We had an energy audit done Wednesday. It's part of a rebate program, so we knew we would be receiving money back for the efficient HVAC equipment we had already installed. We also knew a blower door test would be part of the package, which we were very interested in. Basically, all the doors and windows are shut and the central heat/air is turned off. A seal is erected around one main door with a large, powerful fan inserted that blows out. It creates a vacuum and allows you to feel any drafty areas in the house where air is rushing in, either from the outside or from unconditioned spaces, like the basement or attic.
Our poor old lady of a house failed on a massive level! The technician said he had never had such a low reading before. A decent house can attain 50 psi, a bad one maybe only 15-20 psi. He said he'd seen a 10 once before. Ours barely registered a 6 or 7! Now, in her excuse, several of the really bad places are still under construction. We have exposed lath in the kitchen where I'm finishing the backsplash, missing shoe base molding where the floors are still being trimmed out, holes cut in the walls by previous residents that lead straight to crawl space, an understairs closet with only a partial wall to the basement, a gaping vent in an unused chimney that is open to the attic, etc., etc., etc.
It was certainly helpful to see how large of an infiltration results from these "wounds". There were also some surprises, like the gust of wind from beneath the window trim. We might as well purchase some stock in Lowes or Home Depot, as I imagine we will be buying unending quantities of caulk, spray foam, weather stripping, and insulation in the next few months.
In spite of our disastrous grade on the audit, I can say we probably made our inspector's day. We had the windows wide open at one point, and our inspector thought he saw a cat on the windowsill. Turned out it was Atomic Cluck, checking out the dining room with her head and neck protruding in. He got a real kick out of a pet chicken. Then when he was setting up the blower door test and had the front door open, she kept trying to wander in through the hole for the fan. He stopped what he was doing and took several pictures, declaring that he thought he had seen everything and this was going on his Facebook page. So our nosy girl is probably famous somewhere out there on the worldwide web!