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Air Leakage Testing - Maryland Energy Code Compliance

Building thermal envelope specialist


Certified Building Analyst
Envelope Professional
Eric Gans - 301.957.6532

BPI Certified Blower Door Test Professional

Get Your New Home Maryland Energy Code Tested Today!

If you are your own general contractor, you are building a house for the first time or any other reason that you are looking for blower door testing and duct blaster testing then you have come to the right place!

As a licensed Maryland contractor, and a certified Building Analyst and Envelope Professional through the Building Performance Institute (BPI), I am qualified to properly conduct air leakage testing (blower door) and duct leakage testing (duct blaster) for new home construction code compliance.  As part of my service, I will correctly interpret the results to provide accurate reporting for submittal to the county inspector .  

The IECC does not specify who should perform the required air leakage tests, however they do strongly suggest that the person conducting the test be knowledgeable and have experience using the equipment. Over the past three years I have completed over 3000 hours of relevant work in the field including:

  • Blower door air leakage testing
  • Combustion safety testing
  • Examinations of thermal boundary effectiveness
  • Pressure boundary evaluations 
  • HVAC duct system efficiency
  • Duct blaster diagnostic equipment

Blower Door Testing
Certified analyst - proper training & knowledge.
Data interpretation for accurate results
Data record keeping and reporting for compliance

Meet new residential energy codes for Maryland

Duct Blaster Diagnostics
Proper testing equipment
Knowledge of testing procedure
Data record keeping and reporting for compliance
Meet new residential energy codes for Maryland

IECC Test Benefits

IECC Test Benefits

Air leakage control in new residential homes is an enormous opportunity that the Department of Energy recognizes as a clear way to improve energy efficiency, comfort and safety. The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) added air sealing as a key provision to meet. Understanding the guidelines and knowing best practices to achieve results are important to the overall success of your new, energy efficient home.  Reducing air leakage can improve summer indoor conditions (less humidity) and winter month energy loss can be greatly reduced with proper air sealing.

IECC Compliance Testing Contractor Maryland

Proper sealing around windows & framing

Air Leakage Basics

Air Leakage Basics

Air sealing a house is often times misunderstood.  Using caulking and other sealant (foam, weatherstripping) can greatly improve the overall "tightness" of a home and the benefits from taking such actions include:

 

 Lower heating bills
 Fewer drafts
 Reduce chances for mold
 Better indoor air quality
Less energy consumption to heat/cool

Building Analyst to conduct energy conservation code tests

Open cell spray foam seals & insulates

Testing Requirements

Testing Requirements

The whole house air leakage test is conducted using a blower door system and the conditions of the home must be set up properly for the test to be considered valid.  Proper set-up includes setting interior and exterior doors in the proper position, dampers and other gateways shall be closed, but not sealed beyond their intended infiltration control measures (flap, louver) and all appliances must be in the off position.  Having the test run by a certified BPI Building Analyst ensures accurate results. A building analyst is trained to identify air leakage in your home and find the right solutions to fix the issues.

Maryland blower door & duct blaster testing

Sealing & insulating ducts greatly improves efficiency

The Best Way to Pass the Maryland Energy Code Tests


The blower door test and the duct blaster test will reveal whether these measures were properly taken during the construction of the home.

1. Air barrier and thermal barrier. 

  • A continuous air barrier/pressure boundary must be installed in the building envelope.
  • Exterior thermal envelope contains a continuous air barrier.
  • Breaks or seams/joints in the air barrier must be sealed.
  • Air-permeable insulation (fiberglass batts) should not be used as sealing material.

2. Ceiling/attic

  • The air barrier/pressure boundary in any dropped ceiling/bulkhead/soffit should be aligned
  • with the insulation and any gaps need to be sealed.
  • Access opening, drop down stairs or knee wall doors to unconditioned space should be sealed.

3. Walls

  • Corners and headers should be insulated and the junction of the foundation and sill plate must be sealed.
  • The junction at the top plate and top of exterior walls should be sealed.
  • Wall insulation should be in continuous alignment/contact with the air barrier
  • Kneewalls should be sealed.

4. Windows, skylight and doors

  • The space between window and door jambs and framing as well as skylights and framing should be properly sealed.

5. Rim Joists

  • Rim joists should be air sealed (air barrier) and insulated.
  • Floors (above garage/cantilever)

6. Insulation must be installed and affixed to the underside of the subfloor plywood.

  • The air barrier must be installed at any exposed edge of the insulation.

7. Crawl Space Walls

  • Encapsulation is recommended including installing vapor barrier at the floor, sealing and insulating the walls and disconnecting the space from the outside.

8. Shafts, penetrations

  • Utility penetrations,
  • Shafts for ducts
  • Conduits for wiring
  • Flue chases that open to the outside or unconditioned space should be sealed.

