Blower Door Testing – New Homes in Rhode Island

Blower Door Test in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
The new suite of building codes was adopted on July 1, 2013. Every permit application after Oct I, 2013 must be in compliance with the 2013 State Building Code (SBC). One of the requirements is a blower door test.

What is required to meet new home air leakage testing requirements?

Although air sealing has been part of the Energy Code for over a decade, a significant change to the Energy Code is the requirement to demonstrate compliance by testing for air leakage. The rules on how the blower door test is to be conducted are specific and should be followed. The results must be presented to the local building official in the form of Air Changes per Hour at 50 Pascals (ACH50). As of March 14, 2014 no specific guidelines for passing or failing the test exists. The only requirement is that a new home or building be tested.

An air leakage test can be performed at any time after all penetrations into the building have been sealed. Although, for best results wait until the home is complete and the floors are installed.

The building code states that testing will be performed by an approved third party where required by the building official. The Building Code Commission is reviewing legislation that will approve statewide credentials. As of today there is no standard in place. The builder is not allowed to perform the test.

Is a blower door test required for a gut rehab?

If as part of the reconstruction process all cavities, including walls, ceilings and floors are exposed then code requirements pertaining to air sealing thermal barriers and blower door testing shall be required.

Is a blower door test required for an addition to an existing home?

In general, an addition must comply with current building codes including the requirement for a blower door test. However because it is often difficult to separate a residential addition from the rest of the existing home a calculation of value may be used. If construction costs for the addition add up to less than 50% of the value of the existing structure then the blower door test requirement may be waived by the building official.
At Energy Geeks we do our best to keep you informed.

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Energy Geeks is a Home Performance Contractor serving both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Our primary focus is sustainability and efficiency as it pertains to energy use, water consumption, indoor air quality, land use and building design. So whether you are building a new home or adding an addition to an existing home, why not give the experienced and friendly staff at Energy Geeks a Call at 401-766-1540 or visit our website at