Five Overlooked Consequences of a Blower Door Test

Published on January 24, 2020

five consequences of a blower door test

By now, you may have heard of a blower door test. A blower door test is the most important aspect of a whole home energy audit. Both an energy audit and a blower door test play an integral role in understanding and increasing the energy efficiency of your home. You may have heard of a blower door test and an energy audit, but why exactly are they so important?

Here’s our top five list of benefits to having a blower door test completed on your home:

1. EnerGuide Label and Rating

After your Registered Energy Advisor has completed the energy audit (and blower door test) on your home, they’ll provide you with an EnerGuide label and an EnerGuide rating. These are important as they provide you with insight on your home’s overall level of energy efficiency.

The EnerGuide label is an official mark of Natural Resources Canada and the Government of Canada. You may have noticed similar labels on items such as light bulbs, dishwashers, or furnaces. The purpose of the EnerGuide label is to showcase a product's level of energy efficiency in an easy-to-read format.

When you receive your EnerGuide label, you’ll notice two ratings near the top. The largest rating is your home’s rating of energy efficiency. The lower the rating, the more energy efficient your home is. The number just beneath yours is the rating of a new home built to today's standards. The purpose of this is to demonstrate how efficient, or inefficient, your home may be according to the building codes of today.

2. Locate Air Leaks

A blower door test in run by a Registered Energy Advisor. The process involves running a fan in the primary door frame of the home. The purpose of the fan is to draw the inside air to the outside of your home. In turn, this forces the outside air back into your home through any gaps, cracks, or leakage points.

During this part of the test, you can walk around your home and feel where the leakage areas are. Some Energy Advisors use feathers or incense to easily locate the leakage areas. More often than not, though, you can simply feel the movement in the air with your hand.

Sealing up the leaks around your home can be extremely beneficial to your home’s overall level of energy efficiency and comfort. Air sealing is a relatively inexpensive retrofit to complete, but can also be one of the most effective in increasing your home’s level of energy efficiency.

3. Get Your Home’s Number of ACH

After the blower door test is complete, your Registered Energy Advisor will calculate the number of air changes per hour for your home. Air changes per hour, or ACH, is a measure of how many times the indoor air is replaced with unconditioned (outdoor) air in an hour. The higher the number, the leakier your home is. Alternatively, the lower the ACH, the tighter the home.

Generally, the average Ontario home has an ACH of 7.5. To compare, the average new home built to current building code typically sees an ACH of 3.0-3.5. A home built today at Energy Star standards would have an ACH of 2.5 and an R2000 home would be an ACH of only 1.5. The highest standard homes being built are Net Zero homes with an ACH of 1.0 and Passive Homes with an ACH of only .6. Of course, there are a number of varying factors that contribute to these numbers. The only way to accurately identify your home’s ACH is to have a blower door test completed on your home.

4. Increase Home Comfort

By locating and mitigating air leaks, you’ll find your home is much more comfortable throughout every room in your home. You’ll also notice that it is easier to maintain a consistent indoor temperature, making your home more affordable to heat in the winter, and easier to cool in the summer!

When you reduce the air leaks in your home, you also improve your indoor air quality. Less unconditioned, outdoor air reaches the inside of the home, which means little to no outdoor pollutants can make their way inside.

5. Rebates

The first and last qualification step of the Home Efficiency Rebate is an energy audit. With the Home Efficiency Rebate, you can receive up to $5,000 for energy efficient upgrades to your home. These rebates cover items such as insulation, furnaces, water heaters, windows and doors, and air sealing!

The Home Efficiency Rebate requires an energy audit before starting renovations and after all the renovations have been completed. The reason for this is that an energy audit (and a blower door test) are the most effective tools in determining your home’s energy efficiency levels. Further, they book-end the entire process so you can see exactly where your home began in terms of energy efficiency, and how much it has improved after the renovations have been completed.

The Home Efficiency Rebate is a great program for those looking to increase their home’s energy efficiency, while saving money on the renovations. There are no income requirements in order to participate in this program. You just must be a current customer of Enbridge Gas Inc. (previously Union Gas in some areas), and live in a detached, semi-detached, or row townhouse. You also must have an energy audit completed before starting renovations. If you’d like to know if you qualify, contact BSG today!

blower door test benefits

If you’d like more information about blower door tests, or are interested in scheduling your whole home energy audit, contact Barrier Sciences Group today. Our office staff provide free, over-the-phone pre-qualification for the Home Efficiency Rebate. They can be reached at 1.866.333.3920. Alternatively, you can fill out a form on the BSG website and someone will reach out to you shortly.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant offers home efficiency renovation grants up to $5,000.

Homeowners Canada-wide are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, announced on May 27, 2021. This new incentive offers up to $5,000 in grants for home efficiency retrofit renovations, plus a $600 reimbursement for pre- and post-work EnerGuide evaluations. Eligible retrofit scopes include home insulation, heating, doors, windows, photovoltaic solar panels, resiliency measures, and thermostats.

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