According to the Department of Energy and the Kansas Building Science Institute, the average home in the United States uses 1½ to 2 times as much energy for comfort and convenience as an energy efficient home. In addition, it’s possible to save up to $300 per year just by sealing up air leaks!
But how do you know what areas of your home can be sealed up to prevent air leakage? That’s where a blower door test can be invaluable, according to C Derek. Thrower III, BPI Building analyst, Who also adds, “excessive leakage of outside air can account for 25% to 50% of utility bill usage”.
Mr. Thrower, who consults on energy efficiency measures in residential residences, can help consumers pinpoint and prioritize needed improvements for household comfort, and maximize those measures to save on both wasted energy and money. “Do you first choose the worst problem, the cheapest or the one that’s easiest to fix? It’s hard to know without a standard to measure the results by,” says Mr. Thrower. A blower door test provides that standard.
“In addition, a blower door test can identify health concerns, such as back-drafting that can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning; entry points for radon, which may need to be mitigated; and poor ventilation that may lead to mold problems,” adds Mr. Thrower
How a blower door test works:
- A blower door is exactly that: a tight door fitted into an existing outside doorway.
- The door has a powerful fan on it that pulls a very slight vacuum in the home.
- All doors and windows are closed for the operation, and the technician monitors and records the air flow in and out of the home, while it’s under the pressure of the fan.
- The monitoring indicates where and how much air is infiltrating, and consequently, what locations may need tightening.
- By analyzing the data, the blower door technician can provide individualized recommendations for improving energy efficiency.
Specific recommendations(scopes) will vary from home to home, but may include:
- Caulking and weather stripping
- Fireplace inserts
- New sweep seals on doors
- Foam inserts and safety plugs on outlet covers
- Adding insulation
- Radon testing/mitigation
Mr. Thrower notes that consumers often have preconceived notions of where their home’s energy loss occurs, and many times they’re surprised to find where the biggest leaks turn out to be. The test removes the confusion and doubt about what types of “fixes” will be most cost effective.
For more information: C. Derek Thrower III, Amaya Comfort Solutions, Pittsburgh, Pa , 412-583-7037 CDerek682@gmail.com.