Air can leak out from windows and doors. That much is common sense we all know. It’s why you yell at someone to close the door. “I’m not paying to air condition the neighborhood,” is popular on any hot day.
Yet the air leaks in a home can be far worse than simply standing with the door open a few seconds. From wiring to piping, to ill-fitting ductwork, insulation gaps, or gaps around door and window frames, air can be leaking out of your home all the time. Building an airtight house is a pretty recent concept. It’s one that most homes don’t fulfill, and an air leakage test can help you see how.
What Is an Air Leakage Test?
This test is otherwise known as a blower door test. It would be impossible to seek out every leak and gap, so the test measures a building’s airtightness instead. This test changes the static pressure inside compared to outside. The amount of air flow required to equalize the pressure difference helps reveal the number of air leaks in the building.
The test tells homeowners the measure of air leakage in their home by CFM, or cubic feet per minute of airflow. This correlates to a rating of air changes per hour, which you can compare to energy-efficiency recommendations. The test and readings can be conducted by a rater with a RESNET Home Energy Rating System certification.
Do You Have an Airtight House?
When the air leakage test is conducted, it’s easy to find a few cracks based on where you feel air drawn into the house or expelled away from it (depending on whether the test is pulling or pushing air – it can be done both ways).
Some of these air leaks might be predictable – such as around door and window frames. Other places may be a surprise, such as along walls you previously thought airtight. The leakier the house, the more you’re paying for cooling and heating costs. You’re not keeping that air in the home as efficiently as you could.
Building an airtight house is one of the most important steps when it comes to energy efficiency and energy cost savings. Take a test, and then see how you can seal up any areas that contribute to cooling/heating waste.