Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2021
Units: 5
Hours: 37 lecture, 86 laboratory per quarter (123 total per quarter)
Prerequisite: Per California Code of Regulations, this course is limited to students admitted to the Plumbing & Pipefitting Apprenticeship Program.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: None
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Explain some of the "Green" designs that are changing the HVACR industry.
  • Identify necessary test instruments and documentation requirements for testing and balancing various types of air distribution systems.


Fifth-year course of the Plumber & Pipefitter Apprenticeship Program. Provides students with a working knowledge of the start, test, and balance of HVACR equipment and systems.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Explain safety related to potential hazards working with HVACR systems.
B. Explain the proper design, testing, and balancing of air distribution systems.
C. Demonstrate the testing of fluid flow in piping systems.
D. Explain electrical principles necessary for start-up and testing HVACR equipment.
E. Explain documentation requirements to report findings during start, test, and balance.
F. Explain how Green designs are changing the HVACR industry.

Course Content

A. Safety
1. Review safety hazards common with start, test, and balance
2. Review OSHA regulations
B. Test and balance of air distribution systems
1. Review system designs
2. Demonstrate use of test instruments
3. Discuss techniques in testing and adjusting air flow
C. Test fluid flow in piping systems
1. Review hydronic system designs
2. Demonstrate types of instrumentation used in testing fluid flow
3. Discuss techniques in testing and adjusting fluid flow
D. Electrical principles
1. Review electrical theory and application with starting and testing equipment
2. Demonstrate electrical test instruments typically used in start-up and testing
E. Documentation
1. Review various forms used with start, test, and balance
2. Discuss the importance of understanding the information being documented
3. Discuss problems commonly discovered during test and balance
F. Green designs
1. Discuss renewable and sustainable fuel sources, and conserving water
2. Discuss the role of commissioning teams in testing systems

Lab Content

Students will work individually and in teams on practical problems in air and/or fluid flow test and balance techniques used on the job site:
A. Using test instruments
B. Basic flow measurement
C. Documentation of measurements
D. Explaining the interpretation of measurements to identify unacceptable operation

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. Lecture and laboratory classrooms with chalkboard
B. Audio-visual equipment (slide, video, and overhead projectors)
C. Supplemental handouts

Method(s) of Evaluation

Written examination
Hands-on demonstration
Group and classroom participation

Method(s) of Instruction

Lectures and classroom discussions on start, test, and balance
Laboratory (hands-on) air and/or fluid flow test and balance
Demonstrations of skills in front of classroom

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

International Pipe Trades Joint Training Committee, Inc.. Start Test & Balance. 2003.

Esco Press. Green Awareness: Energy Efficiency, Comfort Conditioning, Electrical, Plumbing. 2008.

Although one or more of these texts may be older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, they remain seminal texts in this area of study.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Readings from Start Test & Balance:
1. Instruments for measuring air pressures and velocities
2. Start-up and initial tests of air handling systems
B. Writing assignments include:
1. Written documentation on air balance reports
2. Reports that explain interpretation of test findings


Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, Heating