Blower door and duct pressure testing are two main ways we can measure aspects of a home’s performance.
Blower Door Test:
A blower door test is a diagnostic procedure performed by a certified professional to identify air leakage in a building. It simulates observing the home (or building) with a 20 mile per hour wind blowing on all sides and top and bottom. Wherever air can enter through gaps, cracks, or other voids, it will. An evaluator uses this test to confirm or discover paths of least resistance and areas that can be addressed through energy efficient upgrades such as air sealing. It also quantifies the amount of air leakage. Based on the volume of the home, the blower door test tells us if the home is within the recommended air flow standard. This also serves as a baseline or starting point so that we can quantify the reduction in air leakage after performing energy efficient upgrades on existing homes. For new construction homes to meet Energy Code standards, they must not leak beyond a predetermined amount (known as “air changes per hour” at 50 pascals of pressure or “ACH50”). We calculate ACH50 by using the cubic feet per minute for each individual home and its volume.
Duct Pressure Test:
A duct pressure test measures the amount of leakage in a duct system and air handler. We mainly use this test in new construction homes to ensure the systems meet Energy Code requirements. For this test, we cover all registers/vents and attach our duct testing fan and manometer to a central return. Duct leakage is calculated based on the square footage area that the system heats and cools. If a system in a new construction home does not meet the requirements, we can pressurize the system and use a smoke pen to find leaks. We then use mastic paste or special tape to properly seal the system.