Air Tightness Testing

Testing air leakage of a building is done by means of an Air Tightness Test. This is introduced in the building regulations in July 2008, with the objective to reduce heatloss and to improve built quality.

Air tightness helps:

  • thermal insulation to work effectively
  • reduce draughts
  • prevent condensation inside the building structure (interstitual condensation)
  • create a healthy and comfortable living environment
  • control natural ventilation or improve efficiency of HRV

Areas of air leakage are found using Thermal Imaging, Smoke Tests, Anometry and of course by using our experience and a good bit of common sense.

New buildings are generally tested first during construction after means for air tightness are applied. A final test may be required if the building is ready for use.
Tests conform EN 13829 standard

'Build tight and ventilate right'.

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Pressure Testing

An Air Tightness Test also know as a Pressure Test.................what does it tell us?

A test is designed to determine the flow of air that is able to infiltrate or exfiltrate your building. For this test a huge blower unit is fitted in one if your front- or back door and pressurises subsequently depressurises the building towards a given target pressure. When this value is obtained the airflow is measured being a measure for the air leakage.
Although the test procedure involves a number of pressures (for reasons of accuracy and reliability), at the end it is only the result from a target pressure of 50 Pascal that is used for comparison with regulations and to keep things simple.
(100.000 'Pascals' equals one 'Bar').
This airflow at 50 Pascals is subsequently related to the external building envelope and the volume of the building to calculate parameters as ‘Air Permeability’ and ‘Air Exchange Rate’.

The test also produces an ‘Equivalent Leakage Area’ to give us an idea of the size of a hole representing the total of leakages. This can be very useful to see what the impact of improvements will be.

Eventually the results of the test can be seen as a measure of built quality and of course it allows us to calculate heat loss, as under normally weather-induced circumstances.

Last but not least the test is used to locate draughts and can even give a breakdown of the contribution of every room.
The cold draughts can be visualised with an infrared camera, hot-wire anemometer or with a smoke generator.

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