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Visual vs testing for air leakage in IRC '09

Hello- I am cruising through my (newly fatter) copy of IRC '09, reviewing the upcoming changes, and this one caught my eye; in Energy Efficiency, Chapter 11 N1102.4.2.1 and N1102.4.2.2. These are the options for inspection to air sealing and insulation. I get a little confused. It looks like a builder can either: 1: do his own blower door test, or hire someone to do one, or 2: have the building inspector do a visual inspection of a fairly stringent nature. In addition, it looks like the inspector can require a 3rd party visual inspection for insulation and air tightness. Hmmm. So, who is buying a blower door or insisting that their insulation contractor have one? I also see that a duct blaster test is REQUIRED unless all ducts are inside the thermal envelope. I applaud these changes, but I am concerned about the compliance methods. What are others' takes on this?

Asked by T.C. Feick
Posted Nov 12, 2009 8:59 AM ET

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T.C. Feick,
If case you haven't seen them, you may want to read two blogs by Lynn Underwood on this topic:

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/code-green/whats-all-hot-...

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/code-green/seven-steps-gr...

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Nov 12, 2009 9:46 AM ET

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You are correct! There are two options depending upon the local jursidcition. If the Building Official is able, there are several air sealing measures that can be inspected in lieu of a blower door test. I agree that a third party may conduct the blower door test and certify the results to the local Building Official. However, the locality has the right to accept (or not accept) the individual performing the test and evaluation.

Did I get all your questions?

Answered by Lynn Underwood
Posted Nov 12, 2009 1:02 PM ET

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Thanks Martin and Lynn- I will read the blogs; I had missed them. My surprise comes with the ambiguity of the code. I see no notation on who conducts these tests, which we all agree, take a high level of understanding to carry out properly. I think likely the IRC '12 will add further language.

Answered by T.C. Feick
Posted Nov 12, 2009 1:08 PM ET

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it does make it very exciting trying to budget jobs that will be permitted after the new code is adopted!

Answered by Doug
Posted Dec 6, 2009 6:15 PM ET

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