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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad

Are Code-Mandated Air-Sealing Tests a Financial Burden to Builders?

comments (2) October 13th, 2011 in Blogs
ScottG Scott Gibson, contributing writer

Get the facts before you let blower-door tests scare you away from your next projectClick To Enlarge

Get the facts before you let blower-door tests scare you away from your next project

Planning to build his own house in Washington State, Frank Keeler has run into a snag: state-required blower-door tests. The relatively simple test measures how much air leaks through exterior walls, doors and windows, and provides an indication of how energy efficient the house will be.

Related articles from GBA

Blower Door Basics

New Air Sealing Requirements in the International Residential Code

An Overview of the 2012 Energy Code

Blower-Door-Directed Air-sealing

However useful it might be in helping people build tight, energy-efficient houses, this requirement has Keeler worried. There's apparently no limit on the number of times his house might have to be tested before it is approved, and each test could cost hundreds of dollars.

"The project is scary enough without the thought of spending weeks and thousands of dollars on test after test," he writes in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor. "It's all too much. To me this signals the end to the owner/builder beause of the inability to budget for ramifications of unforeseen number of tests."

Are Keeler's fears well-founded? Or is anticipating problems that aren't nearly as big as he imagines?

That's the subject of this week's Q&A Spotlight.

Read the whole article at Green Building Advisor.




posted in: Blogs, energy efficiency
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Comments (2)

Jigs-n-fixtures Jigs-n-fixtures writes: I kind of agree with Sterling: We should let the free market decide. The problem is that too few people have any level of skill needed to determine what is or is not a real energy saver, and what is pure snake oil. It is pretty common sense that if your house leaks conditioned air to the exterior, at a rate of 1% of the hvac system capacity, instead of 5%, it is pretty intuitive that you will save on the energy required to condition the air.

The blower test is pretty simple to perform. If you had the equipment onsite, (I expect to see most builders invest in the equipment), then it is pretty straight forward to test as you go. Checking the building as soon as you are dried in, makes it easy to correct any issues with the house wrap, window flashing, door seals, etc.
Posted: 9:13 pm on October 17th

SterlingDevelop SterlingDevelop writes: Do not look at this new requirement as a way to make us us all more energy efficient. Those of you who think that the government needs to force us to become energy efficient are those willing to give up our freedom. We are sliding rapidly down the slope and picking up speed every time one of these stupid requirements is foisted upon us. The free market will easily determine how much we pay for energy and we can determine for ourselves how energy efficient to make OUR homes.
They are OUR homes, not the gov'ts homes. Leave us alone.

Pissed Off Constitutionalist - hey-remember that "code"?
Posted: 8:20 am on October 17th

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