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A blower door test is a critical component of a whole-house energy audit. It identifies air leakage locations and is a measure of the “leakiness” of your home. It is also a requirement of many green and energy efficient building standards in Nebraska and across the country.
You may have seen bright red door covers pop up occasionally on houses in and around Omaha for a few hours at a time, and wondered what you were looking at. That was a blower door. They’re not all red, but those ones are most noticeable!
The blower door unit is a large fan that sits in an adjustable nylon frame (the red part you’ve seen from the street) that fits into your main entry door frame. Nothing is done to your door, except it is left open while the blower door unit is in place. When the fan is turned on, it pulls air from the house, causing a slightly lower pressure inside the house than outside.
By depressurizing your home with the blower door, we can measure the rate at which air leaks in through all of the small cracks and gaps in the building envelope.
The blower door fan is attached to a manometer (a gauge that measures airflow and the relative leakiness of a building). The test results are measured in Air Changes per Hour (ACH), that is, how many times the volume of air in a building is changed in one hour. The higher the ACH rate, the leakier the house.
By measuring the rate at which your house leaks, we're able to assess how much energy (and money) your home is losing -- and where it’s being lost. We look for air leakage in places like:
As part of the energy inspection process, we use a smoke stick to pinpoint air leaks. An infrared camera can also be used at the same time as a blower door to visualize hidden leakage areas known as thermal bypasses.
As part of a whole house energy audit, the results from a blower door test are used to calculate how much you're likely to save by having some air sealing work done.
Air leakage is the biggest cause of energy loss and cold drafts. Air sealing is the easiest, most cost-effective way of improving comfort and reducing energy bills. It should always be done before insulation upgrades to ensure maximum effectiveness.
We also offer blower door testing as an isolated service to test the effectiveness of improvements that have been made to your home, and to provide homeowners and contractors with a roadmap to further improve a home's efficiency.