Why You Need Blower Door Testing

This article first appeared in issue 304 of Fine Homebuilding Magazine.

I bought my first blower door in 2009, back when new construction was in a downturn and energy auditing and weatherization projects were on the rise.  I took a 40-hour energy auditing training course at a local college which included hands-on training on how to use a blower door.  It took many tests before I became comfortable in its operation and understood the information it was providing.  Though one of the more expensive tools I own, I’ve been able to keep it busy and add this specialized testing to my business’s income stream.

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Duct Tightness Testing

This post originally appeared on the Green Building Advisor website.

Testing air leakage in ductwork used for forced air heating and cooling systems has been required since the 2012 IRC code.  The 2012 through the 2018 code allowed a testing exemption for all ductwork located inside the building envelope.  In other words, if you kept all ductwork inside the thermal and air boundary of the building, no testing was required.  That has changed for the 2021 energy code.

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Testing-Failed a Code Required Blower Door Test, Now What?

2012 was the first year the International Energy Conservation Code required residential construction to pass an air leakage rate test, better known as a blower door test.  My area of the country requires the test to be at or below 3 air changes per hour at the test pressure of 50 pascals (ACH50).  (Other areas, typically warmer climates require 5 ACH50.)  Most new construction in my market has no problem passing the test, but I have had a handful of houses fail, usually the failed tests are by a builder having their first blower door test or the project is a very small home.

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Testing-Setting up a Home for a Blower Door Test

This post was originally published in the April 2022 issue of the Journal of Light Construction.  www.jlconline.com

Blower door testing a home requires much more than simply setting up the equipment and running the test.

When setting up a house for a blower door test, should you seal off the bath fans? How do you address that six-inch combustion air vent in the mechanical room?  Should the overhead garage door in the attached garage be open or closed? Continue reading “Testing-Setting up a Home for a Blower Door Test”