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ENERGY STAR HVAC Commissioning Checklist: 4. Air Balancing of Supply Registers & Return Grilles (recommended but not required)


When certifying a home to ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes, Version 3/3.1 (Rev. 11), the HVAC Installer completes the HVAC Commissioning Checklist to document information about the contractor and house, refrigerant charge, HVAC fan air flow, and air balancing. One HVAC Commissioning Checklist is completed for each system installed. The HVAC installation contractor must make copies of the HVAC Commissioning Checklist available to the builder, the rater responsible for certifying the home, and the HVAC oversight organization, upon request.

This page shows the checklist requirement for Section 4. Air Balancing of Supply Registers and Return Grilles and applicable footnotes.

For information on installing HVAC equipment, see installation guides linked to the HVAC section of the National Rater Field Checklist.

For information on air balancing of supply registers and return registers see ACCA’s ANSI/ACCA 5 QI - 2015 HVAC Quality Installation Specification.

HVAC Commissioning Checklist Section 4 Revision 11
Checklist revised 11/11/2020.  



1. This Checklist is designed to align with the requirements of ANSI / ACCA’s 5 QI-2015 protocol, thereby improving the performance of HVAC equipment in new homes when compared to homes built to minimum code. However, these features alone cannot prevent all ventilation, indoor air quality, and HVAC problems (e.g., those caused by a lack of maintenance or occupant behavior). Therefore, this Checklist is not a guarantee of proper ventilation, indoor air quality, or HVAC performance. This Checklist applies to split air conditioners, unitary air conditioners, air-source heat pumps, and water-source (i.e., geothermal) heat pumps up to 65 kBtuh with forced-air distribution systems (i.e., ducts) and to furnaces up to 225 kBtuh with forced-air distribution systems (i.e., ducts). All other permutations of equipment (e.g., boilers, mini-split / multi-split systems) and distribution systems are exempt.

2. For a home certified in the State of ID, MT, OR, or WA, the following alternatives and exemptions apply:

  1. For a home with an air-source heat pump up to 65 kBtuh with a forced-air distribution system (i.e., ducts), the contractor is permitted to complete the 2011 PTCS® Commissioned Heat Pump Certificate and Startup Form in lieu of this Checklist.
  2. For a home with a split air conditioner or unitary air conditioner up to 65 kBtuh with a forced-air distribution system (i.e., ducts), the contractor is permitted to complete the Northwest Central AC Commissioning & Startup Form in lieu of this Checklist.
  3. For a home in a location with < 600 CDD, the completion of this Checklist is recommended, but not required.

3. The term ‘Rater’ refers to the person(s) completing the third-party verification required for certification. The person(s) shall: a) be a Certified Rater or Approved Inspector, as defined by ANSI / RESNET / ICC Standard 301, or an equivalent designation as determined by a Home Certification Organization (HCO); and, b) have attended and successfully completed an EPA-recognized training class. See

5. Air balancing of supply registers and return grilles is highly recommended to improve the performance of the HVAC system and comfort of the occupants, but is not required at this time for certification. When air balancing is completed, balancing dampers or proper duct sizing shall be used instead of looped or coiled ductwork to limit flow to diffusers. When balancing dampers are used, they shall be located at the trunk to limit noise unless the trunk will not be accessible when the balancing process is conducted. In such cases, Opposable Blade Dampers (OBD) or dampers located in the duct boot are permitted to be used.

Contributors to this Guide: ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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