How the Blower Door Figures Into Your Home Energy Audit

June 5, 2013
Ross and Witmer

Home energy audits are designed to locate drafts in your home that undermine your best efforts to save energy. If your audit includes a blower door test, you can virtually be assured to save between 5 and 30 percent a year on your energy bill if you heed the findings.

Think of a blower door test as the big gun component of home energy audits. It not only isolates drafts but identifies condensation problems (important to thwart outbreaks of mold) and indoor air contaminants (vital to your home’s indoor air quality).

Blower door tests consist of several parts: a panel that affixes to a doorway, a multiple-speed fan, a pressure gauge (to measure the difference in pressure from the interior and exterior of a home) and an airflow manometer (which measures airflow).

To create the right conditions for a blower door test:

  • Windows and doors must be closed
  • The fireplace damper and door must be shut
  • Thermostats must be turned down, if not off

Conducted by a professional energy auditor, a blower test begins when the auditor turns on the fan to pull air out of the home. With the indoor air pressure lowered, the higher outdoor pressure filters directly in through unsealed cracks, holes and other gaps and openings.

And this is where the true fun and discovery begins. The auditor may use a smoke pencil to detect drafts. As its name implies, the pencil emits smoke at the press of a button. The movement of the smoke confirms the presence of a leak.

Or the auditor may use a thermal scan with infrared video. Think of this tool as an X-ray, revealing in images exactly where a home is leaking air and where it might need more insulation. Even more tellingly, it can record where abnormal temperature variations may exist.

Believe it or not, blower door results can be yours in about an hour, arming you with the information you need to make your home airtight and more energy efficient. Contact us at Ross & Witmer to schedule a blower door test and develop an educational picture of your home today.

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