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Blower Door Test

By DOE

Blower door tests help determine a home's airtightness. Reasons for ensuring proper building tightness:

  • Reducing energy consumption due to air leakage
  • Avoiding moisture condensation problems
  • Avoiding uncomfortable drafts caused by cold air leaking in from the outdoors
  • Making sure the home's air quality is controlled, minimizing air pollution.
How They Work

A blower door consists of a powerful fan that mounts into the frame of an exterior door. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed cracks and openings. Energy auditors may use a smoke pencil to detect air leaks. These tests determine the air infiltration rate of a building.

 

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Blower Door

Calibrated blower door

Blower doors consist of a frame and flexible panel that fit in a doorway, a variable-speed fan, a pressure gauge to measure the pressure differences inside and outside the home, and an airflow manometer and hoses for measuring airflow.

 

 

There are two types of blower doors: calibrated and uncalibrated. It is important to use a calibrated door. This type of blower door has several gauges that measure the amount of air pulled out of the house by the fan. Uncalibrated blower doors can only locate leaks in homes. They provide no method for determining the overall tightness of a building. The calibrated blower door's data allow the auditor to quantify the amount of air leakage and the effectiveness of any air-sealing job.

Preparing for a Blower Door Test

Take the following steps to prepare your home for a blower door test:

  • Close windows and open interior doors
  • Turn down the thermostats on heaters and water heaters
  • Cover ashes in wood stoves and fireplaces with damp newspapers
  • Shut fireplace dampers, fireplace doors, and wood stove air intakes

Energy efficiency incentive programs, such as the DOE/EPA ENERGY STAR® Program, require a blower door test (usually performed in less than an hour) to confirm the tightness of the house.

 

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Blower Door Test:  Created on June 4th, 2009.  Last Modified on November 23rd, 2010

 

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