The blower door test is an essential part of a home energy audit because it enables the energy auditor or HVAC technician to find precisely where the air is leaking into homes. Those leaks can be hard to find and may seem small, but if there are enough of them, it’s like living with an open window, raising the cost of heating and cooling your home.
A blower door has a powerful fan mounted inside an adjustable frame. A calibrated door has gauges that measure the air pressure, which helps the technicians determine how much air infiltration your home has. Homes with few air leaks maintain a negative air pressure better than homes with a lot of leaks. More air entering your home makes it harder for the fan to maintain negative pressure inside.
Before turning on the fan, the technicians close all the windows, open the interior doors, and extinguish any gas appliances. They turn the fan on and use thermal imaging equipment or harmless smoke pencils to determine exactly where the leaks are. Thermal imagery equipment works well when temperatures outdoors are 20 degrees cooler or warmer than the interior, while the smoke pencils work when temperatures are about the same outside as they are indoors.
The most common places where leaks are found are around window and exterior door frames, recessed lighting fixtures, places where pipes, cables or wires enter the home, around dryer vents, or in the attic.
Once the blower door test has shown where the issues in your home are, you can start to seal the leaks. Caulk is good for small leaks and expanding foam works well for holes around pipes or cables. Recessed light fixtures need to be insulated carefully, since the wiring needs careful treatment. Leaks around chimneys and flues also need special consideration, since temperatures can be hot around these pipes.
If you’d like more information about a blower door test, contact AirRite Air Conditioning Company. We’ve provided HVAC services for the Fort Worth and Arlington area since 1955.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about energy audits and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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