May 30, 2017
Corbett Lunsford from the Building Performance Workshop and the Proof is Possible tour talks to us about the moral superiority of building performance testing, blower door testing, and much more.
Building performance and HVAC have been becoming much more closely linked lately. So, it's a good idea for HVAC techs to learn a bit about building performance.
In the HVAC world, we often see homes with extremely hot upstairs portions and cool downstairs questions. That is a complex building performance issue. A good contractor can troubleshoot the issue with the building and find cost-effective ways to improve the enclosure (air ceiling and insulation) and the HVAC. The construction and improvement industries will be utilizing diagnostics and metrics, much like most of the HVAC industry today. (Metrics that we use include static pressure, superheat, subcool, etc.)
The blower door is the most important tool for diagnosing issues with the enclosure. Many odor and comfort issues deal with ventilation, not just the HVAC. As such, blower door testing can help diagnose issues that don't go away after improving or repairing the HVAC system. Air leakage is the most important issue that occurs with the enclosure.
A blower door test replaces the front door with an airtight shroud with a fan mounted inside. That fan then hooks up to a manometer to measure pressure in the home with reference to the outdoor pressure. The blower door drags the pressure down to 50 pascals, and then you can see how much air goes through the fan at that constant pressure. The air that comes through the fan indicates a lack of airtightness in the home. However, blower door testing requires practice and repetition. If you get one, practice with it before you use it for diagnosis.