9. Narrow Cavities

  • The proper insulation solution should be used to block and seal any irregular voids.

10. Garage Separation

  • Air sealing should be done between the garage and conditioned spaces.

11. Recessed Lighting

  • Recessed light fixtures installed in the thermal/pressure boundary should be air tight, IC rated and sealed to the drywall.

12. Plumbing and wiring

  • Batt insulation should be cut neatly to conform to any wiring and plumbing located in exterior walls.

13. Shower/tub on exterior wall

  • Outside walls connected to showers and tubs shall be insulated and the air barrier installed separating them from the shower and tub.

14. Electrical/phone box on exterior walls

  • The air barrier must be installed behind electrical and communication panels/boxes or air sealed boxes should be installed.

15. HVAC duct measures

  • HVAC register boots that go through the thermal boundary shall be sealed to the sub floor or drywall to eliminate leakage/waste.
  • All ducts outside of the envelope shall be sealed and insulated to a minimum of R8.
  • All ducts inside the envelope shall be sealed at the seams and any other cracks/crevices with Mastic.

16. Fireplace

  • An air barrier should be installed on fireplace walls and the doors on a fireplace should be gasketed.
Optimized Process

Frequently Asked Questions About IECC Maryland Testing

  How are the results provided to the Maryland county inspector?
These energy conservations tests are required in the state of Maryland. The building analyst will provide a signed report electronically for the owner/builder to provide to the proper county inspector. The report will have all of the necessary information to properly interpret the results in the report.


 Is the test a simple pass or fail?
A new construction house must be equal to or less than three air changes per hour and the ducts must not be leakier than 100 CFM if the house is 2500 square feet of conditioned space. The results are unbiased and run consistently throughout the industry, therefore it is a pass or fail situation.


 If the test result are failing for either test, do we fix the issue while the technician is onsite?
No. It is highly unlikely that the work required to move the result from failing to passing can be done in a short amount of time without properly trained technicians and a coordinated plan to resolve the issue. Work would have to be scheduled and a second test would have to be conducted.


 Can we find out if the house will pass before we run the test?
This cannot be determined once the test is scheduled and the technician is onsite to perform testing. Thought and planning must be done in order to attain the aggressive testing result thresholds and it must be done prior to closing up walls, ceilings and floors. If you are concerned about passing, you should have a building analyst review the construction prior to scheduling the insulation work to be done.


 How much does IECC testing cost?
Testing fees depend on the square footage of the home, how many HVAC systems are in the home, accessibility of the duct supply and return registers and any special timing or consultation needs.


How to Prepare for IECC Blower Door Testing

It is important to make sure the finishing touches are complete around the new house before scheduling blower door or duct blaster testing.  If there is missing drywall, gaps in celings or unsealed ductwork it is best to complete all of the finishing work to get the best air leakage result.

Schedule Your Test Today

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Residential energy code compliance diagnostic tests

Are You Building a New House in Maryland?

R402.4.1.2 Blower Door Testing

Maryland Energy Code R402.4.1.1 - Air Barrier and Insulation Installation
 

 

Read this:
 

FROM the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY: Sealing the building thermal envelope has been required by the energy code for many years (editions of the IECC). However, in years past the provisions were somewhat vague and only required that areas of potential air leakage such as joints, seams, and utility penetrations be sealed with a durable material such as caulking, gasketing, or weather stripping.

The 2009 IECC required verification of air sealing by either a visual inspection against a detailed checklist or a whole-house pressure test. The 2012 IECC NOW requires all new construction and additions be both visually inspected and pressure tested as mandatory requirements.

There have been some slight changes to the visual inspection checklist and ratcheting down of the testing parameters, requiring houses to be much tighter than the previous edition of the code (see Figure 2 and Table 1). (Source: DOE - Air Leakage Guide | Building Technologies Program)


The majority of the Maryland region falls in climate zone 4 which is now required to test out at equal to or less than 3 ACH (Air Changes per Hour).  Air changes per hour can be defined in the following way: the number of times that the complete volume of a home is exchanged for outside air each hour. 

The less times this happens, the tighter the home and as a result, the more efficient the home. (please be sure to learn about mechanical ventilation for good indoor air quality).

    Specialized Maryland Contractor
    • MHIC Licensed
    • Building Analyst Certified
    • Envelope Professional Certification
    • EPA Lead Renovator Certified

    Hometrust Remodeling is a licensed contractor specializing in a whole-house approach to home remodeling with an emphasis on educating our customers, providing energy efficient solutions, maintaining a network of high caliber technicians and using building science principles.  As a result, we can effectively guide Maryland homeowners towards projects that satisfy comfort needs, aesthetics and value.

    Service Areas

    Calvert County, Carroll County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George's County

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    Hometrust Remodeling
    North Laurel, MD 20723
    301.957.6532
    info@hometrustremodeling.com
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