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Mid-construction air leakage test finds issues before it's too late

Image of technician performing a blower door test
A blower door test usually comes after a building is complete, but if it's done at the mid-construction phase, you can identify leaks before it's too costly to fix them. And it helps you deliver a high EnerGuide rating at lower cost.

Pre-drywall phase is an ideal time to test for air leak issues

When the drywall is on, the fixtures installed, and the paint and tile are perfect, the last thing you want to do on your new build is muck around fixing air leaks. That is, if you can even get at them.

That's why air leakage testing at the mid-construction point is a growing practice in energy efficient building.

Typically, a Certified Energy Advisor conducts the test at the pre-drywall phase. A modified blower door test and smoke test are common (see video here), although infrared cameras (thermography) can also be used. The key is that mid-construction testing identifies areas where the envelope is leaking at a point when it's still easy to reach, and fix them.

This can make a significant difference in achieving a desired or required EnerGuide rating; the least-cost pathway to boosting a home's rating is through good air sealing. Simple materials like caulking and spray foam, coupled with some education for subtrades, can significantly boost a home's rating with less effort and cost than, for example, adding a heat pump.

As green regulations tighten, testing becomes more valuable

Mid-construction testing is a practice that major builders in colder climes swear by, such as Minto Communities in Ontario. And with more and more local governments focusing on energy efficient homes, it's important to figure out how to achieve better "green" ratings most effectively, as regulations tighten.

Learn more about mid-construction testing by clicking the links throughout this story. For more information, contact the Power Smart New Home Program, or a Certified Energy Advisor in your area.