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Blower Door Tests

Technology Snapshot & Benefits:
Blower doors are a testing method used by professional energy auditors and raters to help determine a home's air tightness. There are numerous benefits to making sure your home is properly air tight. Having an air tight home reduces energy consumption due to air leakage, helps to avoid moisture and condensation problems, helps to avoid uncomfortable drafts caused by cold air leaking in from the outdoors, and to make sure that the home's air quality is not too contaminated by indoor air pollution.

A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts directly into the frame of an exterior door. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the interior air pressure. As a result the higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed cracks and openings. The auditors may use a thermal imaging camera and a smoke pencil to help them detect air leaks.

It is important that the auditor use a calibrated blower door rather than one that is uncalibrated. By using a calibrated blower door the auditor can do more than just find leaks. They can use the information to quantify the amount of air leakage and the effectiveness of any air-sealing job.

Estimated Cost Savings:
A typical cost of a blower door test ranges from $200 on up depending on the size and complexity of the structure. Once air leaks are discovered in a home, depending on their location and size, they can often be fixed on your own or at an inexpensive price point. The identification of sources of energy loss in a home can result in significant savings through improved energy efficiency.

Issues:
Be aware to as whether or not your energy auditor is using a calibrated blower door, which is proven to be more effective than one that is uncalibrated. Be aware that some contactors who market themselves as being able to perform blower door tests may not have the appropriate education or certification to accurately perform and analyze the results. To avoid this, testing should be performed by certified contractors, such as Home Energy Rating Systems raters, Building Performance Institute analysts, or Home Performance with ENERGY STAR
contractors.

Regional Issues:
The only regional issues that exist with blower door tests is based on the interpretation of the data. The blower door test can be completed in nearly any climate, but it is important to understand the results in the context of that region. 

Installation (Getting It Done):
Check out our energy ratings and audits page on our website at http://ecobroker.com/misc/greenresource.aspx?id=6 for links to professionals in the field. Some other places where you could find professionals are through your state or local government or through your local utility company. Some governments and utilities may even help to subsidize the costs of the blower door test.

More Information On This Topic:

U.S. Department of Energy - Blower Door Tests

Green Building Advisor - Blower Door Basics

eXtension - Blower Door & Infrared Home Energy Assessments

 

 


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