Important Code Information

Energy codes and associated building tightness requirements vary across the country. Building tightness is measured in ACH50, or Air Changes per Hour at 50 pascals of pressure. Depending on your state, the requirements could be as low at 3 ACH50 or as high as 7 ACH50, the latter allowing for a leakier home. When creating tighter energy efficient homes, it's also very important to consult your HVAC contractor about introducing fresh air to your system.

Additional State Specific IECC Code Information:

Blower Door Test

Blower door testing is a way to determine the "leakiness" of your home by depressurizing the building and measuring the rate at which air infiltrates through imperfections in the building envelope.

As part of this process, the house can be inspected further with additional tools to pinpoint potentially hidden air leaks (making it much easier to address them when the time comes to get to work). A blower door can also be used to test the effectiveness of improvements that have been made to a home, and to provide homeowners and contractors with a roadmap to further improve a home's efficiency. The blower door is also a key component of the AeroBarrier process.

Looking for best practices when it comes to passing a blower door test?Check out our recent article: How hard is it to pass a blower door test?

Duct Blast Test

Duct leakage testing can determine exactly how much energy your home or building is losing through leaky ducts, and how much money you could save by sealing those ducts.

A duct blaster is a sophisticated piece of diagnostic equipment which connects to your home's duct system and measures the rate at which ducts leak air. The duct blaster looks much like a blower door, and is essentially a high-powered fan that connects to a computer, where diagnostic software measures rates of air infiltration. Using the results of the duct blaster test can help determine whether a home or building would benefit from a duct sealing upgrade, and to what extent.

Thermal Imaging

A thermal imaging camera is utilized to evaluate the energy efficiency of a home by detecting and visualizing temperature variations in different areas of the property. The camera captures infrared radiation emitted by objects and surfaces, representing them as a color-coded thermal image. This imagery reveals temperature differences and can indicate areas of heat loss or air leakage in the home.

During an assessment, a trained professional or homeowner can use the thermal imaging camera to scan the interior and exterior of the house. Hot spots or cold spots on the camera's display indicate areas where insulation may be lacking, air leaks may be present, or where there could be potential energy inefficiencies. Common areas inspected include windows, doors, walls, ceilings, floors, and electrical outlets.

By identifying these thermal irregularities, homeowners can pinpoint areas that require attention for better energy efficiency. This information can guide efforts to improve insulation, seal air leaks, and enhance overall energy performance, ultimately reducing energy consumption and costs.

Energy Testing FAQs

What is a blower door used for?

A blower door test is a diagnostic procedure that measures the airtightness of a building by creating a pressure difference between the inside and outside. It involves using a powerful fan to either pressurize or depressurize the building while detecting air leaks. The test provides quantitative data, such as air changes per hour (ACH), to assess energy efficiency, locate air leaks, and verify building compliance. It helps improve energy efficiency, identify specific areas for sealing and insulation, and ensure the building meets standards and certifications.

How can I test my home for air tightness?

The Blower Door diagnostics tool is used throughout the building and construction industry to measure the air tightness of a building. This system includes a calibrated fan that provides either positive or negative pressure on the building. A manometer is connected to the fan and provides a pressure readout that is converted to you ACH50 (Air changes per hour at 50 pascals.)

What is ACH50, and What is a good ACH50?

ACH50 is the abbreviation for air changes per hour at 50 pascals (Pa) pressure differential. This is the most common metric used to determine the air tightness and energy efficiency of a home. It represents that total number of times the full volume of air inside a building can be sucked out (or pushed out) of the house at 50 pascals of pressure. In most climates zones where we install AeroBarrier, a decent ACH50 is between 3.0 and 5.0 with the lower number representing a tighter envelope. We often seal below 3.0 for our customers that want greatly improved efficiency. Once you get to 0.6 ACH50, you have reached Passive House certification levels that represent truly remarkable energy efficiency.

How much does a Blower Door cost?

A Blower Door test can be as little as $150 and up to $1,000 or more. It all depends on how much sealing is required to hit the target ACH50. At Green South Energy Solutions, we offer several options to achieve low ACH50 numbers. This can include manual sealing measures with can foam and caulk. We also offer AeroBarrier air seal technology services. AeroBarrier is a computer controlled air sealing process that can achieve any desired ACH50, even Passive House standards below .06 ACH50.

What is a duct blaster?

A duct blaster test is a diagnostic procedure that evaluates the airtightness and efficiency of a building's ductwork system. By pressurizing or depressurizing the ducts and measuring the resulting air leakage, the test assesses the system's performance and identifies areas for improvement. It helps locate and seal duct leaks, enhancing energy efficiency, improving indoor comfort, and optimizing the operation of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

How much does a duct blaster pressure test cost?

When duct blast testing a home, each HVAC system must be tested independently. You can expect to pay between $150 to $500, depending on the size and number of HVAC systems at the property.

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