What is the blower door test and why is it important?

Recently we conducted a blower door test on our Net Zero Ready home in Burnaby. This test is done before drywalling and helps ensure the home is airtight and reaches our intended energy efficiency goals.

Kemp Construction’s blower door test on a Net Zero Ready home.

What is a blower door test?

Air leakage is measured by ACH (Air Changes per Hour) – which has a big impact on the comfort and energy efficiency of a home. Think of it as a winter coat: you’re much better protected from the cold weather when it’s zipped up and air-tight!

The blower door test gives us an ACH score. The test involves setting up a machine (see the red in the photo above) that pulls air out of the house and lowers the air pressure inside so cold air gets sucked in. The purple you see in the photo is the blown-in insulation. While this is happening, our team walks through the house to find drafts and seal them. Once this is done, you get your final ACH score.

When should a Blower Test be done?

Whether you are building a new home or planning to renovate, a blower test can indicate areas of lost energy efficiency. In his article, Lloyd Alter at Treehugger, refers to it as like “taking the blood pressure on your house”. He continues, “It is really such an important part of knowing how well a house works, that I am surprised it isn’t required everywhere.”

Early on in the process of the blower door test, the reading shows as .7454 ACH. The final reading was .670 ACH!

Kemp’s recent blower door test meets Step Code 5

Because each level of the BC Step Code has an ACH score requirement, you can directly see how your building ranks. The minimum for Step Code 5 is 1 – the lower the score the better. We are very proud to say this project met and exceeded this requirement with a final score of 0.670!

If you build a conventional new home today, your building will be out-of-date almost as soon as it is completed because by 2022 all new homes will be Step Code 3.  By 2032, little over a decade, homes will be Step Code 5 – which will be three times the performance of Step Code 1. 

Steve Kemp illustrates it like this, “When it comes time to sell, are you selling a V8 or an EV? That’s the difference – not to mention lower operating costs and repairs along the way.”

At Kemp Construction, we strive for the ultimate in comfort, health, and energy efficiency. A blower door test is just one of the many methods we use to build High-Performance homes.

Building a High Performance Home in Burnaby

This blower door test was recently done on Kemp Construction’s Step 5 NetZero Ready project in Burnaby.

Read Full Story of the NetZero Ready Home

Are you wondering how energy efficient your home is?

As Sheri Koones states in her article in Forbes, “The blower door test is a diagnostic tool used to measure the airtightness of a structure… Properly sealing a house will increase comfort, reduce energy costs, and improve indoor air quality.”

EnerGuide Home Evaluations assess your home’s energy efficiency and could be free!

An energy-efficient home is comfortable, healthy, environmentally friendly and cost-effective. An EnerGuide home evaluation can help you understand how your home uses energy now – and identify upgrades to help improve energy efficiency.

The Fall Economic Statement 2020 recently announced it would include up to one million free home EnerGuide energy assessments. As part of a home evaluation, a report is given to homeowners who can then apply for the grant of up to $5,000 to do the work that the audit recommended.

If you are considering a renovation, Kemp can assist in determining what areas of your home could be made more energy efficient. If applicable, an EnerGuide evaluation could be done which will include a renovation upgrade report which would recommend plans for improvements.

Got a project in mind?

If you’re looking to build or renovate with High-Performance standards in mind, it’s important to work with a knowledgable and experienced team.
Give us a call, we’d love to chat – 604-948-1124.