Scheduling an energy audit is your first step toward uncovering the areas in your home that contribute to high conditioning bills, and the blower door test anchors the audit. It consists of a large fan inside an adjustable frame, along with air pressure gauges. HVAC technicians or energy auditors place it in an exterior door frame and measure the volume and speed at which your home loses air pressure.
After the auditors ready your home by shutting the windows, opening all the interior doors, closing the vents for wood stoves or fireplaces and turning off any combustion appliances, they turn on the fan. The technician will watch the gauges to determine how fast the air pressure falls. If it falls quickly, it means that you have a few air leaks inside your home.
Air leaks can be a significant cause of high energy bills. Leaks are common around window and exterior door frames, places where plumbing or wiring enter your home, around chimneys and flues, recessed lights in the ceiling, and even around the foundation and the attic. When combined with a smoke pencil or thermographic equipment, the blower door test reveals where the leaks are, giving you a blueprint for sealing them.
Thermographic scans reveal the temperature differences of indoor air and the incoming outdoor air. If you schedule the test during the summer, it’s likely the incoming air will show as orange or red, but in the winter, it’ll be blue or green on a chilly day.
Most air leaks are fairly easy to seal with exterior caulk or expanding foam. If you have them around chimneys, flues or recessed lighting, you’ll need silicone caulk or metal flashing to reduce fire hazards. Increasing insulation in the attic is fairly straightforward, but if you need it in the walls, you may need the help of an insulation contractor.
To learn more about the blower door test and how it’ll help you cut high energy bills, contact Pacific Aire Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided trusted HVAC services for Ventura and Santa Barbara since 1990.
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