Blower Door Testing for Additions

If you are investing in an addition to your home, you may also want to invest in air sealing to stop wasting money and start saving energy.  See Benefits of Air Sealing and this Department of Energy fact sheet.

If you do not air seal your house as part of the addition you will need to plan carefully for the blower door test required by the International Energy Conservation Code.  Below are a few example addition projects with strategies for the set-up of a blower door test.  Your rater will be able to help you seal off openings in the existing construction such as doors, windows and electrical boxes using Grill Mask.  During the blower door test, the rater can use a smoke stick to find and seal other leaks in the existing construction.  This will allow you to test the new construction.

Example 1

Addition is a separate room.  A temporary wall may be required to reduce the size of the opening to fit the size of the blower door testing apparatus.
Addition is a separate room

Example 2

Addition is part of a separate room.  Openings in the existing construction such as doors, windows and electrical boxes can be sealed using Grill Mask.
Addition part of separate room

Example 3

Addition is open to the majority of the house.  In this case your plan reviewer may allow an alternative compliance path.  There will be a condition on your permit which says:
 

All new exterior walls and new ceiling and roof assembly shall be special inspected by a HERS rater using the Energy Star Version 3 Thermal Enclosure System Rater Checklist with the exception of the following items on the checklist: item 1.1 and 4.4.

A HERS rater will perform an inspection of the wall construction including the air barrier and insulation installation based off the Energy Star for Homes checklist.  Depending on your air barrier design, this inspection may take multiple trips to the job. (To find a HERS rater, click here and under "Select a Search Type: select "Area", then enter your zip code and select “Home Energy Rating (HERS) Company Member)
Addition open to whole house
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Daniel Ice
Chief Building Official

Lauren A. Ortega, PE
Deputy Director

Joseph Godoy
Principal Site Review Manager

Mark Masek
Plans Examiner Supervisor

Robin Freiman
Addressing Official