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Thread: Testing for air pressure in a house.

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member Mikebarone's Avatar
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    Default Testing for air pressure in a house.

    I have learned on the plumbing forum how to make a low cost water column tester. This tester is used to test for leaks in gas lines with a very low pressure, (about Ĺ PSI). I was wondering if there is a low cost device that would measure in Pascals? I was going to use my home made water column tester, but after learning that 50 pascals equal about 0.20 inches of a water column, I donít think that the water column tester will be sensitive enough for what Iím going to use it for.

    Thanks much,

    Mike

    PS. I'm going to be doing a blower door type of a test on my buddy's house to look for A/C duct leaks in his attic. I'll be pressuring his house and using a smoke bomb to try and find any leaks.

  2. #2
    Computer Programmer Bill Arden's Avatar
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    It's hard to making a sensor that is both easy to make, calibrate, and not subject to being damaged by large pressure swings.

    I would recommend trying a small garbage bag.
    1. take a small garbage bag. (bathroom type)
    2. Tape the end over a piece of cardboard so that the channels in the cardboard can be used as the input pipe.
    3. tape hose, ect to fill the bag.
    4. Lay sheets of paper on the bag until it's roughly flat and barely puffs up.
    5. Weigh the paper sheets and divide by the square inches.

    The real question is why you need to measure the pressure?
    If all you are doing is finding leaks, just having pressure is enough.
    Important note Ė I donít know man made laws, just laws of physics
    Disclaimer: I'm a big fan of Darwin awards.

  3. #3
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    If a guage is normally used on a blower door test , then I am sure it is commercially available and not too expensive. But just knowing that you have pressure seems like enough to do a smoke test.
    Here are some links to testing, and they mention the 50 pascal #, so I assume you have already done this research. I notice the testing is done with a vacuum in the house, not postive pressure

    http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/.../mytopic=11190
    http://www.infiltec.com/inf-btst.htm

    Here is a link to a guage:
    http://www.energyconservatory.com/do...00brochure.pdf and another http://www.retrotec.com/products/gau...nel_digital_p/


    I couldn't find any site actually selling those guages. I guess they would run a few hundred.
    Last edited by jimbo; 05-19-2008 at 07:38 AM.

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member Mikebarone's Avatar
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    Default Thanks all for your inputs!

    Thanks all for your inputs!
    I did find a web site, (and there is probably a lot out there) that have a hand held meter with a fan blade mounted on top of the meter, and as it spins it will give you CFM and the ambient tempeture. I could get a fairly nice one for around $200.00, but after making that monomer for around $20.00, I got cheep, and I though I would get some info off of this forum before I went out and got one.
    I though I would pressurize his house to use the smoke bombs work, because if I created a vacuum in the house, I donít think the smoke bomb would work. I agree with everyone that a meter would not be needed for the smoke bomb test, but it would be nice to know how air tight the rest of the house is tooÖie outlets, can light, fire place dampers etc.
    Thanks for the web sites; Iíll give them a look see.

    Thanks again,

    Mike

    PS. Iíll have to re-read the plastic bag test that was suggested, and digest it a little betterÖ.Thnaks!

  5. #5
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    If you put a pressure on the house, then release smoke inside, you may see generalized movement in a direction. If you have a vacuum on the house, and probe around windows, doors, electrical outlets, etc. you probably get a much more specific location of the path of the air leak.

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member Mikebarone's Avatar
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    Default Thanks Jimbo!

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    If you put a pressure on the house, then release smoke inside, you may see generalized movement in a direction. If you have a vacuum on the house, and probe around windows, doors, electrical outlets, etc. you probably get a much more specific location of the path of the air leak.
    The smoke bomb I was going to set off inside of his air-handler thatís located in a closet in a hallway, (after tapping off all of his delivery vents) so the smoke wouldnít be in the entire house.
    You do have a great point about detecting leaks around all outlets etc. Iíve read that incense sticks can be used around the smaller areas, (wall plugs, can light etc). I guess there is a reason the proís create a vacuum in the house huh. Blowing air into the house itís also going to be hard to limit the turbulents in the house. I think Iím going to blow for the smoke test, for the duct leak test in his attic and suck for the outlet testsÖ.no pun intendedÖ.LOL.

    Thanks Jimbo!

    Mike

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