Often quoted by President Ronald Reagan, the old Russian proverb "trust, but verify" is as applicable to building energy-efficient homes as it was to signing treaties to reduce nuclear arms. While using foam insulation is a great way to create a house that keeps room temperature air in, that insulation only works if it is perfectly applied. Using a blower door helps you see if there are any leaks so that you can find them and fix them.
A blower door is a special panel equipped with fans and pressure gauges that you fit into a building's doorway. When you turn it on, fans in the blower door suck outside air into the home, creating a situation where the house is in a state of positive pressure. This means that the air in the house will then pass through any leaks in the building environment to the outside, equalizing the pressure. On a day where the outside temperature is significantly different from room temperature, you can use thermal cameras or other tools to see where the 70 or so degree inside air is leaking from the house.
Managing leaks is key to building energy-efficient homes, since the more air you keep inside, the less energy you waste to climate control the surrounding area. For that reason alone, blower door tests are valuable. Their end result is more than just saving energy, though. They also make the house more comfortable to inhabit by giving you the information you need to build a house that has no drafts. This can increase your customers' satisfaction and reduce the number of times that you get called back to work on a home that you've already built. Given these benefits, doing a quick blower door test is an excellent investment of your time.
Contact us at NCFI for more tips on building the perfect energy-efficient home.