Blower Door Rating Test to Become New Building Code Requirement

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - The State of Florida has created a new code that will result in more energy efficient homes. A Blower Door Rating Test, which is the only way to measure home air leakage, will be required on all new home construction starting on July 1st.

"Any homes that are permitted after that date will require a blower door test, and that's probably going to cost four or five hundred more dollars added to the cost of a home with no other perceived value other than the fact that it's code compliant," said Koehnemann Construction President Rick Koehnemann. 

The new code may cost more money up front, but it will actually save homeowners money in the long run.

"Long term, it's going to be a savings on your electricity consumption and save you money so you have to be thinking of the payback period," said Koehnemann.

The test takes about thirty minutes from set up to finish. The blower door de-pressurizes a home, exaggerating the home's air leaks, and making leaks easier to measure and locate.

"Any time you want to see how you can make your house more efficient, a blower door test is a great way to go about it. That will be able to show you where infiltration is coming into the house. Where that unwanted air is coming into the house so you can go and seal that up. So anybody that's certified through the State of Florida to operate a blower door can perform that test," said Residential Energy Consultant Chris Vick. 

To be up to code, a new house must have three to seven air changes per hour. If it doesn't, the builder has to locate and fix the leaks.

"The builder is going to have to go back and see where they can seal up any holes and penetrations. This was supposed to be done at a dry test, and the house is probably going to be mostly complete at that point. So they're going to have to really search to find out where to seal those penetrations," said Vick.

Officials say they've performed three to four of these blower door rating tests on homes so far. 

The equipment to perform the test will be on display on Sunday, May 14th, for the opening of the 38th Annual Bay Building Industries Association Great American Parade of Homes. 

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