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October 13, 2008 4:07 PM   Subscribe

I need a vendor for a "blower door test" in the Portland, OR area.

(they put a temporary door with an outblowing fan in your front doorway so you can find air leaks and patch the places where your walls suck.)
posted by msalt to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
The Energy Conservatory manufactures blower door equipment and has a searchable database of contractors.

I see that the Energy Trust of Oregon also supplies blower door tests with their "Home Performance with ENERGY STAR" program. You might qualify for some rebates with them if you are a Portland General Electric or Pacific Power customer.
posted by fundip at 5:09 PM on October 13, 2008

This sounds like something you might be able to do yourself. Plastic sheeting, tape, and a box fan?
posted by zippy at 5:53 PM on October 13, 2008

Please don't perform this test unless you know what you are doing. Sucking the air out of the house can lead to backdrafting of combustion gases into the living space if vented combustion equipment hasn't been properly disabled and sealed. Then the equipment must be unsealed and reignited after the test is finished. That may be beyond the skill or comfort level of many homeowners.

There are a lot of good reasons to use a professional, check out the articles posted back at that original Energy Conservatory link for more info.
posted by fundip at 6:25 PM on October 13, 2008

Response by poster: I actually found out about this test from an Energy Trust of Oregon weatherization inspection. They list 12 local contractors and steadfastly refuse to recommend for or against any.

Neil Kelly is the best known; also Energy Comfort & Construction, Alpha Energy Savers, Imagine Energy, Bull Mountain Mechanical, Home Visions West, Sustainable Solutions, Michael Lex Construction, Pacific Home Energy Solutions, All Weatherization Contractors, Gale Contractor Services, and Coho Construction Services.

I guess I'm looking for some direct knowledge or experience among these 12, if available. Thanks!
posted by msalt at 11:34 PM on October 13, 2008

This sounds like something you might be able to do with a thermal cam. A lot of home inspectors carry Flir thermal imagers and can do a full thermographic survey of your home to help you identify drafts, leaks, water leaks, poorly insulated areas, electrical faults, etc. all at once.

I would recommend a thermosurvey before a blower door test. It probably will cost the same and end up being more comprehensive and tell you other things about your home that you might not have even thought about.
posted by brandoniain at 8:20 AM on October 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: BDT's are GREAT! They actually go along with Flir's most of the time brandoniain. Suck the air out and it forces the permeations that might otherwise take a long time to seep through, and THEN while it's running, FLIR. Our state (WV) will actually come perform an energy audit for you...

I would start by calling all the local HVAC stores around you. The ones who go "What's that?" are the ones you'll want to avoid.

You could also try vendors of blow-in insulation, either cellulose or foam. They'll know someone, and it's likely they actually do them to convince you to use their product.
posted by TomMelee at 7:46 PM on October 15, 2008

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