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New Construction City of Houston Blower Door

What is a Blower Door?

A blower door test is a way to check how air-tight a structure is. It is designed to check for air leaks in walls, attics, and mechanical penetrations. While a blower door test does not evaluate how well a structure is insulated, it can reveal drafty walls and air-bypass situations that could undermine otherwise well insulated wall assemblies. A poorly sealed houses will have higher utility bills, issues with comfort, and potential mold and rot issues caused by moisture.  Blower door testing can be carried out on residential homes, commercial structures, and industrial buildings. In some states they are required by code for residential areas. (Always check with your local building codes).

While the blower test is being conducted, the analyst may use an infrared camera to look at the walls, ceilings, and floors, to find specific locations where insulation is missing, and air is leaking. The analyst may also use a nontoxic smoke pencil to detect air leaks in your home. These tests determine the air infiltration rate of your home, which is recorded on a laptop or tablet.

The test is conducted as part of the energy assessment of your home. Your contractor may also operate the blower door while performing air sealing (a method known as blower door assisted air sealing), and after to measure and verify the level of air leakage reduction achieved.

Blower doors consist of a frame and flexible panel that fit in a doorway, a variable-speed fan, a digital pressure gauge to measure the pressure differences inside and outside the home, which are connected to a device for measuring airflow, known as a manometer.

There are two types of blower doors: calibrated and uncalibrated. It is important that auditors use a calibrated door. This type of blower door has several gauges that measure the amount of air flowing out of the house through the fan.

Uncalibrated blower doors can only locate leaks in homes. They provide no method for determining the overall tightness of the home.

The calibrated blower door’s data allow your contractor to quantify the amount of air leakage prior to installation of air-sealing improvements, and the reduction in leakage achieved after air-sealing is completed.

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