Leakage in exterior building enclosures waste energy and can impact your health and well-being. When there are cracks and gaps in the air barrier and other connections of your home, then they can cause several detrimental issues. These gaps not only allow warm or cold air, contaminants, and moisture to get in, but they are also a place for pollen, dust, and bugs to enter. If you want to check how airtight your home or building is, then a blower door test is best.
San Antonio blower door testing is designed to check the walls, attics, and other mechanical penetrations of your home or building for air leaks. While the blower door test cannot evaluate how well your structure is insulated, it reveals air-bypass situations and drafty walls. Drafty buildings waste energy, and with the rising utility costs, there is a global push for conservation.
Regulations of construction methods are stricter, with mandatory energy testing at local and state levels. States like Georgia, Michigan, Florida, and New York require blower door tests for their energy audit.
What is a blower door test?
Certified energy auditors do blower door tests to determine the degree to which your home is airtight. Technicians then attach a temporary blower door to an existing back or front door with a powerful fan. When the blower door is tightly affixed to the door’s frame, the fan is switched on, and it sucks the air from your house and blows it outside. Using digital gauges, the technicians compare the variance in the internal air pressure and the external air to know how much air leaks into your house.
Reasons For A Blower Door Test
There are various reasons for establishing proper building tightness.
- To reduce energy consumption from excessive air leakage
- To avoid uncomfortable drafts of cold or warm air leaking from outside
- To avoid moisture condensation issues
- To prevent contaminants, odors, and pests from entering
- To find out if mechanical ventilation is required to provide conducive indoor air quality
- To determine the proper size and airflow requirements of HVAC systems
Overall, a blower door test can help ensure the health, safety, and comfort of your family. It is also necessary if you live in areas that experience harsh winters or very hot summer seasons.
Note that air leakage accounts for almost a third of heat loss in a building. A blower door test can help ensure your HVAC unit works efficiently throughout extreme weather conditions. You need to conduct the test before the winter season or if your area is expecting an extremely hot summer.
What happens during a blower door test?
The blower door frame is installed on one of the exterior home doorways during the test. All the exterior doors and windows are closed, and any air inlet at the fireplace damper to the woodstove. The interior doors are left open, and all combustion appliances are extinguished or adjusted to prevent them from igniting during the test.
After calibrating the blower door, its fan pulls air from the house to the outside, thus lowering the internal air pressure. The higher air pressure from outside then flows in through unsealed cracks, gaps, and other openings, such as wiring penetrations. Technicians can also operate the fan in reverse mode if the conditions do not allow for lowering the pressure in a home. While the house is being tested, the technician goes from room to room with an infrared camera or smoke pencil to look at the walls, floors, and ceilings to precisely find leaks.
Blower doors can either be calibrated or uncalibrated, with the former having various gauges that measure the airflow out of the building through the fan. The latter can only find leaks in the house but cannot provide a method to determine the overall tightness of a house. After a blower door test is conducted in your home, your registered energy advisor will give you a certificate that indicates the energy efficiency rating of your home. The energy conservation San Antonio specialists will provide you with recommended upgrades and outline how they could improve your home.
If you care about your home’s health, comfort, and efficiency, then you should consider having a blower door test done on your home. Aside from making your home more energy-efficient, it is also a new construction code requirement in most parts of the United States. These tests help you see how your home measures compared to the outside while quantifying the leakage. With this knowledge, you can locate various aspects that you could improve.