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Practice PE Exam: HVAC Breadth and Depth

The following is a practice PE exam for the HVAC Breadth part of the PE test. I chose not to
make this a multiple choice format. One the individual answer page I will show you the worked
out problem and you can deride if you got the correct solution. The reason I did this is when you
are looking on charts for number or multiplying by numbers that may have been rounded off
your answer can vary. The way I see things is that if you can get the problem done correctly. This
test should take 1 hour
Question 1
A mechanical room has (2) 47 kilowatt electric water heaters and (1) 3000 MBTUH natural draft
gas fired boiler. You are looking to use the one permanent opening method for the combustion air
opening. What area should the combustion air opening be?
Question 2
A water cooled chiller uses R-134a as a refrigerant. The refrigerant flow rate through the
condenser is 100,000 lbm/hr with the entering pressure of 100 PSIA and leaves the condenser at
a temperature of 80 F and is a saturated liquid. The refrigerant then passes through the
evaporator and leaves as a gas at 10 F . Water from a cooling tower is used to absorb the heat
given off by the condenser. The cooling tower water enters the condenser at 75 F and leaves at
98 F.The Coefficient of Performance for this chiller is 4.0. What is the flow rate in gpm of the
cooling tower water?
Question 3
A client is asking to use a solar energy collector to collect energy for a solar powered pump. The
solar panels have an overall efficiency of 12%. The pump will be used to pump 15 gpm of water
out of a groundwater well that has been dug to a depth of 200 feet. The overall efficiency of the
pump is 65%. The water that is being drawn up from the groundwater well is 80 degree
Fahrenheit. The local solar radiation for the area is about 15 watts / ft^2
A pressure lose calculation on the piping is done and it is determined that the fittings will add 30
feet of head.
How much area of solar array would be required to power this pump
Question 4
An air handler has a 2 1/2 diameter chilled water branch piping that supplies water to a 72 x
48 cooling coil that has 5/8 copper tubes. The return air enters the coil at 100 F. The air is then
cooled to 60 F. For this particular coil the maximum allowable face velocity across the cooling
coil is 450 fpm. If the sensible heat ratio for this coil was given as 0.87. What is the total cooling
load on the cooling coil?
Question 5

You have been asked to evaluate two chillers using the coefficient of performance. Both chillers
are about the same tonnage and your client would like to use the more efficient chiller.
Chiller #1

Flow rate of 550 GPM

Entering Temperature 58 F

Leaving Water Temperature 45 F

Compressor input 25 Tons

Chiller #2

Flow rate of 500 GPM

Entering Temperature 58 F

Leaving Water Temperature 44 F

Compressor input 25 Tons

Question 6
An air handler has 15,000 cfm of air passing through the coiling coil. The velocity across the
face of the cooling coil has a maximum velocity of 500 fpm. The air then passes through the fan
inlet section of the air handling unit and then passes into a 18 diameter plug fan. If a pressure
sensor records a pressure of -3.0 inches immediately downstream of the cooling coil, what is the
pressure when the air enters the plug fan?
Question 7
The design conditions for a dining room at a public school are 75 F dry bulb and 62.5 F wet
bulb. Using ASHRAE 62.4 to calculate the outdoor air requirement, it was calculated that the
ventilation requirement for the dining room would be 1,400 cfm. The temperature outside has a
maximum range of 95 F dry bulb and 81 F wet bulb. What is the ventilation load the cooling
coil will see from the outside air?
Question 8
A fuel depot at the airport has (3) 75 horsepower pumps that can each deliver 500 gpm of jet fuel
to the holding tanks. All three pumps operate at 65% efficiency. The total dynamic head needed
for each pump is 400 feet

The fuel depot is getting ready to be retrofitted. Your boss wants to know; what is the maximum
throughput you can attain with the current pumps.
Question 9
An architect has asked you to get an estimate of the fuel that would be needed to heat an exterior
wall per year. The wall has an area of 150 square feet. The thermal conductivity of the wall is
0.08 BTU/(ft^2 * h *F ). During the heating season this wall will see about 3200 degree days.
What is the total amount of heat lost in a year
Question 10
A 20 ton air conditioning unit has an average electrical load of 30 Kw. What is the EER rating?

