What is a Blower Door Test?
In Case You Did Not Know: A blower door test is a diagnostic test that quantifies how much air moves in and out of a building. The primary reason to conduct a blower door test is to evaluate the continuity and integrity of the air barrier.
Air barriers are installed to control air leakage between the conditioned space and the outside. They can be located on the building’s exterior, interior, or anywhere in between. The leakier the air barrier the higher the blower door test numbers. Higher blower door numbers equate to more Air Changes per Hour (ACH).
Air Changes per Hour (ACH) is the number of times that the total air volume in a space is completely removed and replaced in one hour. In other words, all of the inside conditioned air is replaced with outside unconditioned air.
In 2012, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) started requiring blower door tests for residential construction. Since then, the requirements to pass a blower door test have only gotten stricter.
How Much Does a Blower Door Test Cost?
This depends on the size and complexity of the home. The smaller the home the quicker the preparation time. Expect prices to start around $350 dollars and climb from there.
Is a Blower Door Test Worth It?
I know you may be thinking it’s just another requirement on top of an already long list of things that need to be done when constructing a home. However consider this, good test results from a blower door can increase the resale value of your home.
When purchasing a new home, it’s wise to know how much energy it’s going to take to heat and cool the space. When buying a new vehicle, the miles per gallon the vehicle is expected to get is printed right on the sticker. Why not expect similar information to be available when purchasing a new home?
We predict that in the near future, it will be commonplace for builders and sellers to include blower door test results when listing a home for sale. In fact, one day it may also be a requirement.
Who Does Blower Door Testing?
Certification is required to perform blower door testing. Individuals must be either BPI (Building Performance Institute) Certified or a Certified HERS Rater. The latter not only does blower door testing but also Duct Leakage Testing and whole home energy modeling.
What is Whole Home Energy Modeling?
Whole Home Energy Modeling examines a building’s energy use by creating a virtual model before construction begins.
How Home Energy Modeling Works
Relevant data from the building plans and owner input are entered into energy modeling software. HVAC equipment efficiency, appliance efficiency, the quality and quantity of insulation, the integrity of the air barrier and more are all inputted. The software then predicts energy consumption and highlights optimization opportunities.
Modeling results are summed up on a Projected Rating Certificate issued by your HERS Rater. In most states, this Projected Rating Certificate is a required document when applying for a building permit.
Tip of The Day: When building a new home consult with your HERS Rater early on in the process. Bring him or her on board during the planning stages while the construction plans are still being developed. HERS Raters can provide valuable insight, helping you to make smart decisions while avoiding the pitfalls that inevitably come up when dealing with building departments and confusing energy codes.
RNC (Residential New Construction) or the R&A (Renovations and Additions) Program
In Other Related News: Whether you’re in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, ask your HERS Rater about the benefits of registering your new construction or major rehab project under the RNC (Residential New Construction) or the R&A (Renovations and Additions) Program. Registering is FREE and you may receive generous rebates and other incentives from the utility company serving your area.
Bottom Line: Homes today are not constructed the way they were a generation ago. They tend to be more durable, better insulated, have better indoor air quality, use less water, and use considerably less energy to operate. Expect this trend to continue as each state grapples with carbon reduction goals while building technology continues to develop.
Want to Learn More About Blower Door Tests & Home Energy Modeling?
If you’d like more information on how you can minimize energy consumption and maximize savings while making your home more comfortable all year round, then contact Energy Geeks. Our mission is to provide the most comprehensive and efficient solutions to reduce energy use in your home.