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Green Building Blog

Green Building Tip: Test Your HVAC System

Before moving into a new house, ask your contractor to test the furnace, air conditioner, and ventilation system for proper performance

Trust but verify. The air flow of every register in a house should be tested to be sure that the forced-air system is delivering the design air flow to each room. The photo shows a technician checking the air flow of a ceiling register with a flow hood.
Image Credit: The Building Doctors

Even well-designed mechanical systems can become sources of indoor air quality problems (or can waste energy) if they are incorrectly installed, so it’s important to make sure heating and cooling systems work as designed before the house is occupied. It’s critical to test the systems (including duct work) before anyone moves into the house. That’s almost always cheaper than dealing with the equipment after problems become obvious.

This testing — sometimes called “commissioning” — should follow the “TAB” approach: test, adjust, balance.

For homes with a forced-air system, it’s essential to check:

  • Air flow at each register
  • Overall duct system tightness
  • Air flow over the coil
  • Refrigerant charge

It’s also essential to check the combustion efficiency of the furnace or boiler burner; to check exhaust fan air flow; and to check ventilation system air flow.

—_This GREEN BUILDING TIP is from our Strategy Generator. Build a tip sheet
for your green building or remodeling project under the Strategies & Details tab._

Green Points

LEED for Homes: 3 points for minimizing distribution losses in ducts (EA 5).

NGBS/ICC-700: 3 points for verifying performance of HVAC equipment (704.5.3).



Green Building Encyclopedia:

Forced Air

Air Conditioning

Heat Distribution


Duct Leakage Testing

Heating a Tight, Well-Insulated House

How Heat Moves Through Homes

It’s the Little Things

Q&A Forum:

HVAC for Tight Envelope Houses


  1. Geothermal Heat Pump | | #1

    Geothermal Heat Pump
    Geothermal Heat Pumps can last for a long time because the underground piping often has warranties from 25-50 years and the heat pumps can last around 20 years. Also the system requires little maintenance.

  2. user-1139605 | | #2

    Re-Test Your HVAC System
    HVAC commissioning is very important phase, and your above post gives a very good information about testing HVAC.
    In my view to check and verify air leakage is important as it will ensure proper cooling,less noise and every thing within designed limits.

    Hoping to be with your posts,learning from you in future also.

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