I just ordered the Retrotec house and duct simulator to use in our next HERS rater class and was wondering what other trainers do to give students practice with the pressure testing equipment in the classroom. Do you use a simulator? If so, which one? FSEC also has one, which they demonstrated at last year's RESNET conference. Are there others available commercially? Do you have one that your company built? Or do you just do this part all in the field?
I'll post my first experience with the Retrotec simulator here after our class.
Hi Allison. At NYSWDA we use a 650 sq. ft. pressure house to train everything from blower door basics to advanced pressure diagnostics. We also have used Anthony Cox's House of Pressure and lately have been using EnergyWright's ZPD House tabletop pressure house for training. We have found the process of going from classroom basics on pressure diagnostics, to tactile practice on a tabletop model, to full immersion inside a full-sized pressure house is an effective way to provide a solid foundation in pressure diagnostics training.
You can read about Pressure House Learning in Real Time in the July 2010 issue of Home Energy magazine.
We haven't used Retrotec's simulator tents, but it looks like a good incremental step in delivering hands-on training in pressure fundamentals.
Did NYSWDA design and build the house or was this purchased somewhere ? I'm curious to see what it looks like.
Our full-sized pressure house was designed and built by NYSWDA. Click on the links in my reply above to see pictures and an article about it. There are also pics on this website.
Allison, this is James McGarvey. I was the first Ex Director at NIYSWDA and helped design the house Dale spoke of. I have come out of retirement to do the BPI Trainings in Charlotte, NC with AppleBlossom Energy. We are leasing a temporary space and therefore built a low cost training lab, will be upgrading when we get our own property. For a few hundred dollars we built a simple OSB board box, 12'x12'x8' high, divided into two rooms. We installed all three grades of bat insulation along with sprayed cellulose and covered with lexon so students can view and see the difference in air leakage when blower door is on. We installed a used gas hot water heater along with a gas oven. We put in a small dropped area to represent an attic with sliders to control attic vent and house to attic leakage.
We have two doors so blower door can be set up. We can teach the Blower Door usage, CAZ zone testing, spillage, draft, and CO on the hot water tank and of course the proper way to test an oven. We use the blower door to simulate house fans for CAZ tests. We will be adding a box inside and outside with registers, ducts, and controlled leakage so we can teach Duct Leakage testing. Only problem we have is oven produces over 2000 PPM of CO so we have to ventilate when we test the oven. As most of the homes in our area here are all electric it is useful to have our cheap lab for training and for field testing as we can simulate most CAZ problems. I think this type of lab can be built for less than $500 dollars and cheaper if you can use recycled lumber. Good luck, james