Dirty air conditioners: Energy implications of coil fouling

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Residential air conditioning is responsible for a substantial amount of peak electrical demand and energy consumption throughout most of the United States. Coil fouling, the deposition of indoor dusts and other particulate matter on evaporator heat exchangers, increases system pressure drop and, correspondingly, decreases system air flow and air conditioner performance. In this paper, we apply experimental and simulation results describing particle deposition on evaporator coils as well as research about indoor particle and dust concentrations to determine coil fouling rates. The results suggest that typical coils foul enough to double evaporator pressure drop in about 7.5 years, much sooner ... continued below

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Siegel, Jeffrey; Walker, Iain & Sherman, Max March 1, 2002.

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Residential air conditioning is responsible for a substantial amount of peak electrical demand and energy consumption throughout most of the United States. Coil fouling, the deposition of indoor dusts and other particulate matter on evaporator heat exchangers, increases system pressure drop and, correspondingly, decreases system air flow and air conditioner performance. In this paper, we apply experimental and simulation results describing particle deposition on evaporator coils as well as research about indoor particle and dust concentrations to determine coil fouling rates. The results suggest that typical coils foul enough to double evaporator pressure drop in about 7.5 years, much sooner than the expected 15-30 year life time for an evaporator coil. The most important parameters in determining coil fouling times are the efficiency of the filter and indoor particle concentrations, although filter bypass and duct and coil design are important as well. The reduced air flows that result from coil fouling cause typical efficiency and capacity degradations of less than 5%, however they can be much greater for marginal systems or extreme conditions. These energy issues, as well as possible indoor air quality issues resulting from fouling by biological aerosols, suggest that regular coil cleaning to ameliorate low flow and the elimination of filter bypass should be an important part of residential air conditioning commissioning and maintenance practices.

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OSTI as DE00805122

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  • ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Pacific Grove, CA (US), 08/18/2002--08/23/2002

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  • Report No.: LBNL--49757
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 805122
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc736686

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • March 1, 2002

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  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • April 4, 2016, 12:41 p.m.

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Siegel, Jeffrey; Walker, Iain & Sherman, Max. Dirty air conditioners: Energy implications of coil fouling, article, March 1, 2002; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc736686/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.