Blower Door Test

  • Are parts of your home cold and others hot in the winter?
  • Do you ever feel uncomfortably warm even when your air conditioning is running?
  • Do you wish your utility bills weren’t so high?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, Arctic can help.

 

Take our HVAC survey for money off your next visit. (Print and present to Arctic Representative)

 

The Envelope

The heating and cooling equipment in your home is only part of the equation of the heating and cooling efficiency in your home. The efficiency of the building envelope (outer walls, floor, ceiling or roof) also requires attention. A heating system provides heat and the house uses (or wastes) it in exact balance.

The heating equipment takes about 15¢ from every dollar of energy cost to operate itself. The house takes the remaining 85¢. While increasing heating equipment energy efficiency is worthwhile, the major saving is found in controlling heat loss from your house.

 

Air Leaks VS Insulation

To increase the energy efficiency and improve the cost of heating or cooling, most homeowners automatically assume that insulation is the answer. However, insulation is not the whole story. In most homes air leakage is the biggest cause of loss of heating dollars.

Houses leak air because of the difference between indoor and outdoor air pressure. Imagine your house as a hot air balloon. The biggest pressure differences are high and low in a building. Holes in these areas typically leak more air than holes in the middle. Warm air rises and leaks out any unsealed areas at the top of the building. Leaks inward tend to be at the bottom of the structure, pulling in cool air. Most homes in the Chicago land area are 2 story with basements, which provides the perfect scenario for this pressure difference, known as the Stack Effect.

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What is Blower Door Testing?

THREE STEPS TO FIX AIR LEAKS

In the past, finding air leaks in a house was a hit or miss proposition. Now we have an objective three-step process to find and fix leaks in houses. They are: 1) Finding air leaks, 2) Fixing the problem areas, and 3) Verifying that the leaks have been sealed.

A blower door is used to both find and measure air leakage. The number of air changes per hour (the complete replacement of the indoor air volume of the house in an hour) at a standard pressure differential (pressure inside the house minus pressure outside the house, measured in Pascals) tells us how the house is performing, and where problems are.

The blower door test places a home under a known pressure and then measures how much airflow is required to maintain the pressure difference between indoors and outdoors. The tighter the house, the less air the blower door must move to maintain a given pressure. Besides measuring the air tightness of the house, it also helps to pinpoint specific air leaks.

 

1) Finding the air leaks

To conduct a blower door test, technicians close all openings within the heated area of the house. They then seal a special, powerful fan within an exterior-door opening. The fan pulls air from the house. Gauges measure the difference between indoor and outdoor air pressures, as well as the air flow through the fan. The technicians adjust the fan to maintain a constant pressure differential and take readings, which they use to calculate the leakage rate.

During the test, outdoor pressure forces air through openings in the building envelope. It is easy to feel these leaks with bare hands. The technicians may also use squeeze bottles containing a chemical that combines with air to produce a puff of smoke. Leaks are unmistakable. The technicians record the exact locations of problem areas and give a report to the homeowner. This report will be very useful in the next stage of the process.

 

2) Fixing the air leaks

The homeowner or contractor seals the identified leaks with materials that include foam, acrylic adhesive tape commonly used to tape air barriers, acoustical sealant, polyurethane caulk, polyethylene sheet, and rigid foam.

 

3) Verification

The final phase is verification. After leaks are sealed, the blower door test can be repeated to measure improvement on the air tightness of the home. It may point out an area or two that needs more sealing, or it may confirm that the job has been done well.

The blower door test is a proven, objective means to identify air leaks in a home. It removes the guesswork of weatherizing and improving a building’s efficiency and comfort. Thus it is an invaluable ally to both homeowners and contractors.

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Want to know if your home needs a HVAC check up?

 

Take our HVAC survey for money off your next visit. (Print and present to Arctic Representative)

 

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We are your local, year-round, comfort experts.

Crystal Lake, IL based Arctic Heating and Cooling is a full-service air conditioning and heating contracting company with the ability to service and install complete heating and air conditioning systems. In addition to scheduled service checks, repairing of existing equipment, and installation of new equipment, we can help you find ways to reduce your energy bills through a thorough blower door testing and cost-benefits analysis. We have an extensive history of repair service on all brands of central air conditioning heating systems and furnaces. You can count on Arctic Heating & Cooling to do the job right.

“My second floor is too hot and my main floor is too cold. Can anything be done about this?”

Arctic Answer:

“Absolutely! We can do what is called a “blower door test” to find out where the heat is …READ MORE

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