A blower test is the industry standard when it comes to auditing your home for energy efficiency. Of course, you could use other methods to find energy leaks, like taking your hand or a candle and running it along your window casements – if you catch a flicker of the flame or bit of coolness on your skin, you have found an energy leak. But this method is often frustrating and it can take a long time to actually find a leak. Well, a blower door test is a totally comprehensive method to test for leakage. If you are curious about the benefits of blower door testing, you know that it’s the best way to save money on your energy bills. Here are some DIY blower door testing basics for homeowners.
First and foremost, it can be helpful to know what a blower door test is. A blower door test uses a highly advanced instrument to measure the energy efficiency of your home. It uses pressurizes air into your home and a meter reads how much of that energy escapes. The energy could escape from numerous locations – from your windows to small cracks in your foundation. Before you set up the blower door instrument, you want to be sure to seal up the door you are using to conduct the test.
Before you start the test, you want to rent the machine used to conduct the audit. In most cases, a specialized technician will oversee the audit, but there are many places where you can rent a system. Usually, you don’t want to purchase a blower door test, because they can be very expensive. Plus, you won’t need to test for energy efficiency all the time – it is something you may do every five to ten years. Anything more than that and you could be going overboard.
When you start the blower test, you want to have all your materials ready to test for efficiency. As the blower door instrument’s fans are blowing, you want to walk around the home to any area where you suspect there are leaks. You will use a special smoke or steam tool to find these leaks. Simply let off a little smoke or steam and the areas that have leaks should light up. Of course, they won’t literally light up, but the smoke will form a visible column, so you’ll know how big and how serious the energy leak is.
In the end, once you find all your leaks, you want to leave little notes as to where they are and how big they are. Your biggest leaks may be around your door frames, which simply require a bit of weather-stripping. However, if you discover that your home has even bigger leaks – maybe in the windows – you may want to think about replacing the windows or installing insulation around the casements. In the end, you want to do whatever you can to seal up energy leaks – once you do, you will notice lower energy bills and you’ll sleep easier at night knowing that you made a difference to lower your impact on the environment.