Practice PE Exam: HVAC Breadth and Depth


Practice Exam #1

For a complete list of the questions please go to the HVAC Practice Exam #1 Page
Problem 1
The area needed is 1000 square inches
Solution for HVAC Question #1
Combustion Air Opening

Problem #1
A mechanical room has (2) 47 kilowatt electric water heaters and (1) 3000 MBTUH natural draft
gas fired boiler. You are looking to use the one permanent opening method for the combustion air
opening. What area should the combustion air opening be?

Answer
To solve this question you need to be familiar with the National Fire Protection Associations
Codes (NFPA) The requirements for combustion air openings are dictated in NFPA 54.
Per the 2009 Edition of NFPA 54 Section 9.3.3.2

You will need 1 in2 of open area for each 3000 BTUH. Also pay attention to the difference
between MBTUH, which you may be given, and BTUH which is what is needed for he
conversion.
For reference 1 MBTUH is equal to 1000 BTUH
Since the water heaters are electric they will not require any extra combustion air.

To meet NFPA standards you would need a combustion air opening of at least 1,000 square
inches or 7 square feet

Problem 2
The mass flow rate of water to the cooling tower is 590 gpm
Solution for HVAC Question #2
Flow Rate Through the Condenser

Problem
A water cooled chiller uses R-134a as a refrigerant. The refrigerant flow rate through the
condenser is 100,000 lbm/hr with the entering pressure of 100 PSIA and leaves the condenser at
a temperature of 80 F and is a saturated liquid. The refrigerant then passes through the
evaporator and leaves as a gas at 10 F . Water from a cooling tower is used to absorb the heat
given off by the condenser. The cooling tower water enters the condenser at 75 F and leaves at
98 F.The Coefficient of Performance for this chiller is 4.0. What is the flow rate in gpm of the
cooling tower water?
Solution
This problem requires a little bit of knowledge about the Vapor Compression Refrigeration
Cycle. The way I find that is easiest to solve these is to set up a table for the set points you have
been given. This way you can see which points you are missing still. I have created a vapor
compression refrigeration cycle cheat sheet to help
To find the flow rate of the condenser water we need to find the total heat rejected to the
condenser water which is the sum of the refrigeration and work done by the pump.

First we look at the equation for the Coefficient of Performance (COP)

Since we only have the COP we will stat by calculating the heat absorbed by the evaporator by
using the following equations.

The problem states that the refrigerant passes through the evaporator at 10 F and leaves as a
gas, the enthalpy for h1 can be found.
h1 = 168.06 btu/lbm
The next clue we have is that the refrigerant leaves the condenser as a liquid at 80 F. Since the
refrigerant is not sub-cooled we can find the pressure. The evaporation process is isothermal so
with the pressure and temperature we can find the enthalpy for h4
h4 = 101.88 btu/lbm
The mass flow rate is given in the problem.

Now putting it all together gives

Next step is to find the work done by he compressor, which can be done 2 different ways

Now that we know what the heat in (Qin) and work in (Win) are we can find the heat out (Qout)

Now that we know the heat that would be absorbed by the cooling tower water we can find the
volumetric flow rate by using the following equation

Now to convert from cubic feet per hour to gallons per minute

The mass flow rate of water to the cooling tower is 719 gpm

Problem 3
So in order to run the 1.34 horsepower pump you would need 556 square feet of solar collectors.
Solution for HVAC Question #3
Solar Powered Pump

Problem
A client is asking to use a solar energy collector to collect energy for a solar powered pump. The
solar panels have an overall efficiency of 12%. The pump will be used to pump 15 gpm of water
out of a groundwater well that has been dug to a depth of 200 feet. The overall efficiency of the
pump is 65%. The water that is being drawn up from the groundwater well is 80 degree
Fahrenheit. The local solar radiation for the area is about 15 watts / ft^2
A pressure lose calculation on the piping is done and it is determined that the fittings will add 30
feet of head.
How much area of solar array would be required to power this pump
Solution
First you need to find out how much power will be needed to deliver the water
The problem gives the efficiency of the pump as well as the total dynamic head needed.

