New Construction Blower door testing? What is it? Many builders have asked us for a blower door testing checklist in order to prepare themselves for the test. We hope to answer these questions below.
Many Cities and Counties along the Front Range require that the overall air infiltration of a new construction residence be tested and verified to be in compliance with the applicable area’s energy codes prior to homeowners taking occupancy.
This is called Blower Door Testing and is most often performed as one of the last steps of the construction process. The test is performed using a blower door. Because this test is performed at the end of construction, it is important to monitor and perform certain actions throughout the construction of the residence or building.
AIR INFILTRATION CONSIDERATIONS THROUGHOUT THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS
- Installation of a properly sealed home wrap at the exterior shell.
- Installation and sealing of windows.
- Appropriate sealing of all penetrations through the exterior shell.
- Appropriate sealing of rim joists and sill plates.
- Completion and finishing of drywall
- Installation of all light fixtures / electrical components / outlet covers
- Installation of floor coverings throughout the property
AIR INFILTRATION CONSIDERATIONS AT THE TESTING PHASE
- Ensure that all windows are closed and latched
- Ensure that all doors are appropriately weather stripped and can be closed and latched.
- Attic hatches should be insulated and rest on weather stripping.
- All bath fans and range hoods should be completely installed
REQUIREMENTS FOR ACHIEVING A PASSING TEST RESULT
Follow the blower door checklist items below to ensure you pass with ease.
- The residence should be checked prior to scheduling the BD test for the items above
- Upon testing, the technician will tour the house to ensure these items are completed
- The technician will select an appropriate door and set up the BD testing equipment
- The house will be depressurized to determine the overall infiltration rate. This may take only a few minutes to produce results but requires that no one enter or exit the property for the duration of the test.
- If the results are compliant, the test is complete and a report will be produced by the end of the day.
- If the results are not compliant, the technician will set the test to a lower pressure and begin diagnostics on the residence to determine where the air flow may be occurring. This step in the process may take only a few minutes or may take as long as an hour to accurately determine the source of the non-compliant test results. The use of infrared (IR) scanning equipment is used to help locate leakage areas.
UPON COMPLETION OF BLOWER DOOR TESTING CHECKLIST
Regardless of testing results onsite, a report will be generated and sent to the client at the end of the day. If the results of the test were compliant with the applicable energy codes, the test is complete and the report can then be submitted to the local building department.
If the test was non-compliant, the report will offer recommendations for air sealing efforts to be performed and retesting will be needed once air sealing items have been completed.
If you want to see thermal images of common air leaks, read our blog on new construction blower door common air leaks.