The Air Movement and Control Association International or AMCA develops industry-related test standards for air movement and control products while independently certifying product
performance to ensure reliable and accurate product performance. AMCA has several standards that pertain to louvers.
ANSI/AMCA Standard 500-L is the publication that defines louver test procedures and how manufacturers portray performance for louver Air Performance, Water Penetration, Wind-Driven Rain, Wind-Driven Sand, Air Leakage, and Sound Performance.
- The AMCA 500-L Water Penetration standard is a static water test for louver products. The test standard simulates rain falling straight down in front of a louver test specimen at a rate of 4 in./hr. A fan attempts to pull water through the louver from a fully enclosed chamber behind the louver. The free area velocity whereby 0.01 oz. of water per square foot of louver free area is measurable in the chamber behind the louvers is the Beginning Point of Water Penetration. It is always advisable to size the conventional intake application louver comfortably below the Beginning Point of Water Penetration.
- The AMCA 500-L Wind-Driven Rain standard is a dynamic water test for louver products and is not to be confused with AMCA 550 High-Velocity Wind-Driven Rain (outlined below), which is a requirement of the Hurricane Prone Region. The AMCA 500-L Wind-Driven Rain test simulates horizontal driving rain by positioning a wind-generating fan that simulates either a 29 mph or 50 mph external wind. Between the wind-generating fan and the louver test specimen water spray nozzles drive either 3 or 8 in. rain/hr. at the louvers (29 mph/3 in. rain/hr., 50 mph/8 in. rain/hr.). A fan attempts to pull water through the louver from a fully enclosed chamber behind the louver. The louver is given a letter grade rating at specific escalating inlet velocities, which defines the percentage of water rejection (A = 99%, B = 95% - 98.9%, C = 80% - 94.9%, D = <80%).
If a louver manufacturer has tested their products in accordance with any or all of the AMCA 500-L test procedures, the louver manufacturer may elect to have AMCA certify their performance in accordance with the AMCA 511 Certified Rating
Program and display the AMCA Seal on product literature or the product itself. Keep in mind the AMCA 500-L test procedures are not “pass/fail”. AMCA Certified means that AMCA concurs the product was tested appropriately and that AMCA endorses
the displayed product performance.
AMCA 540 is the Test Method for Louvers Impacted by Wind-Borne Debris. The International Building Code and the Florida Building Code dictate that louvers installed within 30 ft. of grade in the Wind-Borne Debris Region of the Hurricane-Prone Region need to comply with AMCA 540. The AMCA 540 standard subjects a louver to the impacts of a 9 lb. 2x4 traveling at either 34 mph (Missile Level D) or 55 mph (Missile Level E). While Missile Level D is required for most commercial construction, Missile Level E is required for all critical or enhanced facilities and should be specified as such. The louver must show that the 2x4 does not pass through the louver and that the louver components maintain connectivity. Complete cosmetic destruction is acceptable.
AMCA 550 is the Test Method for High-Velocity Rain Resistant Louvers and is not to be confused with AMCA 500-L Wind-Driven Rain. The International Mechanical Code and Florida Mechanical Code dictate that all intake and exhaust louvers in the Hurricane Prone region must comply with AMCA 550. The AMCA 550 standard subjects a louver to 35, 70, 90, and 110 mph external wind while spraying horizontal driving rain at a rate of 8.8 in./hr. The louver must show that no more than 1% of the total sprayed water volume is measurable in the water collection apparatus positioned in the test chamber behind the louver.
The AMCA Listing Program is reserved for the AMCA 540 debris impact test and the AMCA 550 High-Velocity Wind-Driven Rain test. Unlike the AMCA 500-L test procedures, AMCA 540 and AMCA 550 are “pass/fail” criteria test procedures. By displaying the AMCA Listing label, AMCA is certifying that the louver products in question have passed the AMCA 540 and/or AMCA 550 standard. The AMCA 540 and/or 550 standards are requirements for the Hurricane Prone Region as defined by the International Building Code.
Watch for the AMCA seal when reviewing and specifying louvers for your building projects to ensure the louvers perform as specified.
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