Tools to draw HVAC diagrams

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Sorry for cross-posting,

Does anyone use MS Visio for sketching HVAC diagrams?
Is it a good alternative to Ms Word, which is somehow tolerable for simple
diagrams, but gets really out of hands for bigger diagrams?
The shapes, which are included in Visio, are they helpful, meaningful, give
professional look?

Somebody is using Excel (might be lacking flexibility when topology is
unknown).
Somebody is using Inkscape.
Any other thoughts
Thank you,

Pavel Dybskiy

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If you are familiar with AutoCAD for drawing schematics then you will be
able to use Draftsight from Dassault systems. It's free.

Chris Yates C Eng MCIBSE

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I have been using Visio for a long, long time for HVAC diagrams and schematics especially when sketching out additions to existing systems etc. It is an excellent tool for this although most of the stock templates are not to my liking so I have made my own shapes and saved those on a stencil for reuse. Nothing too ?intelligent? but with connection points and ability to quickly create schematic. I also tend to use the ductwork layout stencil to create exhaust layouts. The purpose of the drawings or sketches are for pricing assistance and not a detailed engineering drawing.

A CAD tool might also be a reasonable tool (at a former company we had a Visio-like AutoCAD product to do control drawings that I adapted to do some basic HVAC schematics but I came back to Visio. I found it easier but our CAD operators would beg to differ). I have also used HVAC Solution. It is an excellent tool for creating diagrams as well as doing some calculations on the system. They used to have a water-side only tool but they have discontinued it. Taco, the pump manufacturer, has a similar tool (by the same developer I believe) available. Taco also has some other very interesting tools for the residential side that can be adapted for light commercial.

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I would humbly submit OpenStudio (openstudio.nrel.gov) as a tool for diagramming these systems. The OpenStudio application has a visual HVAC system design tab in the interface that has been engineered to allow idiots like me to create ASHRAE standard system types, and customize from there as needed. While the graphics may not be super sexy, they tell the story. Further, after you've dragged and dropped your way to a functional and valid HVAC system description, you not only have a series of graphics that illustrate it, you also have underlying code describing this system in OpenStudio-speak, as well as EnergyPlus-speak, ready for simulation.

Rob Guglielmetti

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Try some of these

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/diagrams?utm_source=chrome-ntp-icon

LUIS BLANES.PMP

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Pavel,

I like Visio for simple/moderately complex drawings on any kind including HVAC.

It is easy to put something together quickly. Also it is easy to create .pdf or paste drawings into other Microsoft products in order to share them.

However, I wouldn't use it for anything beyond concept drawings or presentation materials. I prefer Autocad or Revit for design/construction drawings. The CAD features of Visio are limited so any really detailed or accurate work should use a real CAD program.

Hope that helps.

Fred Betz PhD., LEED AP

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Thank you all!

Now I know where should I start from

Poll reveals :)
Visio and CAD 27 % of votes;
OpenStudio , Word, Excel, InkScape 9% each.

P.S. Surprisingly stable picture, a majority of names are older than 17
years :)

Pavel

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Pavel,

You might consider Diagramly.com for your HVAC diagrams. It's a Visio-like web-based program for diagrams that is capable of everything from simple flow charts up through more complicated one-line diagrams. The feature I really like is that it contains some extensive symbols libraries for things like pumps, fans, compressors, valves, etc. if you want more than just a crude block diagram. You can export to PDF or vector graphics formats if you want to fine-tune in another program.

Regards,

Peter May-Ostendorp, PhD, EIT, LEED AP

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Hi Rob,

I have installed OpenStudio
I tried to import one of e+ example files, SolarCollectorFlatPlateWater.idf.
It looks like OpenStudio didn't recognize quite a few objects, e.g.
IddObjectType: 'WaterHeater:Mixed'
Please advise.

Pavel

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Would you say that Open studio is finally "ready" for real world projects?
I have been a fan, and have made effort to use it for years but just never
found it to work very well (looks great tho)
If Open studio has got the bugs out I am sure many users would jump on
board- so is it ready?

Best regards-

*Jeremiah D. Crossett*

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Seems light and smart.
Can it make free curved forms and arbitrary connectors?
Thanks,

Pavel

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Here is a Visio-made diagram
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BxMkJIZCZN5ESnJYVFpsR3lTZVk

What do I miss? Is it satisfactory for a report/manual/paper?

First round, about 3 hours, about 10 iterations.
Just one click to get all formatting you need.
Very fast learning track.
Very useful Format painter and very flexible connectors
Less frustrating experience comparing with Word which I used before.

Next time, I hope, it's gonna take 20-30 min

Pavel

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Dear Pavel ,et al.

I use yEd ( http://www.yworks.com/en/products_yed_about.html) for drawing
flow charts, venn diagrams, etc. It can easily be used for drawing HVAC
flow diagrams as well. yEd is free to download and install and is quite
powerful.

Thanks,

Anupam Jain, B.Arch, MBS, LEED AP (BD+C, O+M)

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Thank you Anupam,

I enjoyed examples they have.
I tried it for 5 min.
I should admit it's a very intelligent/quick (should I say brilliant) in
making and playing with blocks and connectors.
During these 5 mins I failed to find a quick way to format individual
blocks and text inside blocks (color, font), except at least 3-4
clicks through menus, pop-ups, dialogues.
Is there a format painter?
May be I miss some magic tricks or .....
this tool was meant for something more abstract.

Pavel

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Yes, this tool is a diagramming tool useful for abstract diagrams as well
as organized flowcharts. For handling labels, there should be a "Properties
View" at the lower right corner of your screen where the font, color, etc.
can be changed for the entire object. There is no format painter, though
one can take a crossing window and select the objects (or group them and
see group content: Alt+PgDn) to select similar objects before formatting
them similarly.

Hope this helps. Vaibhav (also on this list) pointed out a similar and
intuitive tool called Dia (http://dia-installer.de/), which you can try as
well. It is similar to yEd in abstractness of application though.

Cheers,
Anupam

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FYI...

Simulating different HVAC systems is non-trivial! ASHRAE RP-865 also has HVAC system diagrams for the accuracy tests that Standard 140 is now assembling for future reference.

Comparisons to DOE-2, BLAST and EnergyPlus have also been run on these as well (+- 1%). Spreadsheet simulations for these systems, and input files can also be found in the ESL report ESL-TR-01-02-02, which is a report and ZIP file containing the spreadsheets, available on the ESL's web site.

Jeff S. Haberl, Ph.D.,P.E., FASHRAE

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