What Does a Blower Door Test Do?
Before making energy-efficient home improvements, it is crucial to know how your home is losing energy. You may have high monthly utility bills, feel drafts inside the house, and/or notice that your floors and walls are cold, but these are often symptoms of a larger problem.
When evaluating your home energy efficiency, it is important to think of your home as a system. Trained home energy professionals take a system-based approach to evaluating energy loss, and one of the most powerful tools we use is a blower door test.
At REenergizeCO, we perform the blower door test as part of a complete home energy audit. If you are looking to save on your home energy bills, improve the comfort and health of your home, and reduce your environmental impact, contact our team in Denver or Fort Collins today.
What Is a Blower Door Test?
Testing with a blower door helps us measure how airtight your home is. A blower door consists of a high-powered fan mounted in a panel that fits snugly in an exterior doorway of your house.
During the test, the fan draws the air from inside your home and blows it outdoors. As outside air infiltrates the structure, calibrated gauges on the blower door will enable the home energy auditor to monitor changes in air pressure inside the house. The more the air pressure rises, the more issues your home has with air leaks and infiltration.
Steps of a Blower Door Test
The home energy auditor will perform the blower door test during a visit to your home. Part of the audit will include a walkthrough of the house, during which you and the auditor can discuss any “problem areas” (such as drafty doors and windows, poor air circulation, etc.).
Before the home energy audit, there are a few ways you can get ready for the technician. The following can help you prepare for the blower door test and other diagnostic steps of the audit:
- Make sure all windows and interior doors are free of clutter – windows will need to be closed and interior doors open during the blower door test
- If you have a wood-burning stove, fireplace, etc., make sure the flame is extinguished and there are no live embers
- Turn off or adjust the controls on any combustion appliances – the technician will check the appliance settings before the test so they don’t start up while the blower door is running
Generally, you do not have to leave the house during the blower door test. In fact, you and the auditor can walk through your home while the fan is running to examine any spots with known air leaks.
What Can You Learn from a Blower Door Test?
The blower door test provides insights on the following:
- How well your home is sealed against outside air
- Possible leaks in and around doors, windows, the foundation, the attic, fixtures and appliances, etc.
- The flow of air through your home
- The effectiveness of your home insulation
Based on these findings, the home energy auditor can assess the energy efficiency of your house and make recommendations for improvements. Upgrading home insulation and other updates can improve the performance of your home, saving you money and enhancing your comfort.
Do I Need a Blower Door Test?
Over time, homeowners tend to develop a good understanding of how air flows through the house. You know which rooms get too hot, which rooms can get chilly or even damp, and where you can feel air from the outside environment entering the home.
The blower door test takes this a step further, enabling an energy audit firm to assess the overall performance of your home when it comes to retaining air on the inside and keeping outside air where it belongs.
When choosing a home energy audit company, it is important to hire professionals who are certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI). BPI-certified energy auditors have completed advanced education and training in building sciences. This background enables them to consider how all of the parts of your house work together, diagnose the issues that affect the home “system” as a whole, and provide comprehensive recommendations for improvements.
If you attempt to make energy-efficient improvements to the house yourself, you might overlook key issues that drive up your utility bills and affect the flow of air. A professional home energy audit can catch these problems. Data collected from the blower door test and other aspects of the audit can also reveal the most effective solutions for your home energy needs, potentially saving you money on any services in which you choose to invest.
Get Started on Your Home Energy Audit
A home energy audit is a comprehensive process for determining not only how your household uses energy but how the construction of your house impacts efficiency. BPI-certified energy auditors perform blower door tests and other advanced diagnostic testing to identify air leaks and provide targeted recommendations for improvements.
The team at REenergizeCO has the training, experience, and technology to assess your home effectively. Our team can help you with all aspects of the home energy audit, from scheduling your home visit to assisting with utility rebates to performing home upgrades.