Preparing for A Pressurization Test

Preparing for a Building Pressurization Test

If you are having difficulty locating leaks, you may want to conduct a basic building pressurization test to increase infiltration through cracks and leaks, making them easier to detect:

  • Turn off all combustion appliances such as gas burning furnaces and water heaters on a cool, very windy day.
  • Shut all windows, exterior doors, and fireplace flues.
  • Turn on all exhaust fans that blow air outside, such as bathroom fans or stove vents, or use a large window fan to suck the air out of the rooms.
  • Light an incense stick and pass it around the edges of common leak sites. Wherever the smoke wavers or is sucked out of or blown into the room, there's a draft. You can also use a damp hand to locate leaks; any drafts will feel cool to your hand.
  • If you don't want to turn off your furnace, you can just turn on all your exhaust fans to depressurize your home.
  • Other air-leak detection methods include the following:
  • Shining flashlight at night over all potential gaps while a partner observes the house from outside. Large cracks will show up as rays of light. Not a good way to detect small cracks.
  • Shutting a door or window on a piece of paper. If you can pull the paper out without tearing it, you're losing energy.

Jon Howes
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Scott Homes, Ltd., Designers & Builders
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