Blower Door Testing

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Blower Door Testing

Blower Door Testing – IECC-2012 and 2015 Requirement:

Starting with the 2012-IECC energy code and continuing in IECC-2015, blower door testing is now a mandatory requirement on all new construction residential homes.

What is a blower door test?
A blower door is a device used to measure the exact air-tightness of a home.  In the 2015 and 2012-IECC, a maximum air leakage rate is defined and each home must meet this tightness level verified with a blower door test.

How does it work?
A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts into the frame of an exterior door. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed cracks and openings. These tests determine the air infiltration rate of a building.  Blower doors consist of a frame and flexible panel that fit in a doorway, a variable-speed fan, a pressure gauge to measure the pressure differences inside and outside the home, and an airflow manometer and hoses for measuring airflow.

When do you perform a blower door test?
Blower door testing is typically performed at the end of construction, once the house is completely dried in, all penetrations sealed, lighting trim kits installed – basically anything that would be an unwanted leak needs to be sealed.  When we do blower door testing, we won’t just pass or fail a home – if the home doesn’t meet the air leakage requirements, we will help to determine where the key leakage areas are using infra-red (IR) camera technology.

Who can do the testing?
Scott Home Inspection can perform blower door testing and duct leakage testing, as well as full energy rating services including RES-Check reports, HERS ratings and Manual J/D Reports.

Let our local team of Certified HERS Raters and Certified ASHI Home Inspectors work with you to help you meet the IECC energy code requirements of the various municipalities along the Front Range. We can assist your team in determining the best options for the design and construction of your project. Our energy rating services are performed professionally with a focus on accuracy and responsive support.  We are your go-to one-stop-shop” offering Energy Rating Services for Architects, Builders, Contractors, HVAC professionals, and Homeowners.

Visit our Energy Services page for more info, or Contact Us with any questions or to schedule a blower door test.

By | 2017-05-20T18:42:14+00:00 February 25th, 2017|Energy Code Info|2 Comments

About the Author:

George founded Scott Home Inspection in 2006, and has grown the business into a multi-inspector firm serving the Colorado front range, from Fort Collins down to Castle Rock. As an ASHI Certified Home Inspector and Certified Energy Rater, George is an excellent resource to help with inspection and energy-related requirements.

2 Comments

  1. brennerbuilders@outlook.com'
    Brian Brenner March 1, 2017 at 8:02 am - Reply

    Hi George, Can a home be too tight and need to have a system installed that mechanically brings in fresh conditioned air to the home.
    What are the passing and failing pressure ratings for new homes? Is it also based on square footage of the home?

    • George Scott March 1, 2017 at 8:18 am - Reply

      The IECC code establishes maximum air leakage rates in a home. In Colorado with the 2012 and 2015 IECC that level is 3 air changes per hour when depressurized to 50 pascals. So the blower door runs, depressurizes the home to 50 PA, then we calculate the air changes based upon the volume of the home. At 3 ACH, this is a very tight home, so you definitely then need to have a mechanical ventilation system to bring in fresh air exchanges. The 2012 and 2015 building code requires a mechanical ventilation system when the home is sealed to this air tightness, so plan on installing an HRV or ERV. When we do blower door testing, we help you to find leaks if the home doesn’t pass, we won’t just leave and not help. We’ll use an IR camera to help find the leakage areas so you know what to seal.

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