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According to new Government legislation imposed by the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), by the 4th of January 2009, all types of air conditioning systems with capacity of more than 250kW, and by the 4th of January 2011 all systems with capacity of more than 12kW must have had at least one Air Conditioning Inspection (TM44) done on their systems. Air Conditioning Inspection (TM44) is affected by the effective rated capacity of the air conditioning system rather than the size and type of building and therefore it applies to all domestic, commercial and public properties.

1. Why TM44 air conditioning inspections are required?
2. When TM44 air conditioning inspections are required?
3. What does an TM44 air conditioning inspection cover?
4. What can I expect in TM44 air conditioning inspection report?
5. Penalties for not having TM44 air conditioning inspection report.

Purpose of ACI (TM44) Report

TM44 inspection report aims to summarise all the aspects that would improve the efficiency and performance of HVAC equipment by reducing energy costs. It incorporates any no-cost or low-cost initiatives and capital investment that may be required to achieve its objective.
The survey covers a range of actions from inspection of the air conditioning systems to the measuring of performance and power of fans and associated cooling electrical load and comparing the results with industry standards to identify energy savings while maintaining the minimum performance requirements.
During a TM 44 Air Conditioning Inspection, a number of other factors are observed as well, such as the physical condition of the air conditioning systems, the appropriateness of the maintenance regimes, cooling/heating loads, fresh air volumes, air change rates and the control of ancillary units.
TM 44 Air Conditioning Inspections are carried mostly out of visual observations of representative samples of the air conditioning equipment and other visual indicators such as refrigerant sight glasses, pressure, temperature or filter gauges. When any of these indicators are not available, the inspector may have to take some test readings.
The air conditioning Inspection all includes an examination of records of design, construction and previous maintenance where available.
All air conditioning inspectors need to adhere to the appropriate health and safety legislation. This includes pointing out any insufficient maintenance or neglect to building owner/operator’s attention which might be a hazard to the health and safely of the occupants of the building. The TM 44 report also compares the size and appropriateness of the cooling plant against the cooling loads of the building together with the effectiveness of the existing maintenance regime.
All these factors altogether enables the operator to optimise the HVAC operations of the building and reduce energy costs and CO2 emissions. Air conditioning systems that provide no comfort cooling (such as refrigerators) do not need surveying and are not covered in TM44 inspection.
The inspection process: As outlined by the EPBD Regulations, the inspection requires examination of the air conditioning system’s refrigeration equipment and the air movement systems and its controls. It also incorporates the examination of any documentation that may help to understand the systems better or provide information about previous maintenance regimes. The inspector also needs to make approximations whether the system is suitably sized for the cooling loads in the treated places give advice on how further improvements can be made.
The inspection report: The objective of the TM44 report is to ensure that the building owner or air conditioning operator is provided with adequate information that would allow him to have an understanding of the efficiency of the air conditioning systems for which they are responsible. The report also helps them to receive initial advice on how they can make their system more efficient and effective.
Good Practice Inspection and Maintenance of Air Conditioning Equipment: Professional and industry bodies such as CIBSE recommends that all types of comfort cooling systems should be frequently inspected and maintained to the regulation standards as this is considered very important for a number of reasons, such as:

  1. Maintaining healthy and comfortable conditions for the building occupants and public
  2. Minimising the escape of refrigerant gases that may be harmful to the atmosphere or may contribute to global warming
  3. Ensuring safe and efficient operation of the air conditioning equipment which may help to extend its life

What does an TM 44 Report cover?

The ACI (TM44) Report comprises of the following major elements:
1. The general condition of the air conditioning system including the indoor and outdoor units.
2. A survey that investigates any faults or errors in the installation and any refrigerant leakage.
3. Identifying banned refrigerants such as R22.
4.  Identifying any errors with the programmer such as incorrect date and time.
5. Inspection of blockages in filters and grilles.

In an Air Conditioning Inspection, the inspector does not carry out maintenance and nor does he make any adjustment to the system and its controls. Only the above mentioned conditions are identified and it is shown in the inspection report. Then suggestions and recommendations are given to the operator so that the problems can be resolved to improve its efficiency.

Usually 3 units or 10% of the existing units are chosen during inspection. Normally, the inspector tries to identify the ones with the worse problems and conditions as samples although the recommendation might not apply for all the other similar units. The recommendations can range from cheap/cost-free procedures such as the washing or cleaning of filters to expensive solutions like replacing the entire unit.

The assessor usually tries to suggest the most cost effective ad feasible alternatives and the recommendations are written solely to save the operator/building-owner money in maintenance and energy consumption in short and long term.

We usually recommend and encourage the use of renewable energies like wind turbines, Photovoltaics, solar panels and CHP (combined heat and power) units. Recommendations such as sub metering do not affect energy consumption directly but it enables us to monitor the energy consumption for effectively and record the impact of the various improvement factors in the heating and cooling systems.

