Blower Door Mastery: Techniques and Tips for Contractors with Sam Myers of Retrotec
In this episode of the R-Value podcast, host Ken Allison and special guest Sam Myers from Retrotec discuss the intricacies and importance of blower doors in testing a home’s air tightness. They delve into common mistakes made during blower door tests, such as incorrectly matching the fan range to the gauge, and highlights advancements in technology, like digital manometers introduced in the mid-90s, which improved the testing process through color coding and touch screen features for easier identification and use.
Find more in-depth Blower Door training here:
If you would like to be certified for blower doors, AeroBarrier and IDI sponsor 1-2 classes a year. For more information, reach out to your local rep or the IDI training team.
Sam Myers is a building scientist for Retrotec where he teaches building performance concepts at conferences and training events, conducts field studies, and assists Retrotec with new product designs. He holds a Master’s of Science degree from East Carolina University, is a certified HERS Rater, and is a licensed real estate broker. Sam lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Ken and Sam also cover the evolution of blower door testing equipment, including the development of high-powered fans for testing leakier buildings and the integration of apps for efficient documentation and reporting of tests. Myers emphasizes the value of blower door tests not only for energy efficiency but also for identifying issues related to comfort, indoor air quality, and even structural defects. These tests have become a critical tool for contractors, especially in retrofitting and custom home building, serving as a quality control measure to monitor the build process and address any air sealing needs.
Ken shares his own experiences and challenges as a first-timer with blower doors, illustrating the practical aspects of this technology. Sam further discusses the growing popularity and challenges of spray foam insulation in home construction, highlighting the role of blower door tests in identifying installation issues. The episode provides a comprehensive overview of blower door testing, emphasizing its critical role in building performance and the evolving needs of the construction industry.
In this episode…
2:00 – The evolution of air tightness testing
7:00 – Troubleshooting your blower door for beginners
11:39 – Beyond professional calibration: what you can do to keep your measurements reliable
16:00 – The main considerations in testing a retrofit
22:11 – Where are the areas that contractors miss the most in attics and crawl spaces
25:19 – What ACTUALLY motivates someone to fix their structure