Efficient energy usage continues to be a concern for end-users, utility companies, and government agencies. Air leakage is one of the number one causes of poor energy consumption. In some households, energy bills equate to 17% of the total income in the home hence the concern.
This article will describe the code requirements as well as discuss how a blower door works.
The State of Michigan now requires a blower door test on a newly constructed dwelling or on a dwelling that is getting an addition built and the addition’s area is larger than 500 square feet. A blower door is a device that causes a negative pressure in the building or structure. This negative pressure allows for the outside air to come into the building. The blower door controls the pressure and flow of the depressurization and it can quantify how much air leakage is entering the house. Air leakage for a home is extremely important. If it is excessive, this will cause your heating and cooling system to work harder. To help understand where the leakage is coming from, a thermal imaging camera is often used with a blower door to help understand where the leakage is occurring. Reducing air leaks can have a substantial impact on energy consumption in a building.
To successfully meet the code’s requirement, the building or dwelling must have an air leakage rate of 4 ACH (air changes per hour) or less. Testing of the dwelling is performed at a pressure of 0.2 inches of water column or 50 pascals. To avoid a conflict of interest, the building owner or general contractor must have the test performed by a certified independent third party. After the test is completed, the test results should be documented and signed by the third-party testing agency. The test is performed after the building’s penetrations i.e., windows, doors, and skylights, have been completed.
Achieving less than four air changes per hour is not hard. It does require attention to detail and planning during the construction of the dwelling. If the proper construction techniques are observed, we generally test homes that easily fall into the 1 – 2 air changes per hour. Air Sealing and properly insulating the home has the largest impact on achieving less than four air changes per hour. If these measures were not performed, the test would fail and air sealing as an afterthought is expensive and often does not go as planned. If a test fails, we can help. We can use a thermal imaging camera while the blower door runs to find areas where air leakage could be excessive.
Air Doctors Heating and Cooling, LLC are a fully licensed and insured heating and air conditioning company that serves most Southeast Michigan municipalities. Our staff is fully certified and pre-screened to provide our customers with a safe and satisfying experience. With over 100 years of combined industry experience, we take pride in solving all of your comfort needs. We are a family-based business that has been providing quality service to our neighbors for over 40 years. Contact us today to get started.