We are relatively new to this Residential Home Assessment industry and while we have all the needed certifications, we still need to buy equipment.

 

Any feedback on certain Blower Doors and IR Cameras? Consumer Reports is not really a place we can go and I think this equipment information might assist everyone on this board.

 

 

Tags: equipment

Views: 2876

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Really good advice.  My 2c behind it...

I have Minneapolis.  Get whatever your friends have as you may need to borrow equipment, and learning the other type during an audit will not be fun.  

I have the testo 510 also.  Get one, and get 2 probes.  If you start to learn equipment you'll find yourself in situations wondering about ESP, filter drop, coil restriction, etc.  "I wish I knew system static" is an unpleasant thought.  Understanding how the current equipment matches to duct work often will lend to a broader understanding of homeowner complaints, and how to cure them.  

The cameras themselves are not an end all without proper training they simply take pretty pictures. I would recommend Level I training.

I'd agree with that, even take it a step further.  Don't bother with a camera. Unless you are going to spend additional thousands going to classes it's more of a sales gimmick.  It will help diagnose specific problems, but that's not what you'll get paid for.  It will "prove" to the homeowner top plates and rim joists leak, but you already knew that and smoke shows it too.  You really only have so much time in the house, with the homeowner.  At some point another gee wiz item becomes too much.  

Most importantly, unlike the blower door it does not really help quantify savings opportunity.  IMO it is more important as a QC tool than an auditor tool.  Fantastic tool for the install crew to insure they've filled/sealed/etc, whatever they were supposed to fill. 

You can't go wrong with either the TEC or Retrotec blower door or duct testers/blasters.  I teach using both brands, but I find the TEC DG-700 slightly more intuitive for new users because of the layout of the input and reference taps on the face of the device.  

For my auditing business, I have a Retrotec blower door and a TEC duct blaster.  That gives me two manometers to do zonal pressure tests.  Other's may find it a little odd using a Retrotec blower door and a TEC duct blaster hooked together to the outside when doing a duct leakage test WRT to the outside but the air doesn't care what brand you use.  If you only have one device, then the Testo 510 makes a nice, relatively inexpensive 2nd manometer.  And, with a pitot tube, you can measure air velocity coming out of air supplies, if you want to get into air balancing a little.

When I got into the business, I rented the equipment from another auditor for a few weeks so that I felt comfortable with it. Then, I bought used once I felt confident enough to evaluate the equipment.  (My first day, I did a ton of blower tests on an apartment, so I got real practiced real quick.)  The only issue I found buying used is getting the equipment calibrated by the manufacturer.  I used escrow.com for the transaction, so I felt protected from problems.

I did purchase a Fluke TiR thermal camera.  It has 160x120 resolution, which is just barely enough...you'll find you'll always want more resolution with a thermal camera.  I chose Fluke because it's rated to withstand a 2meter drop.  I know someday it's going to slip out of my hands.  Training is mandatory, otherwise you'll take pretty pictures, but you'll misinterpret what you're seeing.  Better to take the training, first, then buy the camera.

I always charge extra when pulling out the thermal camera.  RESNET has standards for thermal imaging which requires a delta T of 18 degrees between the inside and the outside.  It also requires a blower door, with thermal imaging before and during use of the blower door so you can see where the air is infiltrating.  RESNET has IR standards, BPI doesn't.

With the exception of insulation and duct work in the walls, I believe I find 90% to 95% of all the problems in a home with the blower door, smoke stick, and experience, so I don't tend to sell the thermal camera hard, especially in homes around 2,000 sf or less.  Then again, I know how a blower door and experience stacks up to a thermal camera because I've spent a good amount of time practicing with both.  Training and a rental can get you that same experience.

Where a thermal camera comes in great is in a larger house (3,000+ sf) at least 20 years old that has inaccessible attics.  In that instance, a thermal camera was the only way to convince a particular homeowner they needed to cut accesses into their sealed off attics so we could weatherize.  It also showed the fallen insulation on a 20 foot wall, which was a major cause of the drafts they felt in the room in the winter due to convective loops...and leaky duct work in other walls.

Good luck!

RSS

Featured Forum Discussions

Too many BTU's. Too much horsepower?

Started by Steve in General Forum. Last reply by Walter Ahlgrim 1 hour ago. 3 Replies

Stack/wind pressure and flow networks.

Started by Daniel James Grundy in Training. Last reply by Daniel James Grundy 5 hours ago. 5 Replies

BDT with vermiculite in hollow CMU walls?

Started by Brad Cook in General Forum. Last reply by John Nicholas 11 hours ago. 2 Replies

Strange IR Image

Started by Larry Nissman in General Forum. Last reply by Brad Cook Mar 9. 7 Replies

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Latest Activity

Walter Ahlgrim replied to Steve's discussion Too many BTU's. Too much horsepower?
"The 5 ton system you have is not 500 hp racecar engines they are 500 hp truck engines. The duct…"
1 hour ago
Daniel James Grundy replied to Daniel James Grundy's discussion Stack/wind pressure and flow networks.
"So I wanted to start with a basic who can help then go into more detail later. But yes find…"
5 hours ago
Daniel James Grundy replied to Daniel James Grundy's discussion Stack/wind pressure and flow networks.
"My tutor got back to me and while areas don't quite feel right a little to much assumptions…"
5 hours ago
Brennan Less replied to Daniel James Grundy's discussion Stack/wind pressure and flow networks.
"Daniel, I'm assuming you're trying to predict the airflows through the different openings…"
7 hours ago
Martin Newmark joined allen p tanner's group
Thumbnail

Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase

Discuss the pros and cons of the equipment you are interested in prior to purchase. Post equipment…See More
9 hours ago
John Nicholas replied to Brad Cook's discussion BDT with vermiculite in hollow CMU walls?
"If the drywall is in good shape, you should have little worries about the 50pa depressurization…"
11 hours ago
tedkidd replied to Steve's discussion Too many BTU's. Too much horsepower?
"Does the house ever feel clammy? Do you have to keep the thermostat below 74 to be comfortable? Is…"
13 hours ago
Danielle Sass Byrnett liked Diane Chojnowski's blog post Don MacOdrum receives BPI's 2017 Tony Woods Award!
14 hours ago

Home Energy Pros

Welcome to Home Energy Pros – the unique digital community by and for those who work in the home energy performance arena.

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (supported by the U.S. Department of Energy) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.  Home Energy Pros is sponsored by the Better Buildings Residential Network. Please honor our Guidelines

© 2017   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service