This same cold air can really affect the comfort level in a house. Last week, as we were testing out the blower door on a “training” house, we were astonished to discover just how interconnected the interstitial elements (i.e. the framing cavities) were to the interior of the house. Imagine the scenario-we are sucking out the air through an upstairs outside door, to put the upstairs into negative pressure. Even with the stairway doors closed, the downstairs also went into negative pressure. The culprit? Access doors on both floors to the plumbing behind the tubs/ showers. Had this particular house not been airtightened through a weatherization program, we would have been able to look up that shower space right into the attic – effectively connecting the exterior cold air with the entire house.
|You Tube - Attic Air Leakage|
Where is the air barrier in our house? Is it continuous – and where does it leak? Is it in continuous contact with insulation? In which direction is it carrying moisture? Do we want to wrestle with combustion appliances for this air – or can we vote in our favor and replace the appliances with sealed combustion units, or electric appliances. When we install an HVAC system, is the air flowing evenly throughout the house, is there an equal exchange of air and are we filtering the air?
Congress is proposing a Home Energy audit program for remodels, which calls for BPI and RESNET auditors. I am all for improved education and training, not only for analysts, but also to support ACCA’s efforts get the HVAC industry to embrace it’s long forgotten “V” (ventilation) and show some respect for the greatest force in energy efficiency, comfort and safety - the “air” force.