Is there a way to measure the output of a single HVAC vent?

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Hey guys,

I live in Houston and own a two story home. Here's my setup:

A/C Model (2): Armstrong Concept 1200

Heater Model #1: G1N80AT075D12A Armstrong Ultra V Tech 80
Heater Model #2: GHJ075D16 Armstrong Ultra SX80

3.5 Ton Unit Downstairs
3 Ton Unit Upstairs

I've lived here for 8 years and we've always had issues with some rooms being hotter than others, including both of the kids bedrooms (upstairs) and our master bedroom (downstairs). I've asked my HVAC guy to look into balancing the house correctly, but he's always put me off as saying things like "it is balanced, it's just the nature of which rooms are located where in reference to the sun, as well as how far away they are from the supply". I'm not sure I believe him. It seems to me that I should be able to do SOMETHING by adjusting the cheap little dampers inside some of the vents, or at least partially close off some of the rooms that get cooler than other in order to give a little more...

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While industry standards specifying ventilation rates are coming out of the woodwork, a practical standard describing how to measure ventilation airflows that can be applied in the field is hard to find. Let’s take a look how you can determine residential and commercial exhaust fan airflow in the field.

Fans at Either End of the Duct

This may be obvious, but it is a good place to begin this discussion. Although in-line exhaust fans exist, most exhaust fans are found at either the start of a duct or at the end of a duct. This is a defining characteristic of some exhaust fans that affects the way we may determine fan airflow as compared to a forced air system where fans are located between the supply and return ducts.

The Dangerous Assumption

Most standards are written to persuade designers to specify the needed airflow or air change rates. These standards require a calculation, and a specification requiring that the fan should do the job. With these...

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In recent months some articles have appeared in various publications and blog sites that have raised significant issues regarding vent-free gas space heating products and their safety relative to indoor air quality in consumers’ homes. The following is offered as objective, verifiable information and insights regarding these very popular products used by millions of consumers to add comfort, attractive space heat, and warmth during power outages to their homes.

Vent-free gas heating products are available in many designs for varied applications, personal tastes, and price points (or retails costs). When installed they are fixed (not portable) installations fueled by either natural or propane gas, determined by the primary heating fuel of the home. They are available in many heat outputs (6,000-40,000 Btu/hr) and are used as supplemental heat in conjunction with the primary heat source of the home, i.e., the central heating system/furnace. Consumers now have the choice of...

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UPDATED on October 2, 2014 with more information on duct system design.

Many different appliances can be used to heat a house, including boilers, water heaters, heat pumps, and wood stoves. However, most homes in the U.S. are heated by a forced-air furnace.

These devices are connected to ducts that deliver heated air to registers throughout the house. Different types of furnaces are manufactured to burn a variety of fuels, including natural gas, propane, oil, and firewood. The most common furnace fuel in the U.S. is natural gas.

In Europe, where furnaces are almost unheard of, most homes are heated by a boiler that distributes heat through hot-water pipes. Unlike Europeans, however, most Americans insist on central air conditioning in their homes. It’s easier to provide whole-house air-conditioning in a home with a duct system. Once you have a duct system for cooling, it’s cheaper to install a furnace for winter heating than to install a boiler with a separate...

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