As a homeowner it is imperative that you uncover every possible way to maximize your energy efficiency. Saving the environment is all well and good, and is certainly worth all of the efforts you put into it. But for most people the real motivation is saving money. Raising a family is an expensive effort, and no one is going to step in and help out with the rising costs of running a household. The prices at the gas pump seem to just keep going up and up, as do the utilities detailed on your monthly bills. You can go out and try to make more money, working harder or just looking for a second job, or you can look to ferret out inefficiencies you may not be aware of. If you are working with a central HVAC unit, you might want to consider having a blower door test as part of your home energy audit. So how exactly can blower door testing benefit your home?
Generally speaking, the goal of a blower door test is to try and understand how airtight your home currently is. You’ll use your heating and cooling systems to try and control the climate in your home, insuring everyone’s comfort and safety even in extreme temperatures. And your house doesn’t have to be airtight for these devices to basically do their jobs. But if there are elements in play that make your HVAC system work harder for the same result, you’re basically throwing money away.
The primary goal of a blower door test is to look for air leakage problems. The energy auditor places a strong fan onto the frame of one of your home’s internal doorways. When switched on, the fan draws air outside, which in turn decreases the internal air pressure. This forces the air outside to push inwards through any leaking seals. Your energy auditor will use a simple smoke pencil to determine where the leaks are coming from, and exactly how significant each leak is. Once you know where the leaks are you can have them filled. That keeps the air you are paying to heat or cool inside your home, instead of outside flowing into the yard. That will instantly cut down on your energy consumption and save you money.
Blower door testing will also help you cut down on condensation issues inside your home. Condensation occurs when the seals in the house aren’t airtight. Think about a space shuttle. The windows in the hull protect our astronauts from the sub zero temperatures of open space. If the seals weren’t airtight condensation would form on the inside, and in this particular case death would quickly follow. Things aren’t quite that dramatic in your home, but if you’ve ever noticed a build up of condensation on the inside of a window that means there is a faulty seal somewhere. Not only are you leaking air, but you’re creating the sort of environment where mold and mildew can form, wood can be compromised, and expensive repairs will become inevitable. You can stick to a schedule that has you regularly cleaning an air conditioner, but if you don’t manage the air leakage in your home you’ll face the chill of drafts, poor air quality and a spiking electric bill that you won’t be able to impact.