My day job involves retrofitting existing buildings, but a couple evenings each month, I perform air leakage testing on new homes. New York State Code began requiring blower door tests for new construction in 2016, following the lead of the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
Most of my new-construction customers are owner-builders or small-volume contractors whose work involves a mix of remodels, additions, and the occasional new home. For many, this is their first blower door test. While I’m testing the house, I find myself doing a lot of education—about the benefits of air sealing, high-priority leakage locations, and how to ensure good air quality (IAQ) in a tight house.
I enjoy the educational aspect of the work. But too often, I’m brought in at the tail end of the building process when air leakage problems are difficult—and expensive—to fix. I find myself wishing I could reach builders earlier, at the design and framing stages. Here are the key points I’d like builders to know:
Air sealing offers multiple benefits
I sometimes have to counter the perception that blower door testing is just one more box that needs to be checked to get the certificate of occupancy. I try to help people understand that air sealing delivers several benefits: