Cleveland HVAC Blog

Infiltrometer Test Shows Homeowners Just Where To Stop Energy-Draining Problems

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Wed, Nov 07, 2012 @ 02:39 PM

Developed at Princeton University with a grant from the Department of Energy, the infiltrometer test has become the gold standard for assessing the energy performance of a home. Air leakage in the structure through cracks, gaps and lack of weatherizing is a major cause of energy loss in any house. The cumulative amount of air leakage in some homes is the equivalent to leaving an exterior door standing open 24/7.

The test requires specialized diagnostic equipment and computer software. In addition to determining the degree of leakage in a home and estimating the total square inches of leaks, the infiltrometer provides the building analyst with the conditions to track down and pinpoint the location of leaks for sealing.

Here's what to expect in an infiltrometer test:

  1. infiltrometer home air leak testA temporary door incorporating a powerful blower fan is installed in an exterior doorway in your home. All other doors and windows are closed. The blower fan is connected to a computer that is also linked to air pressure and airflow sensors on the blower door.
  2. The fan removes air from the house and creates a negative air pressure inside. The pressure differential produces the effect of a 15 mph wind blowing on all exterior walls simultaneously.   
  3. The computer calculates the cubic feet of airflow drawn out by the fan while tracking the air pressure in the building. This produces a figure called the exchange rate, which is the amount of air entering the structure of the home through cracks and other gaps. A higher exchange rate means a leakier structure. By comparing the exchange rate to the home’s square footage, the software can also estimate the total square inches of leakage in the home.
  4. With the house in a depressurized state and outside air streaming in through leaks, the analyst can use a smoke wand or a thermographic, infrared camera to easily identify the leaks for sealing with caulk or weatherstripping.

P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling has provided indoor comfort solutions to Cleveland homeowners for over 75 years. Call us today about an infiltrometer test to track down the sources of energy loss in your home.


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photo credit

Paul WadsworthPaul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.

The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.

Topics: home performance assessment, air leaks, home improvements, home energy costs

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