Blower door test

OaktownAugust 23, 2014

We will have our final blower door test next week. We should not have any trouble passing since pre-drywall we already were well under what is required here. But, I heard the supervisor reminding the site folks to make sure sink stoppers are closed, toilet lids, dryer vent is closed, etc. Is that typical? Seems like it wouldn't reflect how the house normally will be used (then again, we're in a mild climate and we like to open windows anyway). Just curious.

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You've made my day Oaktown. Its good to see people taking an interest in the quality and energy efficiency of their building projects. There is no better measurement of a home's hidden level of quality and attention to detail than a blower door test.

You're correct that this important diagnostic should be done just as the house would normally be operating. Closing sink stoppers and toilet lids is a new one to me! P-traps and toilets should have water in them. Its fine for dryer and other exhaust vents to have their dampers on as normal but they should NOT be taping them or covering them in any other way.

Your home probably will have no problem "passing" if its the minimum building codes that you are referring to. Blower door test minimiums are a joke compared to the levels of insulation called for in the current international building codes. I suspect the upcoming 2015 revision will tighten things up but there will probably still be room for cost-effective improvements. Personally, I think blower door tests in all climates should be aiming for 1.5 ACH50 or less for the levels of insulation currently called for in current energy codes.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:45PM
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I once heard 'the best' hvac know the one
who knows 'everything' tell a homeowner that keeping
the toilet lid open was contributing to high RH in the house.
had nothing to do with the grossly oversized hvac system
of course!!

I always tape off dryer vents...usually doing my testing
prior to appliance installs, so vent is just thru wall.
and fyi...the louvers on the dryer vent..not air tight..
so taping them off works for me.

"Personally, I think blower door tests in all climates should be aiming for 1.5 ACH50 or less for the levels of insulation currently called for in current energy codes. "

amen to that! add to it that every state should have to adopt
new energy codes.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 1:52PM
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Thanks for the info.

I forgot to ask -- are you supposed to subtract the volume of the interior walls? Not sure whether or not the test people did this the prior times.

I am now thinking the "closing the sink stoppers" etc. probably is about bragging rights for the builder to see how low they can get. The final test is required for HERS rating/Title 24.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 5:32PM
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