You’ve recently noticed that there are air leakages in your home, which could result from unsealed vents, unsealed electrical outlets, pipes, porch roof, plumbing vents, furnace flue, or baseboards. You can conduct several tests to identify where the air is escaping from; a blower door test is the most common one.
As part of a home energy audit, the blower door test is aimed at determining the airtightness of your house. Air leakage causes high energy consumption, drafts, pest, and moisture condensation problems. Hence, house owners hire professional energy advisers to blow-test their doors for energy inefficiency.
Air leakage leads to energy inefficiency resulting in high energy bills and discomfort. Continue reading this article if you want to know more about the purpose and cost of a blower door test.
What Is The Purpose Of The Blower Door Test?
The primary purpose of the blower door test is to ascertain the amount of air leakage from a house. Suppose you have observed an air irregularity in your house, and your utility bill has increased due to air leakage; you will have to call professional energy auditors to conduct a blower door test.
The blower door test effectively identifies where air may escape or enter your house. Carrying out the test also enables you to fix air leakage openings. To avoid paying high energy bills and living uncomfortably, you should conduct a home energy audit.
Below are some of the benefits of a blower door test
1. A Blower Door Test Increases Energy Efficiency
Suppose you are not consistently getting the air you want, even when you have the supply systems running. In that case, you are not maximizing your energy usage because you will spend more to have the air you want, and this could mean that there is a crack or opening where another air is entering and yours escaping from.
Hence you will need to conduct a blower door test to identify the opening where the air is entering or leaking. This will reduce your energy bills as your house will be energy efficient after the test.
2. A Blower Door Test Prevents Draft
Drafts make your living space uncomfortable. If there are cracks and openings, be sure that drafty air will enter your house, which will cause discomfort. A blower door test helps you to pinpoint unsealed holes and cracks so that you can cover them, and drafty air will not leak in.
3. Prevent Pests And Foul Odors From Entering Your House
Crawling and flying insects can find themselves inside your house through unsealed openings and cracks. With a blower door test, you will know where the exact opening is, and you can cover it.
4. It Determines The Quality And Quantity Of Air You Need
A blower door test measures the amount of air you need. If you are unsure how much air your heating or cooling system gives, you can conduct a blower door test. Also, you are certain of your air quality because there will be no opening for another air to enter.
How Much Does A Blower Door Test Cost
A blower door test costs between $200 and $450. This cost is dependent on the energy company and your location. But on average, you may spend around $325. If you want to measure the extent of air leakage from your house and are uncertain about the leaking points, a blower door test is what you should do.
You pay higher utility bills when you have air leakage in your house. A blower door test is a profitable project that will help you save costs because your house will become airtight, and the air leakage will be addressed.
Residential Blower Door Test Cost
House owners do not want to keep losing energy and paying high energy costs. A blower door test for a residential house is $350. Although the cost depends on the kind of house, the cost covers the test and certificate. The blower door cost for a duplex is $600.
The cost of the blower door test generally depends on the house type, the location of the house, and the energy service company. House owners will save costs with a blower door test and keep pests and contaminated odors from entering their houses.
How Long Does A Blower Door Test Take?
A blower door test can be completed in half an hour or less. The blower door test duration depends on the house’s size and the extent of leakage. If you are auditing your home energy, the test should take about 1-2 hours. The blower door test is suitable for a house that has been fully completed or renovated.
The test breakdown time is as follows:
- Installation of the blower door – 5 to 10 mins
- Examining the house and preparation – 10 minutes
- The door test and pinpointing of the air leakage channel – 10 minutes
- If you are going to examine the leakage sites, you may spend between 15 to 20 minutes.
Is A Blower Door Test Worth It?
Yes, a blower door test is worth it. You will not only save money with a blower door test, but you will be creating comfort for yourself and saving the environment; leaving your house to air leakage results in energy wastage which will cause you to pay high electricity bills and bring discomfort.
Air may escape through unsealed pipes, wiring holes, windows, external doors, loft hatch, recessed lighting, and unsealed vents, and you may need help to pinpoint the exact point of air loss. If you don’t find the place, you will make up for the lost air by paying high electricity bills.
