September 17, 2014

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Energy Evaluation Basics: What the Blower Door Test Entails

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If you live in an older home, or you’ve noticed your energy bills steadily climbing, it may be time for an energy evaluation. Sure, you could go through your homeidentifying potentially leaky areas, but you’ll get better, targeted results with a professional energy evaluation. That’s mainly because a professional job involves the use of a blower door test. Learn how the test works, and why it’s a critical component to tightening up your home’s envelope.

What is a blower door test?

A blower door device consists of these components:

  • A frame that fits into a doorway
  • A covering that runs along the perimeter of the frame
  • Hinges that allow the frame to adjust, fitting into any exterior door
  • Gauges that measure air pressure
  • A high-powered fan

After the blower door is put in place, and all doors and windows have been closed, the blower is activated, sucking air out of the house. This depressurizes the house until the pressure differential between inside and outside reaches a standard amount. At that point, a computer measures how much airflow is required to keep the home at the standard pressure level. A higher number will indicate more air leaks, which make it harder for the blower to maintain the pressure.

To identify where the leaks are occurring, the technician may move about the home with a smoke pencil, looking for areas where air movement makes the smoke waver. They may also use a more sophisticated test using an infrared scan to both identify the location of air leaks and find where insulation is lacking. This points out where air leaks need to be sealed and insulation needs to be upgraded.

Why should you have a blower door test performed on your home?

With the results of the blower door test, you can run the numbers with the auditor to determine the potential payback of efforts to seal the home’s perimeter. Keeping more air inside the home prevents high energy bills in summer and winter.

For more information about home energy evaluations, or to schedule a blower door test, please contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We provide quality HVAC and plumbing services to the greater Cleveland area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Western Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about energy evaluations and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!