When You Need Blower Door and Duct Leakage Testing
Call GDS at 603-656-0336 or 800-437-4495 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Massachusetts*, New Hampshire** and Maine require blower door and duct leakage tests to be performed on new homes before an occupancy permit is provided. GDS Associates has performed thousands of these tests over the past ten years. As BPI, RESNET and ENERGY STAR® certified energy specialists, we are your best choice for accurate, reliable and timely code testing services including:
- Blower Door Testing
- Duct Leakage Testing
- ENERGY STAR® Homes Certification
- Accredited Home Energy Ratings System (HERS) Rating Providers
- Energy Code Compliance (ICC, IECC, IRC)
From architects to general contractors and builders, your hard work boils down to the Certificate of Occupancy…and the house must pass a blower door and duct leakage test to get it.
Reduce Your Time, Your Building’s Energy and Inspector Callbacks
You have had to comply with many permitting regs and building codes before and during construction. Not all issues become a sticking point, but many cities and towns are adamant that you provide blower door and duct leakage test results. GDS can help you not only meet, but exceed the residential energy code.
At what point in the building process should I contact you?
If you want the ducts tested in the rough, call us when the ducts are installed. Otherwise, call us a couple days before the home is complete. We’ll send a tester there as soon as possible.
When should the blower door test be conducted?
We suggest conducting the blower door test as near to the closing date as possible. The more complete the construction is, the better the house is likely to perform.
When should the duct leakage test be conducted?
We recommend conducting a duct leakage test in the rough, before the ducts are hidden behind finished walls. This will give you a chance to fix any leakage before the closing. However, they can also be tested the same day we do the blower door test.
What is your turnaround time in giving us the tests results?
To do both a blower door and duct leakage test takes about an hour, depending on the size of the house. We will give you the test result forms before we leave.
How do I prepare for the tests?
Following these guidelines will help ensure a smooth test and the best possible score. If the test is for code compliance, your score requirement is based on the volume of the house. It would be very helpful if you could provide this number, or at least the home’s square footage.
- We will need electricity to run our Blower Door.
- Please be able to meet us onsite in case of any issues.
- We will need access to the entire building; do not schedule us when floors and/or stairs will be polyurethaned.
- Try to avoid scheduling us on particularly busy days. It can be difficult to keep people from opening doors and windows during the test.
- If there is a woodstove or wood fireplace, make sure that there have been no fires in the past 24 hours.
- Make sure that there is water in the plumbing traps. Otherwise, air will leak through your drain pipes, hurting your score.
- Make sure all doors to the outside, garage, basement, attic, kneewalls, and bulkhead are installed with doorknobs that latch tightly shut, deadbolts, weatherstripping, and sweeps.
- Make sure that all windows are locked. Check that the tops are not open. If the windows are not yet properly fitted and can’t lock shut, it will hurt your score.
- Make sure that the attic hatch is installed and has weatherstripping. If you have pull-down stairs with an insulation “tub” above, make sure the tub is in place and latched.
- Make sure that all dampers for fireplaces, ventilation, and bath fans are installed and operating. If any dampers are manually controlled, make sure they are shut for the test.
- Wait until the floors and carpet are installed, otherwise there will be leakage between the subfloor and wall cavities.
- Wait until the electrical finish is complete, otherwise there will be leakage into the wall cavities where plates aren’t installed.
- Seal all plumbing, electrical, and HVAC penetrations with sprayfoam or caulk. Check mechanical closets and under sinks. Be sure that your insulation crew seals all penetrations in the attic and the basement ceiling before insulating.
- In general – Resist the urge to have us test too early. The closer to the finish, the better! If you are concerned about passing and would like us to test early for informational purposes, or perform an air leakage inspection before the sheetrock is installed, give us a call!
There will be a charge for all scheduled tests that are not ready, require a second trip or require significant extra time onsite.
GDS is a member of these professional organizations:
- Association of Energy Service Professionals (AESP)
- National Association of the Home Builders (NAHB)
- Northeast Home Energy Ratings System Alliance (NEHERS-Alliance)
- Builders Association of Greater Boston (BAGB)
- GDS staff are members of Residential Energy Performance Association (REPA)
*Mass Save statewide energy efficiency program in coordination with the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER)
**New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning and New Hampshire Building Code Review Board Certificate of Occupancy