The Haven™ home passed our Blower Door Test with an astounding rating of 1.7 air exchanges per hour. What does this mean? Quite simply, when air is pushed (or accelerated) into the home at 50 PA, which is approximately what would happen with a 20 mph wind, the air in our Haven™ home is exchanged with outside air only 1.7 times every hour. It may surprise you that the code we are currently under is the 2009 IECC (International Energy Conservation Code), only requires a maximum of 7 air exchanges per hour. Most of the older homes we live in are even higher than that.
What does the amount of times your inside air is exchanged with the outside air mean to you?
If you remember first that warm air is going to seek to move toward cold air, there are some fairly obvious reasons, and some not so obvious.
- Winter: The air you have paid to warm is going to escape out your walls at that Blower Door rated number of exchanges, per hour. If your number is 7, you will be warming a house full of cold air, 7 times every hour! That’s a lot of extra fuel needed for your heating system, relating to a lot of additional heating cost to you. You can see how much energy savings we are realizing here in the Haven™ with only 1.7 exchanges an hour! This is a primary reason that we aren’t using our furnace at night and use ½ the typical amount of fuel for our pellet stove to maintain average winter night time temps in the mid 60’s.
- Summer: The effect is the same with the opposite transfer. That hot air outside is infiltrating your cooler air inside creating a need for air conditioning to keep from roasting.
8 Good Reasons to Live In A Home That Minimizes Air Infiltration
According to the US Government’s Energy site, there are 4 reasons for establishing the proper building tightness:
- Reducing energy consumption due to air leakage
- Avoiding moisture condensation problems
- Avoiding uncomfortable drafts caused by cold air leaking in from the outdoors
- Determining how much mechanical ventilation might be needed to provide acceptable indoor air quality.
We can add a few more:
- A quieter home
- Reduced exposure to exterior air pollutants
- Reduced exposure to allergens and dust
- Better performing insulation. Insulation works best when surrounded by still air.
Rob Ernst, owner of CSI and a Certified Inspector Of Structures by the Nevada Real Estate Division #1730 and Licensed Energy Auditor, Nevada Real Estate Division #30 did our Haven™ blower door test. He will tell you that he was amazed to find our results. Besides doing Blower Tests, Rob works with homeowners to establish their Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating to help determine the most cost effective ways to increase efficiency in homes. In short, Rob helps to show homeowners where to invest in energy improvement in order to get the most value for the investment. If you live in an older home, you might be surprised to find how cost effective some energy upgrades can be. If you are planning on building a new home, a HERS rating can be extremely helpful to make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. If you consider the average life span of a home to be 50+ years, that can mean a LOT of BUCKS!