"Home Energy Blower Door Training" online video course

(Jon D. Birkett, HI9137) #21

Blower Door Testing:

Good training, it can seem confusing when dealing with areas that are considered conditioned or unconditioned space in the home like basements and crawlspaces, and whether that area is insulated and carries any type of heating or air conditioning service or equipment.

Increasing Home Energy Efficiency:

The article states that the US is the largest consumer of energy?
Not true.
According to the USDOE in 2010 China has now surpassed the US as the Global #1 consumer of electricity and is expected to continue to rise well above the US.
China no longer sells low sulfer coal to the US as they need it all!
They just completed the largest dam in the world to help offset there need.
They have a incredibly growth of a middle class getting water and heat service where it was not available.
More Chevy’s sold in China last year than in US.
Scary Stuff.
Electricity in the US will become scarce and extremely expensive.

(Charles T. Kunkler) #22

The attached picture is from the kitchen pantry ceiling.
Area of interest is the open hole where the power, plumbing and HVAC lines pass through the ceiling and into the attic for the new air handler. The pass through hole has not been sealed on either side and is contributing to substantial air transfer between the conditioned air of the house and unconditioned attic. This is a direct path for fire; should one occur. This area requires fire rated seal, per Ohio Building Code, through wall/ceiling protrusions.

(Charles T. Kunkler) #23

Insulation R-Value
This subject is probably one of the most misunderstood amongst homeowners. R-value is only a measurement tool used to identify how good the insulation performs. Many believe that the higher the number the better it is; which could be further from the truth.
The installation procedure, type material and insulation properties must be considered and explained to the homeowner.
While the kraft faced batt insulation pictured in the article looks nice and neat, the installation is so that it will have gaps between it and the finish drywall due to the tabs being stapled to the inside of the stud cavity creating material compression and voids, inhibiting its performance. Fiberglass batts must be installed in such a way as to limit open voids and compression of the material.
Type material should be a primary consideration for the homeowner. Homeowners need to know that there is more material offerings than just fiberglass. Cellulose is an affordable option which when applied correctly fills all voids and gaps between studs, electrical boxes and corners. Cellulose has a greater per-inch R-value than fiberglass due to its density performance while also having better sound deadening qualities. Urethane foam is top tier of insulation, both on cost and performance. Professionally installed, foam can outperform all other insulation materials, providing the homeowner with outstanding performance, reduced heating and cooling costs, the best air barrier, and has good sound performance. The added cost to an all foam insulated house can be offset by heating and cooling savings in as little as 3-5 years.
With greater knowledge of insulation materials and performance, you can help the homeowner have a more comfortable, better performing home with lower utility cost over the life of the home.

(Arron Buck) #24

Inspection Item:

Mechanical exhaust fan in second floor bathroom:

Bathroom exhaust fan was operational at time of inspection and ducting terminates to the exterior of the structure. Timer installed for fan which will help occupants to exhaust bathroom moisture and odors without having to return to shut off the fan or forget entirely and cause increased utility bills due to excessive loss of conditioned air.

(Arron Buck) #25

Reading and writing assignment:

Exercise Equipment Dangers
by Nick Gromicko

As with any equipment, if it is not used properly serious injury can occur. What some people do not consider is the fact that small children can see large equipment as a playground and 8,700 children under 5 are hurt every year and 16,500 children between the ages of 5 and 14.
Another large concern often overlooked is the spread of pathogens from contaminated surfaces in gyms and saunas.

(Paul Burnham) #26

Second story bedroom skylight. The trim around the skylight is stained by moisture leaks. Openings exist around the trim and areas missing trim that allowed air to leak in during the operation of the blower door unit. Recommend a licensed, qualified contractor exam, repair if necessary and seal the skylight assembly.

Copyright 2015 P. Burnham

(Paul Burnham) #27

Library articles:

Blower Door Testing - This article discusses the beginning of the blower door use in the 1970’s as a research tool to today as a means for increasing energy efficiency in residential homes. Proper setup and precautions are covered in the article, as the blower doors are able to cause damage to homes if improperly used. Common areas were leaks can be present were also identified.

Conserve Energy & Save Money - This article examined the various types of HVAC units that can be installed in the home. Some benefits and energy usage/savings were outlined with each type of appliance. There was no mention of having an energy audit done on the home to assess where potential savings could be identified.

(Brian A. Edwards) #28

While inspecting garages and pull down attic ladders as part of the Home Energy Blower Door training program, it is paramount to be on the lookout or any signs of air infiltration. The garage goes without saying, from a safety standpoint. Attached garages can cause carbon monoxide or fumes from stored fuels or chemicals to freely enter the home without proper sealing. Attics are always suspect areas for air movement. Always insure that attic hatches are properly sealed and insulated to prevent air leaks, and keep most of your conditioned air within the living space.

Thanks!

(Randall Ryden, TREC# 20515) #29

This was a test on a 2000 sqft. home with a butter layer of spray foam on exterior walls and ceiling; having said that I was expecting the number to be at least half of the actual result

I was amazed at the amount of leakage due to the most common items like (found with a smoke pen):

  • kitchen vents to the exterior not well sealed.
  • door weatherstripping not well maintained.
  • lack of sufficient insulation in walls and attics.

After also viewing with an IR camera, the thermal loss due to thermal bridging is obvious. What is not obvious is how to quantify this bridging loss of efficiency.