Instead of spending so much on utility bills, you can call a certified energy auditing company to conduct the blower door test. You will save energy, cost, and the environment.
How To Conduct Blower Door Test
Measuring your house’s airtightness is important because it helps conserve energy, save costs, and keep out pests and contaminated odors. The environment also benefits from the blower door test due to not release of carbon that will damage the planet and cause global warming.
Below is the step-by-step guide on how to conduct a blower door test.
- Step 1: Ensure That All Open Flame Has Been Quenched
Before you start the test, cross-check that all open fires like candles, stoves, or fireplaces have been extinguished. If you have a fireplace, cover it with damp paper so the fan will not suck its ashes.
- Step 2: Open All Interior Doors And Close Exterior Doors And Windows
Ensure interior doors are not closed so air can freely flow in the house. Close all exterior doors and windows except the door that will be used.
- Step 3: Put Off All Gas Equipment And Thermostats, ACs, And Fans
You must turn off all your gas appliances before you start the test. This ensures that the gas fume does not mix with the air from the test. Also, turn off all electrical appliances, air conditioners, fans, and thermostats.
- Step 4: Fix The Blower Door Into The Exterior door
After all preparations, you can mount the blower door at the outer opening. This work is best done by a professional, but if you are ready to take up the challenge, well done! After mounting the blower door, turn on the fan to absorb the inside air and send it through any openings.
You can follow the blower door test manual to set up and how the test is done. With the test, you can also measure airflow with a manometer.
- Step 5: Put On The Fan
After you have mounted the blower door test, put on the fan and run the test. The air leakage instrument will measure the air escaping from the test.
- Step 6: Examine For Leakage
While the test is running, you must examine your house closely for any leakage points. You can go around the house for a proper examination.
- Step 7: Repair The Leakage points
After discovering the leakage points, you can seal them so they will no longer air escape. If the openings require a professional, you can mark the spot so that you call them later.
- Step 8: Re-Do The Test
When you are done with repairing the leakage points, re-do the test at a higher fan pressure. You may find other leakage points, and be sure that the former openings have been sealed.
- Step 9: Clean Up
After sealing all openings, you can return the house to its original state. Turn on the heater, gas, electrical appliances, and stove. Also, clean up the workspace and the entire building if dirt.
What Is The First Thing You Do When Starting A Blower Door Test?
Before starting a blower door test, the first thing is to open all interior doors and close all exterior doors. Since the interior air will be sucked out, there has to be a path for the airflow. Closing any interior door will block the room from being sucked out.
If any exterior door or window is open, it will be challenging to identify the exact leakage point because the interior air will go from there. Also, you need to turn off all electrical and gas equipment. Air conditioners and thermostats should also be turned off.
How Do I Prepare My House For Blower Door Test?
Before you start a blower door test, there are a few things you have to do in your house so that the test can run smoothly and successfully. Below is a list of what you must do to prepare your house for a blower door test.
- Opening All Interior Doors: One of the first things to prepare your house for a blower door test is to open all the interior doors so that the inside air can be released when the fan is sucking it.
- Turning Off Air conditioners And Heaters: You must turn off your house’s air conditioner and heaters so that the internal air movement will not be obstructed and that all openings can be easily identified.
- Closing All Windows And Exterior Doors: The third preparation step is to close all windows and exterior doors, except for the one you will conduct the test. Closing outer doors help you pinpoint the exact air leakage point.
- Turn Off Open Fire Places: You must turn off all open fire flames like candles, dampers, stoves, grates, or fireplaces. Also, shut off every piece of equipment that takes in and sen out air. Cover the ashes from your fireplace so that the particles will not be scattered all over the room.
When Should You Do A Blower Door Test?
A blower door test helps to know the cost of your energy expenses. You can conduct the test in both a new and renovated house. For a newly constructed house, a blower door test is done after it has been painted, windows and doors have been fixed, and a weather stripping material has been installed.
You can still conduct the test for an existing house, especially if you notice any surge in utility bills due to air leakage. When air escapes from your house, you tend to pay high utility bills and feel discomfort.
Can I Be In The House During A Blower Door Test?
Being in the house during a blower door test will be uncomfortable because the test will depressurize the interior of the building, and all windows and doors will be closed, so you may find the house unbearable.