center wall studs. The 20" is the vertical height. The 14x20 bar type grill will have the bars running horizontally, parallel with the floor.

screw the beers, I drink Drambuie straight up.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

IF all the parameters are set up correctly.... I've found many quotes that didn't have the numbers right...
The old rule of thumb for residential has always worked. Cheap customer .1" Customer who desires quiet, comfort and quality .08"
However, on a two stage system such as Waterfurnace, if you use too large a duct you better make sure your spread and throws on your registers are matched also for the lower CFM if wall or ceiling mounted. Also, the larger duct should be insulated or the end of the line will have cooler air coming out. I like to keep my velocities up a little on two stage units which allow me to use registers to match the low and high limits of the design. I have gone as high as .13" depending on the size of the low stage for AC verses the high side heat output.
Now, in defense of the contractor, Waterfurnace and everyone else who is a supplier has told me the exact same thing, "Don't worry about the duct size, the ECM motor will overcome the resistance." I've heard this at least a dozen times from Trane, American Standard, FHP, ClimateMaster, WaterFurnace, Rheem, Rudd and ComfortAir. They are right up to .15" but after that you will definitely have problems.
My biggest concern for this customer is the cfm over the resistant heaters. I'm sure if a performance/cfm check was done you would find your lacking and getting very close to cycling on overloads. And, if they insulated the duct near those heaters you may have a fire just around the corner. I'm not trying to scare you, just telling you the truth. I never put insulated duct within 2 feet of electric resistant heaters unless I make a shield on the inside that has 1" clearance from the insulation. Just this week we put two Waterfurnaces in. The outlet was 13.5 x 13.5 We had a duct 14" square by two feet lining the actual insulated duct of 18 x 18. The radiant heat will not be allowed to start a fire this way. Even insulating the outside has potential problems. I have seen a fan fall and catch insulation on fire and burn out a canvas connector.
You need a whole house Manual J and Manual D performed. Let a competent dealer do this for you. Tell him your coming back here to make sure his work is right.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I think you've misplaced your decimal points.

--
Mankind has been on a bad trip for a
long time now.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"GoUP" wrote:

at what cost to the end user? Note that these companies are not paying the utility bill.
their perspective is ....screw the idea of proper design, lets let an ecm motor overcome these shortcomings.....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Not to mention reported ECM failures at TESPs of 1" or so.
On Mon, 22 Jan 2007 00:33:17 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@gonefishin.net wrote:

--
Mankind has been on a bad trip for a
long time now.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

a
size,
WaterFurnace,
Not to mention, they love selling parts out of warranty parameters.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's not any rule of thumb I've ever heard of.
Please explain.
-zero
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hi Rich

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.