The Blower Door Test…The Pressure Is On!
By Corey McCloskey, Customer Response Team Representative
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”
William Arthur Ward
I will readily admit that leading off this blog with a somewhat cliché quote I borrowed from a man who made a living out of spouting somewhat cliché quotes as a motivational speaker wasn’t my first choice of direction. Or my second. It does, however, relate to the subject of the day: the blower door test. It also serves as a lovely metaphor for Cedarglen’s unrelenting pursuit of innovation, quality and, ultimately, value for our homeowners, by constantly evaluating and adapting to the ever-changing world of residential construction and meeting those changes head-on. If you promise to stop rolling your eyes, I promise I’ll lay off the cheese.
Way back in early July, in this very newsletter, we ran a blog which introduced readers to the National Energy Code changes coming our way this fall, and pointed to the features of our EnerGuide 80 initiative. Since then, I’ve penned a couple of blogs focusing on two of the energy efficient technologies included with the EnerGuide package which are considered, when entered into a grading system, to determine your home’s EnerGuide rating. These, along with the other points noted in that blog, are only part of the equation.
Saving energy by using green, more efficient products and technologies is important, but we won’t be outgrowing our dependency on energy anytime soon. Another important factor is your home’s ability to retain the energy you’ve already used and, when it comes to heating and cooling seasons, that means maintaining your indoor environmental conditions with as little energy as possible. The building envelope of your home is the system of materials and finishes which separate indoor and outdoor environments, but that isn’t worth much to anyone if you’re constantly losing heat to the outdoors all winter. We want this envelope as air tight as possible, which is exactly what the blower door test is for.
The furnace in your home moves air with the assistance of a fan, which in turn pressurizes the interior of your home. Just like a slow leak on a tire, penetrations in the building envelope will permit air out and, when we’re talking about energy efficiency, that isn’t a good thing. The blower door test device combines a sealed door insert, variable speed fan unit, and diagnostic equipment, which is installed in the opening of an exterior door. When fired up, the unit forces the air out of your home which, in turn, depressurizes the structure. By measuring the volume of air moving through your home, the blower door test calculates air changes per hour (ACH), which is the number of times the entire volume of air in the building is exchanged in an hour. This value is applied to the EnerGuide rating system, as well, as it’s a measurable indication of the performance of your home’s air tightness.
Remember that whole adjusting the sails bit? At Cedarglen, we’ve known this stuff for a while, and we’ve been depressurizing every home and checking the building envelope for trouble spots at your Insulation Inspection for years. The practical benefits of this process has virtually eliminated building envelope warranty and service claims here at Cedarglen, reduces energy consumption during and after construction, and give us the confidence to proudly proclaim that every standard elevation on every standard lot purchased in 2016 will meet or exceed EnerGuide 80. In the end, our homes are more efficient and use less energy, meaning everybody saves money. And I’m not blowing hot air!
Have a great weekend,