 In TM44 inspection report we also provide recommendations such changing the building fabric or improving insulation by replacing single-glazing to double-glazing where appropriate together with the use of reflective coating and external shading where applicable. All these improvements help to reduce the cooling load which consequently helps to reduce energy consumption and CO2 in the air conditioning systems.

Some recommendations are based on the how effectively the system can be controlled and for this we usually recommend the use of a better controller benefits from a 7-day ON/OFF timer. If the system is already fitted with a good controller, we review the time and date, temperature and ON/OFF settings and compare it with the actual occupancy periods and designed environmental conditions. If there are inconsistencies, then these issues are noted in the Air Conditioning inspection reports.

Some of the most common issues that we come across on site during an air conditioning inspection are blocked filters and indoor grilles, blocked condensers or damaged fines, poor insulation around the pipes, very high or low temperature settings, heating and cooling operation at the same time, poor installation and maintenance, incorrect time and date, wrong or unsuitable controller, ice in the condensers and internal system failure.

In most of these cases, the installed unit is oversized therefore we perform a swift calculation to establish whether the system is oversized. We use the rule of thumb to size the systems, if the system is oversized and old we recommend replacing with a smaller unit. If the system is new we suggest switching off a couple of units if more than one unit have been installed. As part of the ACI (TM44) inspection, we also check the quantity and type of refrigerant that is present in the system and based on that, we divide the system in 2 categories:

1. F gas refrigerant such as R-410A, R-407C and R-134a. According to EU Regulation 842/2006, applications containing 3kg or more of fluorinated greenhouse gases (such as F-gases) must be checked for leakage at least once a year.

2.  Ozone depletion gases such as R-22 or R-11. Under EC Regulation, these gases are classed as HCFC refrigerants and the Regulation aims to reduce the emission of HCFC. Under effect of EC Regulation 2037/2000, operators must ensure that air conditioning systems with 3kg or more of HCFC refrigerant must be checked for leakage by certified personnel on a regular basis (every year).

We also provide recommendation on systems bigger than 25kW. As outlined by the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000, vapour compression refrigeration systems with an effective rated output of over 25kW requires a written scheme of examination. Users and owners of pressure such pressure systems are required to demonstrate that they know:

1. The safe operating limits and principal pressure and temperature of their pressure systems.

2.  They need to ensure that a suitable written scheme of examination is in place before the system is operated.

3. The pressure system is actually examined in accordance with the written scheme of examination.

Refrigerant leakage is also a very important aspect of the ACI (TM44) report as well since all refrigerants have a negative impact on the environment and they are the principal cause ozone depletion in the atmosphere. Older refrigerants such as R-22 and R-11 have a greater impact on the ozone layer compared to newer ones such as R-410a and R-407. As air conditioning inspectors we are responsible for examining the units for any leakages and identifying them by looking at oil stains on the pipes.

One of the other factors commonly seen on sites is poor insulation. Although it is unwritten, as a rule insulations around pipes should be replaced every 5 years. However, in most sites the insulation is never replaced and in some cases the insulation does not properly cover all the pipes. Energy losses from poorly insulated pipes are a major cause of energy loss.

While carrying out inspections, it is very common to see the formation of ice on the condensers. Evidence of icing on the fins indicates that the system is not functioning properly. This can result from heating and cooling operations at the same time, internal faults in the condenser, inaccurate sensors or blocked filters. This such cases, an expert is needed to examine the indoor and outdoor units and solve the problem.

During an air conditioning inspection, we also record the pipe temperatures (before the condenser when it comes back from the indoor unit and after the condenser when it gets re-circulated back to the indoor unit). This temperature difference indicates whether the unit is functioning properly or not. A very small difference (smaller than 10 C) and a huge difference (greater than 30) are signs of a faulty system. Exact figures of this temperature difference cannot be provided as reference as pipe temperatures are dependent on indoor and outdoor conditions.

Individual Split Systems

These are systems in which a single ‘outdoor unit’ containing refrigeration and heat rejection equipment is connected to a single ‘indoor unit’ delivering cooling. They are also known as ‘split package units’.

A single indoor unit is connected by refrigerant duct to a single outdoor unit. The indoor unit can either be floor, wall or ceiling mounted. The unit may be reversible allowing operation as a heat pump, or electric resistance heating may be included. These systems classed as Level 3 and relatively simple inspection procedures are usually considered adequate for these systems.

VRF and Multi Split Systems

Multi Split Systems are systems in which one or multiple ‘outdoor units’ containing refrigeration and heat rejection equipment are connected to a number of ‘indoor units’ delivering cooling. They are also known as multi-split package units and consist of variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems.  The indoor components of these systems are known as ‘indoor’ units or ‘cassettes’.

Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Systems – These systems include a number of indoor units which are connected to a common outdoor unit by a refrigeration duct on a common network. The indoor units can either be floor, wall or ceiling mounted. Each indoor unit is capable of providing either cooling or heating operations allowing heat transfer between zones that require cooling to zones that require heating with the outdoor unit functioning as a heat rejection device or in heat pump mode as necessary.
These systems are generally classed as Level 4 and a full inspection procedure is appropriate especially when the systems are centralised and make use of a plant-room and more complex controls.

Unitary Packaged Units:

Such systems consist of indoor and outdoor units that are both encased in a self-contained ‘unitary’ housing and are often installed ‘through the wall’. The unit may also be reversible allowing operation as a heat pump or electric resistance heating may be included. These systems classed as Level 3 and relatively simple inspection procedures are usually considered adequate for these systems.

These systems generally include self-contained ‘on-board’ controls for temperature and may have a timer control function as well.

Centralised Systems:
(Chiller Units, Air Handling Units and Fan Coil Units)

Centralised Systems: These are systems in which the refrigeration equipment delivers cooling through air handing unit(s) and/or pumped water circuits. These can either be constant volume (CV) systems, variable air volume (VAV) systems, systems using fan coil units (FCUs) or systems using active or passive chilled beams.

Centralised Air Systems: A cooling heat exchanger is used to produce cool air in an air handling unit (AHU) and then feed through ductwork to grills, diffusers or other terminal units in the conditioned spaces.

The cooled air distribution system may also include a floor or ceiling plena. This category includes systems where the air feed via the centralised ducted system may be cooled at active or passive terminal devices in the conditioned spaces. This cooling can be achieved by indoor units of split package and VRF systems installed within the air distribution pipes.

Centralised Cooled Water Systems – A central device is used to produce cooled water and is fed to active and passive terminal devices through ductwork in the conditioned spaces. The active terminal units could either be fan coil units or fan assisted chilled beams while the passive units could be chilled beams (without fans) and chilled ceiling panels. Terminal units may transfer cooling to recirculated room air, to fresh air drawn locally from outdoors, or to air supplied through centralised duct systems.

Water Loop/Reversible Heat Pump Systems – these are systems with their own separate reversible water to air heat pumps in the treated space. These systems extract or return heat to or from a common temperature controlled water loop, which is also known as ‘versatemp type’. The unnecessary heat is intentionally lost as necessary by a cooling tower ( usually a dry cooler) and an overall requirement for heat in the cycle is supplied by a central heat generator (fossil fuel boiler, electric flow boiler or other central heat exchangers).
These systems are generally classed as Level 4 and a full inspection procedure is appropriate especially when the systems are centralised and make use of a plant-room and more complex controls.

Introduction to ACI Report

Once the Air Conditioning Inspection report TM44 is carried out, a report is generated which states recommendations to improve the efficiency of the air conditioning systems. The report contains information about changes or alterations in the way the system is maintained and operated to recommendations on new or replacement systems. If the recommendations in the Air Conditioning Inspection TM44 reports are to be followed properly, it will reduce the energy bills of the property and also improve its energy rating.

 

Storma Certified Energy Assessors

We are accredited Energy Assessors

All inspections and reports are carried out in accordance with CIBSE’s methodology – Inspections of Air Conditioning Systems TM44: 2007. Our Air Conditioning Inspectors are accredited to the National Occupational Standard and by STROMA Certification. Only an Accredited Air Conditioning System Assessor is permitted to carry out TM44 Inspections.
TM44 Air Conditioning Inspections Provider

We Provide Air Conditioning Inspection Reports

We are a nationwide provider of TM44 Air Conditioning Inspection Reports and provide energy audit services throughout the UK. With drastic climate change and the global warming crisis looming over our heads, the responsibility for reducing our carbon footprints is getting stronger than ever with strict legislation codes forcing people to take the necessary steps towards carbon deduction.
TM 44 Inspections

TM44 Air Conditioning Inspections

The Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations 2007 introduced a statutory obligation on any person who controls the operation of an air conditioning system to ensure that the system is inspected by the relevant inspection date. Unlike the requirements for EPC, these TM44 air conditioning inspections are not triggered by sale or rental, but have been given definite deadlines for compliance.
Air Conditioning Inspection Reports

When TM44 air conditioning inspections are required?

Any building with an air-conditioning system of an effective rated output of 12kW requires an air conditioning Inspection (TM44). Any system with an effective rated output of over 250 kW must have had at least one TM44 inspection done before the 4th of January 2009, and for systems over 12kW, the first air conditioning inspection must have been done by the 4th of January 2011.
Penalties for not having Air Conditioning Inspections

Penalties for not having a TM44 air conditioning inspection report

Local authorities bear the responsibility of enforcing Air Conditioning Inspection (TM44) to existing systems that are eligible for inspection. Failure to commission, keep or provide a TM 44 Air Conditioning Inspection report on demand may result in the issue of a penalty charge notice to the operator. The penalty for failing to produce a valid TM 44 Air Conditioning Inspection on demand at present is minimum £300.