A professional energy evaluation provides one of the most affordable, fastest, and easiest tools for you to improve the energy efficiency of your home. These evaluations use a blower door test that measures air infiltration into and out of your home, one of the main factors that contribute to high heating and cooling bills.
A blower door contains a large fan that rests in an adjustable frame that fits inside an exterior door frame. A calibrated door contains pressure gauges that measure indoor air pressure. When the energy auditor or HVAC contractor turns the fan on, it pulls the air from your home, and the interior pressure drops. Lowering the indoor pressure causes air from the outside to rush in through all the places where you have air leaks. Tight homes won’t allow exterior air to enter, which means the pressure will remain low during the test.
The auditor will ask you to close all windows and open interior doors throughout your home before conducting the test. If you have any appliances that use combustible fuels, you’ll have to turn them off. Fireplace dampers need to be closed and any loose ashes covered with wet newspapers. When your home is ready, the auditor will turn the fan on and watch the gauges closely. If the pressure in your home falls quickly, it means that your home is fairly tight. If it takes a while, it means you have air leaks that lower your home’s energy efficiency. Most leaks occur around window and door frames, the sill plate between the basement and first floor, attic hatches, chimneys, flues, and other fixtures entering or leaving your home. However, in some homes, leaks also will occur where building materials meet.
The energy evaluation is likely to include a thermographic scan to detect precisely where these leaks occur. The incoming air will be at a different temperature, which thermographic equipment will display. Thermographic testing also should show where insulation is missing or inadequate. Once you know where the problems in your home are, you can seal them with weatherstripping, caulk or expanding foam, or add insulation where necessary.
To learn more about an energy evaluation and how you can benefit, please contact us at Pipe Works Services. We’ve provided HVAC and plumbing services for Northern New Jersey since 1988. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Chatham, NJ, and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).