Science Inventory

INFLUENCE OF RESIDENTIAL HVAC DUTY CYCLE ON INDOOR AIR QUALITY

Citation:

Thornburg, J., C. Rodes, P. A. Lawless, C. Stevens, AND R W. Williams. INFLUENCE OF RESIDENTIAL HVAC DUTY CYCLE ON INDOOR AIR QUALITY. Presented at 2003 AWMA Indoor Air Quality PM Meeting, Research Triangle Park, NC, July 21, 2003.

Impact/Purpose:

The primary study objectives are:

1.To quantify personal exposures and indoor air concentrations for PM/gases for potentially sensitive individuals (cross sectional, inter- and intrapersonal).

2.To describe (magnitude and variability) the relationships between personal exposure, and indoor, outdoor and ambient air concentrations for PM/gases for different sensitive cohorts. These cohorts represent subjects of opportunity and relationships established will not be used to extrapolate to the general population.

3.To examine the inter- and intrapersonal variability in the relationship between personal exposures, and indoor, outdoor, and ambient air concentrations for PM/gases for sensitive individuals.

4.To identify and model the factors that contribute to the inter- and intrapersonal variability in the relationships between personal exposures and indoor, outdoor, and ambient air concentrations for PM/gases.

5.To determine the contribution of ambient concentrations to indoor air/personal exposures for PM/gases.

6.To examine the effects of air shed (location, season), population demographics, and residential setting (apartment vs stand-alone homes) on the relationship between personal exposure and indoor, outdoor, and ambient air concentrations for PM/gases.

Description:

Measurements of duty cycle, the fraction of time the heating and cooling (HVAC) system was operating, were made in homes during the spring season of the RTP Particulate Matter Panel Study and the Tampa Asthmatic Children's Study. A temperature sensor/logger placed on an outlet vent monitored changes in temperature as the HVAC system cooled or heated the residence. Temperature data were compiled into a database and duty cycles were assessed from temperature step changes. Duty cycle measurements provided insight into the relationship between 24-hr integrated air exchange rate and indoor particulate matter (PM) concentrations as well as real-time indoor-outdoor PM ratios.

Statistically significant relationships between duty cycle-ambient temperature and duty cycle-air exchange rate were observed. Noticeable increases in duty cycle were noted in both studies as the mean ambient temperature increased or decreased around 65 degrees F. Differences in personal comfort preferences, building characteristics, and HVAC system operational efficiency contributed to the data variability. These same factors contributed to variability in the relationship between duty cycle and air exchange rate. HVAC heating mode duty cycle was positively correlated with the air exchange rate due to the positive temperature differential between inside and outdoors; whereas a negative temperature differential between inside and outdoors resulting from HVAC operation in cooling mode yielded a negative correlation with air exchange rate.

The relationship between duty cycle and 24-hour integrated PM indoor-outdoor ratio was confounded by the presence of strong indoor sources when the HVAC system was not operating and by the brief intervals (usually 10 minutes) of HVAC system operation. Individual cases when strong indoor sources were not present showed a definite correlation between duty cycle and integrated PM2.5 indoor/outdoor ratio (R2 = 0.36, p <0.01). Real-time indoor-outdoor PM data collected for a participant that operated their HVAC system for 30-minute intervals showed a maximum 90% reduction in indoor PM concentration at a rate greater than expected for deposition losses alone. The increased PM loss rate was attributed to the HVAC system. The usefulness of the duty cycle data in interpreting PM indoor-outdoor ratios would be improved if the HVAC system (filter efficiency, leaks) and building characteristics (penetration factor) were characterized in detail.

This work has been partially funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under contract 68-D-99-012 to the Research Triangle Institute. It has been subjected to Agency review and approved for publication.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Product Published Date: 07/21/2003
Record Last Revised: 06/21/2006
Record ID: 62795

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY

HUMAN EXPOSURE AND ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES DIVISION

EXPOSURE MEASUREMENTS & ANALYSIS BRANCH