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Testo discuss parameters for the right ambient conditions

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According to Testo , a person’s well-being depends on the ambient conditions to which he/she is exposed. Temperature, humidity, air flow velocity and CO2 content in the air must be optimally adjusted to each other for right ambient conditions. This requires measurement of the parameters and regulation of the air conditioning and ventilation systems.

Large-scale air conditioning systems exist in hotels, office blocks and industrial buildings, and controlled ventilation is important in private houses. To achieve this, air conditioning systems need to be perfectly adjusted, as less exchange of air means a lack of well-being, whereas an excessive air exchange rate wastes energy.

The following parameters are crucial for the right ambient conditions:

  • Air flow velocity
  • Differential pressure between rooms and pressure drop at the filter
  • Air humidity
  • Air temperature and the CO2 content

In principle, any measurement parameter can be recorded using individual measuring instruments. Handy multi-function measuring instruments with plug-in probes are easy to handle. Whichever the case, it is important how measurements are made and there are suitable measurement-sites for every measurement parameter.

The air exchange rate is a deciding factor in air conditioning systems. This is calculated from the volume flow and the room size. In order to determine it, the air flow must be determined as a measurement parameter, and optimally set through the flow flaps.

In air conditioning technology, thermal or vane probes are suitable for measuring flow velocity. Thermal probes are suitable for temperatures up to 70°C and lower flow velocities. Vane probes provide optimum results at velocities of up to 40m per second. At high temperatures and flow velocities, or when particles are present in the flow, Pitot tubes are the appropriate measurement principle. In order to achieve reproducible results on inflow or outflow vents, a measurement with a volume flow funnel and a suitable vane measuring instrument are used. These records the entire volume flow, without the need for the measurer to carry out a conversion calculation based on the flow velocity and the area of the duct.

Air conditioning systems are equipped with filters which prevent dirt from the outside air entering the room air. Dust collects in these filters and periodic checks are needed to establish whether the filter is functional or needs to be replaced. This is done by measuring the pressure in front of and behind the filter, the result being the so-called differential pressure Δp. If the value measured is above the target value, the filter is blocked and must be replaced.

The regulation of relative humidity is important anywhere, where humans or humidity-sensitive materials are in a room. Low air humidity manifests itself in humans in the form of irritation to the respiratory tract or voice and causes brittleness and cracking in materials. High humidity and partially cool surfaces can lead to the formation of condensation or mould growth. In air conditioning systems, it is important to determine the humidity entering a room. This takes place in a duct humidity measurement. For this purpose also suitable handy test instruments for monitoring air humidity in ducts are available.

In temperature measurement, the measurement task determines the correct probe type, which must be properly handled. Air temperatures in the ambient air (air flowing into the air conditioning system from outside), the inflow air (air flowing from the air conditioning system into the room, the outflow air (air flowing out of the air conditioned room) and exhaust air (air flowing from the air conditioning system to the outside) are relevant for the optimum adjustment of an air conditioning system. In addition to this, the temperature in front of and behind a heat exchanger should be measured in order to check its efficiency.

Easily operable, portable measuring instruments are available for fast temperature measurement. Instruments which simultaneously measure air temperature and surface temperature by infrared are suitable. These allow the surface temperature of a radiator, an air vent or a window to be compared to the air temperature in the room.

Special thermometers can be used for U-value determination, in order to find out how much heat a building is losing to the outside through the walls and windows. For this purpose, the room temperature, the outside temperature and the surface temperature on the inside of the building are measured and recorded over a time period.

In spite of a suitable room temperature and the correct humidity in the room, a human being can still suffer from draughts. For this reason, turbulence measurements are often carried out in offices or other rooms in which people are present. Special comfort probes are available for these purposes.

Air conditioning and ventilation technology are suitable for planning, commissioning, certification, service and maintenance air conditioning and ventilation technology with differing measurement tasks. Energy efficiency, hygiene, operational safety, reliability and comfort requirements need to be fulfilled. Using multi-function measuring instruments and different probes which can be plugged in depending on the task, various parameters such as room temperature, surface temperature, relative humidity, volume flow, absolute pressure, carbon dioxide content and heat transfer coefficient can be recorded.

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