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: 2838

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

What's the Most Profitable HVAC Job for Your Company?

Started by Wayne Melancon in HVAC. Last reply by Wayne Melancon yesterday. 3 Replies

Lighting replacement - 300 watt LED flood light

Started by Mary Sinkler in General Forum. Last reply by Jan E. Graveamker yesterday. 4 Replies

Glass Block Windows

Started by Ken Kalke in Best Practices. Last reply by Sean Lintow Sr on Saturday. 1 Reply

EZ Green Home is Hiring!

Started by Chloe Chapman in General Forum Jan 5. 0 Replies

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Latest Activity

Quinn Korzeniecki added a discussion to the group Building Performance Institute (BPI)
Thumbnail

Call for Nominations: Tony Woods Award and Building Performance Hall of Fame

The Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) is seeking nominations for the 2017 Tony Woods Award…See More
27 minutes ago
Horace Douglas Hunt, Jr. posted a status
"In the end, isn't it about our #legacy? i haven't left mine yet, have you? #morningthoughts #real"
3 hours ago
Horace Douglas Hunt, Jr. posted a status
"Q = 0.03A + 7.5(N+1) = if you know it, why isn't anyone incorporating it into their installation? #HVAC @accausa @_BPI_ #ASHRAE #6222016"
3 hours ago
Michael Dunseith commented on Kirsten Richnavsky's group Retrotec, Inc
"Congratulations on your new postion. Looking forward to working with you in the near future. Best…"
19 hours ago
Michael Dunseith joined Kirsten Richnavsky's group
20 hours ago
Wayne Melancon replied to Wayne Melancon's discussion What's the Most Profitable HVAC Job for Your Company?
"I'll agree with you there Ken. We'll get shopped by residential when the customer already…"
yesterday
Horace Douglas Hunt, Jr. commented on Horace Douglas Hunt, Jr.'s photo
Thumbnail

IMG_3138

"and....this was the best looking spot in the air handler. Seal the unit if you want to have any…"
yesterday
Horace Douglas Hunt, Jr. commented on Horace Douglas Hunt, Jr.'s photo
Thumbnail

IMG_3139

"Beginnings of mold....due in some part to leaks in air handler pulling hot humid air from…"
yesterday

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