Now that the horsepower of the motor is known, we need to find out how much energy is going
to be required to power the pump

The pump would require 1000 watts to run. Now to size the energy collector

So in order to run the 1.34 horsepower pump you would need 556 square feet of solar collectors.

Problem 4
The total load seen by the coil is 536 MBTUH
Solution for HVAC Question #4
Sensible Heat Ratio

Problem
An air handler has a 2 1/2 diameter chilled water branch piping that supplies water to a 72 x
48 cooling coil that has 5/8 copper tubes. The return air enters the coil at 100 F. The air is then
cooled to 60 F. For this particular coil the maximum allowable face velocity across the cooling
coil is 450 fpm
The sensible heat ratio for this coil was given as 0.87.
What is the total cooling load on the cooling coil?
Solution
Sine this problem has no dehumidification or humidification we can solve the problem using the
sensible heat ratio (SHR).
The sensible heat ratio is the percentage of sensible heat divided by the total heat load.

From what the problem tells us, we can get the sensible load, which is the cooling load across the
coil,

First we need to find the volumetric flow rate (cfm)

With the volumetric flow rate know we can solve for the sensible load

The sensible load is 466,560 btuh


Now we can use the SHR and the sensible load to determine the total heat load

The total load seen by the coil is 536 MBTUH

Problem 5
Chiller #2 has the lowest COP with 11.7. Whereas chiller #1 has a COP of 11.9. Chiller 1 is the
better chiller.
Solution for HVAC Question #5
Calculating the Coefficient of Performance for a Chiller

Problem
You have been asked to evaluate two chillers using the coefficient of performance. Both chillers
are about the same tonnage and your client would like to use the more efficient chiller.
Chiller #1

Flow rate of 550 GPM

Entering Temperature 58 F

Leaving Water Temperature 45 F

Compressor input 25 Tons

Chiller #2

Flow rate of 500 GPM

Entering Temperature 58 F

Leaving Water Temperature 44 F

Compressor input 25 Tons

Solution
To solve this problem we need to calculate the theoretical coefficient of performance (COP) for
each chiller.

First we need to find out how much heat is absorbed, by using the following equation

The problem does give the work in, just in tons instead of btuh, so we use the next equation to
convert everything to the same units

Chiller #1

Chiller #2

Chiller #2 has the greater flow rate which gives the lowest COP with 11.7. Whereas chiller #1
greater range of temperature but only has a COP of 11.9. Chiller #1 is the best choice

Problem #6
The pressure near the inlet fan is -7.5 inches of water
Solution for HVAC Question #6
Using Bernoullis Equation to Find Pressure

Problem
An air handler has 15,000 cfm of air passing through the coiling coil. The velocity across the
face of the cooling coil has a maximum velocity of 500 fpm. The air then passes through the fan
inlet section of the air handling unit and then passes into a 18 diameter plug fan. If a pressure
sensor records a pressure of -3.0 inches immediately downstream of the cooling coil, what is the
pressure when the air enters the plug fan?
Solution
In order to solve this problem we need to look at Bernoullis Equation

v = Velocity
p = Pressure
g = Gravity

= Specific Weight = density * gravity


Since the air is traveling at the same height Z1 = Z2
P1 is given in the problem statement as -3 inches
v1 is given as 500 fpm

v2 is not given, but can be calculated by finding the volumetric flow rate.

Velocity = 8487 fpm


Next we solve for P2. When working this problem it is helpful to write out the units. The velocity
is in minutes, while gravity is in seconds. One will need to be converted. In this problem we are
going to convert everything to seconds.

