The best way to determine the energy efficiency of a client’s home is to have an energy audit performed. In Arizona, energy audits that are performed by certified energy auditors are subsidized by SRP and APS, with a final cost to the homeowner of only $99.
In this blog post, Part 1 of Energy Audits, I will talk about the various tests an energy auditor does as part of an energy audit. In this post, I will cover blower door tests.
A blower door test is a testing method used by professional energy auditors and raters to help determine a home’s airtightness. There are numerous benefits to making sure a home is properly air tight. Having an airtight home reduces energy consumption due to air leakage, helps avoid moisture and condensation problems, helps avoid uncomfortable drafts caused by cold air leaking in from the outdoors, and makes sure that the home’s air quality is not too contaminated by indoor air pollution.
A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts directly into the frame of an exterior door. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the interior air pressure. As a result, the higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed cracks and openings. The auditors may use a thermal imaging camera and a smoke pencil to help them detect air leaks.
Once air leaks are discovered in a home, depending on their location and size, they can often be fixed at an inexpensive price point. The identification and remediation of sources of energy loss in a home can result in significant savings through improved energy efficiency.
Be aware to as whether or not your energy auditor is using a calibrated blower door, which is proven to be more effective than one that is uncalibrated. Also be aware that some contractors who market themselves as being able to perform blower door tests may not have the appropriate education or certification to accurately perform and analyze the results. To avoid this, testing should be performed by certified contractors, such as Home Energy Rating Systems raters, Building Performance Institute® analysts, or Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® contractors.