According to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in DE, PA, NJ, MD and VA, every new home must have a measurement for house air leakage and for duct leakage, if the ducts are not “inside” the home’s conditioned space. Energy Services Group helps builders across the Mid-Atlantic region meet the code requirements adopted by your state.
The allowable leakage rates will vary depending on which IECC code is in use: 2009, 2012, or 2015. Duct testing can be done either before or after drywall, but the building leakage (testing) must be done when the home is substantially complete.
It will be difficult for many houses to meet the newer standards without some serious thought. Talk to us about our guaranteed results in sealing your homes to meet the code.
Duct sealing can be difficult for an HVAC contractor who is not yet familiar with the standards and how to achieve them. (Again, ESG can help your heating contractor meet the code when planning ahead)
Testing Equipment & Process
Building air leakage is measured with a blower door, a large fan that is used to pressurize or depressurize the home. The test is done after the home is completed and prior to the final inspection. The report will become part of your submittal to your code official prior to scheduling your final code inspection. Some jurisdictions under the 2009 code will allow a visual inspection to be done before drywall in place of the blower door test. Ask us if you are unsure – we are familiar with the requirements in all jurisdictions (and have IECC certified staff to answer complicated questions.)
Duct leakage is measured with a duct tester, a small fan that is used to pressurize just the duct system. The test can be done before drywall, with or without the air handler in place, or after drywall. At first, it is best to schedule the duct leakage test before installing drywall so any needed repairs can occur when the ducts are still accessible and your HVAC crews can learn what is needed without attic insulation in the way. The test is most accurate after the air handler has been set. Testing the ducts at the same time as the building leakage is the least expensive way for you to do both tests for code compliance.
ESG is unique! We ask that you or a representative be present for the first couple tests. We use diagnostic techniques that will quickly train you and your staff in delivering a tight house and a tight duct system. We also suggest that you use mastic to seal your ducts instead of tape, as this makes for a tighter system more consistently. The thicker, the better! (And “thick as a nickel” is a good standard to follow.) HVAC technicians are not painters – the goal is to completely seal the ductwork, not look pretty.
There is still a question in some jurisdictions about who is authorized to complete testing for code compliance. Two organizations include training for whole house leakage and duct leakage testing in their certifications. One is BPI, in their uncommon Heating Professional Certification, but not in their Building Analyst or Envelope Professional certifications, and the other is RESNET. All of our field technicians carry a full RESNET authorization to complete both of these tests.
International Energy Conservation Codes: Click here