I will say, I think this is a course all inspectors and frankly homeowners should truly understand the purpose for, what the results actually mean, and how to respond accordingly with appropriate repairs.

(Leonard Inkster, CMI) #30


This inspection is of a 1934 home with wood siding. Some replacement windows and retro-fitted cellulose insulation in the wall cavity.

The area around the light switch was found to have air infiltration during the blower door test which was at negative 50 pascals relative to the baseline pressure.

The infiltration could be seen by using both a smoke pen which indicated the infiltration from smoke being blown inwards toward the home under negative pressure and also from Infra-Red imaging (below). The IR image of the area shows not just the infiltration around the switch but the path along which the cold air from outside is being drawn into the home through the siding and frame on the heritage home this inspection was being carried out on.
IR_1107.jpg

While sealing of the switch box with an air seal gland would minimize the energy loss through the switch, the main source of the infiltration, and therefore energy loss is through the wall cavity at the location indicated by the IR imaging. An air barrier (house-wrap which was not installed in this home) behind the vinyl siding would eradicate much of this air penetration.

(Leonard Inkster, CMI) #31

In the ‘Energy conservation’ paper, the discussion around choosing the correct selection of heating and cooling systems to meet the needs of the home are summarized.

The paper indicates a few tips on how to make the home more efficient by weather-stripping and caulking to seal air-leaks and tighten the home.

It then goes on to say that you may have to replace uncontrolled air leaks with controlled one to ensure proper ventilation, but without stating why the change is necessary.

A casual reader might think they are being asked to pay to tighten their home just to pay more to ventilate it, when leaks did that for them. As inspectors it is important for us to understand the differences and benefits of each so we can explain this to the home owners that have these questions.

This paper tied in nicely with the ‘Infra-Red camera inspections’ paper, especially with reference to the ‘Finding Air Leaks’ section.

This summarized the process for performing this type of inspection but going on to show that some uncontrolled leaks could be the cause of other problems in the home. It helps us understand that eradicating these leaks and replacing them, as required, with controlled ventilation doesn’t just help us control the energy usage. Done correctly, corrective action can remove some of the contributory causes for other problems that uncontrolled air leaks can create.

(Thor D. Wiebe) #32

Flit Kruse 1-23-15 007.jpg

Here is an example of a attic access that is not insulated properly. Insulation should be added to the top of the cover. After adding the proper amount of insulation the covers should also have a gasket added to the perimeter of the hatch and latches added to make a better seal to stop air infiltration.

Flit Kruse 1-23-15 007.jpg

(Thor D. Wiebe) #33

I was very impressed on how blower doors can detect air leakage from several locations in the home. By detecting these areas and than sealing them can save great amounts of energy. I will be expanding my testing by including blower door testing. The technology change from older doors to todays doors make the testing more accurate and faster. I am excited to get his testing into my business.

(Seth G. Cherney) #34

Inspection: Attic Space

This attic is well-sealed from the living space. There are no plumbing or electrical penetrations, and there is no chimney chase. There is no insulation, and the attic should be insulated to current insulation standards. Large amounts of abandoned household items are conducive to the intrusion of mold, termites, and other wood destroying organisms and should be cleaned up. The ventilation is unprotected by louvers, wire mesh, or another suitable system to prevent the intrusion of wildlife. The roof and ventilation are poorly designed, and significant deposits of dirt have accumulated from the exterior. The attic and roof should be repaired by a licensed contractor working from the plans of a licensed architect or structural engineer.

(Seth G. Cherney) #35

Articles read:

Building Orientation for Optimum Energy
Elements of an Energy-Efficient House

Essay:

The orientation of a home can have an effect of up to 20% difference in energy usage, and have considerable influence on perceived comfort. The house should be oriented toward the south with windows on the south side. If summer weather requires it, summer shading via awnings, extended soffits, or other means is recommended, while the lower winter sun will heat the house. The side away from the windows should be a buffer zone, containing the least used rooms, stairs, bathrooms, etc., so that the most comfortable living area is also the most used.

(Daniel L. McAdams) #36

As seen during many home inspections we find a area that has a cold spot. Once in the attic I uncovered the cause of the cold spot. You can see that someone entered the space to preform work. They forgot to replace the installation.

(Daniel L. McAdams) #37

The ability of the blower door to create a environment that allows testing of the building envelope is remarkable. If this is coupled with the IR camera the results can be really impressive. The blower door will create a environment that is conducive to the use of the camera.

http://www.dmhihomeinspections.com

(Charles Lewis, CMI) #38

Thermal imaging can help identify sources of air leaks in a home, especially when used in conjunction with a blower door test. Areas of air leakage will show up as darker areas if it is colder outside. This kind of information can be valuable to help identify areas that should be sealed with caulking or foam in order to minimize energy loses.

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(Charles Lewis, CMI) #39

Articles read: Building Orientation and Blower Door Testing

The building orientation article is a good reminder of how building a home relative to the sun can dramatically change the amount of heating and cooling costs while also making for a more pleasing home. By taking the sun’s path into account, you can maximize solar heat gain when desired.

The blower door testing article was a short compendium that covered many of the same issues addressed in this course.

(Dennis Moore, CMI) #40

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This attic hatch has had the seal comprised and need to have the seal replaced to seal off the air leak from the interior of the home into the attic.

Remove the old seal and replace with a high quality sealer as this is a major problem in the northern climates.

Another way to repair this would be to have a clear removable caulking used to seal off the hatch and the caulking could be removed when the attic access is needed.