ecoENERGY Report – Part 17 – The Second Audit-2

In Part 16 we wrote about our pending follow-up energy audit as part of our participation in the ecoENERGY Residential Retrofit program (they call it an Energy Efficiency Assessment).

So, right on time, Bruce from the accredited ecoENERGY assessment company arrived early.

We chit-chatted about what changes we had done (ENERGY STAR windows and reduced the air leakage to some degree) and off he went to do his task.

First, he went outside and took pictures of all the ENERGY STAR windows we had installed. He couldn’t see the windows against which we had our exterior solar shades, so he took pictures of these from inside the house.

He also took measurements of these windows. I’m not too sure why. Perhaps it was information gathering he needed to do for the program.

The available Federal ecoENERGY grant for an ENERGY STAR window is only $30 (with a further $30 Provincial matching grant), regardless of the size of the window. In fact, it’s actually not per window; rather it’s per something he called ‘rough opening’. We’ll have more, a lot more, to say about this ‘rough opening’ later.

Next, Bruce performed the blower test. What is the blower test? It’s purpose is to determine the amount of air leakage in the home. The greater the air leakage, the more heated air escapes from the house in the winter and cooled air in the summer, causing the furnace and air conditioner, respectively, to work harder, consume more non-renewable resources and generate more polluting emissions into the air.

Never seen a blower test? Well, here are some pictures below.

First he opens the front door and places the black covering over a metal frame.

blower test frame and cover ecoENERGY Report   Part 17   The Second Audit 2

Then he places the blower (large fan) in the large circular opening at the bottom of the black covering now in the opening to our front door.

covered blower fan in place ecoENERGY Report   Part 17   The Second Audit 2

This was followed by placing the measuring devices on our door, connecting them to the blower and and electrical outlet. The top measuring device is the Room / House Pressure gauge while the lower is the Flow Pressure.

house and flow pressure gauges ecoENERGY Report   Part 17   The Second Audit 2

Bruce then proceeds to take the cover off of the blower and turn on the blower which pushes, or blows, the air from the inside the home out the front door. This way, one can feel air leaks as air rushes into the home.

blower test commences ecoENERGY Report   Part 17   The Second Audit 2

After a few minutes, the measures that were taken.

While the blower test is underway, Bruce asks me if I want to walk around with him to see (and feel) the areas of the home in which air is entering.

We did. I wish he asked me this during the first test. In fact I wish he had insisted.

In fact, I am actually very, very upset that part of the standard procedure was not to have the ecoENERGY assessor at least ask, and possibly insist, that the household. Better yet would be to include in the report from the initial energy efficient assessment all of the areas of air leakage discovered by the assessor. Better yet would be to include part of the initial energy audit a requirement that the assessor actually perform a full identification of the significant air leakages.

Next time we tell you why.

To continue to the next article in this series, simply select Part 18 – The Second Audit-3.

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  1. Vasile says:

    When I did the first audit, the inspector looked though all the house with me, and showed me the leaks (I was prepared to ask him to do that, anyway). Some of them I knew about since they were obvious, but I was amazed to find some which I couldn’t even think about. For example on the third floor, on the joint between the floor and the wall; amazingly, this is an interior wall, between me and my neighbor. He told me that they know the “usual suspects” and just check them. In fact, I found even larger leaks this winter, but they are well covered by drywall so they’re not that easy to find.

  2. bakeapples says:

    Sounds like you had a bad first audit. Checking for leaks is the main points of doing the blower test.

    On the second test did he have you take down the shrink wrap on the windows downstairs? I believe anything that is temporary has to be removed for the tests.

  3. Dan says:

    Hi Bakeapples,

    Nope, he never had me take down the pastic window film on the basement windows.


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