BLOWER DOOR TESTING – WHAT ARE THE NYS CODE REQUIREMENTS?

Over the last 20 years, Taitem’s team has performed blower door tests on countless buildings. Blower door testing supports optimal system design and provides paybacks. Blower door testing is also required in New York.

New York State Energy Conservation and Construction Code (NYS ECCC) sets minimum requirements for air tightness. Both residential and commercial buildings are required to have a continuous air barrier to prevent air passing through the building’s thermal envelope.

BUILDINGS DEFINED (by NYS ECCC)

RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS
Detached one- and two-family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) as well as Group R-2, R-3, and R-4 buildings that three or fewer stories above grade.

COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS
Any building that is not considered a residential according to the above definition.

COMPLY WITH CODE

To measure that the air leakage rate of the building thermal envelope is not greater than 0.40 cfm/ft2 at a pressure difference of 75 Pascals, commercial buildings must:

1.  Meet a list of prescriptive requirements OR
2. Perform a blower door test

Residential buildings must be tested and verified as not having an air leakage rate exceeding three air changes per hour at a pressure difference of 0.2 inch w.g. (50 Pa), also known as 3 ACH50. Note: There are no changes in the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) regarding air barrier requirements, but we can expect enforcement of the NYS ECCC to increase.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Blower Door Testing can help identify building air tightness issues which, in turn, can

• reduce energy usage due to air leakage,
• improve occupant comfort by reducing drafts caused by air leakage, and
• reduce moisture condensation problems.

While commercial buildings can comply with code without blower door testing, blower door testing ensures that the construction is adequate and can be key part of envelope commissioning.

CATCHING LEAKS EARLY

Blower door testing is an excellent diagnostic tool. You can locate and find leaks in the building envelope during the test so they can be properly addressed before these areas are covered. With higher levels of insulation, less heat is being driven through walls, reducing drying potential.

Air leakage is a major source of water vapor transport. Reducing air leakage is critical to ensuring that moisture doesn’t reach undesired areas in the building and thermal envelope.

BE PROACTIVE AND PLAN TO TEST EARLY

Get in touch with Taitem or your blower door consultant EARLY in the design and construction process so that a test plan can be developed to make best use of the technology and service.

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