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Door Blower Test for Detecting Air Leaks

Whether it’s the dead of winter or the heat of summer, one of the most important HVAC-related considerations in any home is sealing and preventing air leaks. Leaks may seem small and inconsequential in some areas, but they can be huge contributors to either heat or cooling loss, which can cost you a boatload on your utility bills.

At My Buddy the Plumber, we’re here to help as part of our heating and air conditioner services. One of the toughest parts about air leaks in the home is how sneaky they can be – without the proper expertise, they can be very difficult to locate and properly address. But we can help in several ways here, and one potential method often used here is called the door blower test. Let’s go over what this is and how to prepare for it if one is necessary in your home.

How it Works

A standard part of most home energy audits, a door blower test helps you identify the areas where drafts are taking place, signaling the spots where leaks have opened up. To perform it, you’ll have a temporary barrier installed by a technician across one of your exterior doors, usually the front or back door. This barrier has an attached fan that’s designed to pull air from the home at a speed of between 10 and 15 mph.

As this happens, home air pressure is reduced. This causes higher outside pressure to drive air in through any opening possible, including even the smallest leaks or cracks. As the fan is on, your technician will move through the home and use a smoke pencil, which emits a stream of odorless smoke to help show them where drafts are coming from. Once they’ve found the area, repairing these is as simply as using caulk or foam insulation to seal the issue.

In addition, the barrier used for this test has several gauges and instruments. These can help with future decisions on everything from sealing doors and windows to replacing drywall, plus with preventing pest entry into the home.

Preparation Tips

If you’re set to have a door blower test on your home, here are some basic preparation elements to consider:

  • Disable appliances: Any appliances that have a pilot light or could create sparks or flames should be disconnected. Your technician can tell you which items to power down here.
  • Doors open versus doors closed: For the door blower test, all exterior doors besides the one being used for the fan apparatus need to be fully closed and properly sealed. However, all interior doors should be open during the test to allow for proper air flow within the home.
  • Secure items: Air flow won’t be crazy inside the home, but it will be enough to disturb loose papers or other small items. Just be sure to secure these in advance.

For more on the door blower test, or to learn about any of our HVAC or plumbing services, speak to the pros at My Buddy the Plumber today.

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