Over the past year, the buzz in residential building in Florida has been all about Blower Door testing and the new energy code. However, Duct Leakage testing is actually the significant factor for getting homes to pass cost-effectively.
The current Florida energy code (5th Edition) references a zero percent duct leakage to the outside, which makes it hard for builders to pass the code unless they take credit for their duct leakage test results. Without taking credit for the actual leakage results, the default is set at 12 percent, which is nowhere close to the referenced zero percent for code.
SkyeTec has found that by switching from the default duct leakage (12%) to “proposed leak free” (3%), builders are able to lower the e-ratio score by 6 to 9 points, which is often the difference between passing and failing.
In order to take credit for the duct leakage, the building code official will require that a duct leakage test is performed by a third-party.
There are a couple other options for lowering that e-ratio score by multiple points, such as installing a Heat Pump water heater, however this is going to add more cost to the builder.
By far, duct leakage testing is the best way to get the most “bang for your buck” and pass the energy code. For more information, contact SkyeTec at 904.482.4000.