Last item left to deal with is the specific weight. The problem is asking for the answer in inches
of water, but we have been using air in the problem. The converting is done by dividing by the
density of air then multiplying by the density of water. Then divide by 12 inches per foot.
Here is what the problem looks like when it is completely laid out

The pressure near the inlet fan is -7.5 inches of water

Problem #7
The ventilation load is 134,820 btu per hour or about 11.3 tons
Solution for HVAC Question #7
Using Enthalpy to Calculate Ventilation Load

Problem
The design conditions for a dining room at a public school are 75 F dry bulb and 62.5 F wet
bulb. Using ASHRAE 62.4 to calculate the outdoor air requirement, it was calculated that the
ventilation requirement for the dining room would be 1,400 cfm. The temperature outside has a

maximum range of 95 F dry bulb and 81 F wet bulb. What is the ventilation load the cooling
coil will see from the outside air?
Solution
This problem can be solved by using enthalpy. The ventilation load can be calculated by by
using the difference between the enthalpy of the leaving air and enthalpy of the entering airs.
You will also need to convert the entering air speed from feet per minute to feet per hour. This is
done by multiplying the air speed by 60

h2 is the enthalpy of the outside air, which is 44.5 btu/lb


h1 is the enthalpy of the air leaving the cooling coil, which is 23.1 btu/lb
V is 1400 cfm
is the average density is 0.075 lbm/ft3

The ventilation load is 134,820 btu per hour or about 11.3 tons

Problem #8
The gpm per pump is 528 or 1584 gpm for all pumps
Solution for HVAC Question #8
Pumping Jet Fuel

Problem
A fuel depot at the airport has (3) 75 horsepower pumps that can each deliver 500 gpm of jet fuel
to the holding tanks. All three pumps operate at 65% efficiency. The total dynamic head needed
for each pump is 400 feet
The fuel depot is getting ready to be retrofitted. Your boss wants to know; what is the maximum
throughput you can attain with the current pumps.
Solutions
This question will require 2 different equations to solve. The first equation is to find out the
actual horsepower, the horsepower listed in the problem is for a nominal motor. The second
equation is one of the pump laws which will give the maximum flow rate.

The head loss is 400 feet


The specific gravity of jet fuel is 0.82
The motor efficiency is 0.65
The flow rate is 500 gpm

The actual horsepower the motor is using is 63.7


The next size up motor would be a 75 hp motor
Now using the pump affinity laws, we can see there is a relation to the flow rate and the speed at
which the impeller turns

Also using the pump law we can see that there is a relation to the flow rate of a pump and the
power required for the pump.

Inputting the data that was calculated form the earlier equations

Solving for Q1 gives us a flow rate of 528 gpm of jet fuel per pump
Using the 3 exisiting pumps you will be pumping jet fuel at a combined rate of 1584 gpm which
is about 528 gpm per pump

Problem #9
The total amount of heat lost per year on the wall is 9.216,000 btu per year
Solution for HVAC Question #9
Heating Degree Days

Problem
An architect has asked you to get an estimate of the fuel that would be needed to heat an exterior
wall per year. The wall has an area of 150 square feet. The thermal conductivity of the wall is
0.08 BTU/(ft^2 * h *F ). During the heating season this wall will see about 3200 degree days.
What is the total amount of heat lost in a year
Solution
Heating degree days are used to get an estimate of the fuel that will be needed for an area for a
year. Heating degree days are determined by taking the average of the lowest and highest
temperature for a day. If the average is lower than 65 degrees Fahrenheit it is considered to be a
heating degree day. If the temperature is higher than 65 degrees Fahrenheit then it is a cooling
degree day.

A is the area in question


U is the thermal conductivity

The total amount of heat lost per year on the wall is 921,600 btu per year

Problem #10
EER Rating = 8
Solution for HVAC Question #10

Calculating EER Rating

Problem
A 20 ton air conditioning unit has an average electrical load of 30 Kw. What is the EER rating?
Solution
The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is a standard measure of air conditioning efficiency during a
normal annual cooling hour
EER = BTU of Cooling / Watt Hours of Electric Energy Input
1 Ton = 12,000 BTUH

EER Rating = 8