Author Topic: Average cost of blower door test in your area?  (Read 4613 times)

David Meiland

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Average cost of blower door test in your area?
« on: July 26, 2012, 08:56:06 PM »
Any of you guys get calls to do blower door tests, with no added bells and whistles? Here in Washington state the energy code requires a blower door test on new homes (and additions over 750 square feet). All that's required is to determine the square footage of the house, set up the door, get a CFM50, calculate the result using a simple formula in the code, and enter the property address and result on a form. Houses are done (sometimes occupied) and there's usually little or no prep. It's pass/fail, and there's no need to find or fix problems, or do anything else.

Curious to hear some approximate numbers for this service in your market.
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stnick

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Re: Average cost of blower door test in your area?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2012, 05:30:02 AM »
Around here I get 150.00   No code requirement and not much competition.  Not much demand.  I wouldn't drive very far out of my way for that price without some mileage.

John  :)
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Bud9051

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Re: Average cost of blower door test in your area?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2012, 05:38:12 AM »
Same thing is coming here if they ever get the rules straightened out. 
I haven't done any, but have considered what I might charge.  If one functions as an independent, then the charge has to make a bit og profit all by itself.  My guess, in the $75 to $100 range.  Get down to $50 and you will probably find you are working for nothing after vehicle, insurance, and time.

The problem comes in when these can be done by contractors wanting to secure additional work, the foot in the door approach.  They will be doing them for free.  Unclear here which way they will go.

I like John's number.

Bud

PS, I always like the term "free".  People just don't understand that nothing is free.
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RSpermo

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Re: Average cost of blower door test in your area?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2012, 06:39:34 AM »
I do the required code blower door and duct leakage tests in San Antonio. Blower door alone - $150. Add a duct leakage test for 1 system - $200. Add $100 for another HVAC system.

David Meiland

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Re: Average cost of blower door test in your area?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2012, 06:51:33 AM »
Bud, if you look at the time requirements, I think you'll find it takes around 3 hours to do one of these, if not more. First, you get the phone call to ask about the service, which often requires ~15 minutes to explain what a blower door test is in the first place, because the caller has no clue. A few people have called me early in their building process and basically want coaching on how to build so they will pass... telephone consulting. Then, load up the truck, drive over there, do the test. Load back up, drive back, put the gear back in the shop. Then, sit down and write the invoice, email it off.

None of my jobs are more than 12 miles from home. I almost always lose 3 hours of actual working time to do one of these, and have been charging $180. Mine include an emailed Tec-Tite report and some info on what air leakage and ventilation is all about. Sometimes I get followup calls from the builder or homeowner wanting to know more. At $180, I am just barely replacing the lost construction income, since I can go out and work my contracting biz for known money during those same hours.

Not sure if the foot-in-the-door guys will want to do freebies. These are new homes, there's nothing to sell except maybe furniture.
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Bud9051

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Re: Average cost of blower door test in your area?
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2012, 08:33:20 AM »
David, I took your question with me to breakfast this morning and must have looked strange, sipping my coffee and laughing all by myself.  First, I totally agree, more, not less, but isn't that the same way we started thinking about energy audit?  If you have no competition and these are required, charge what you must to be profitable.

My laughing was thinking about some of the "home inspections" I have seen where the inspector sprinkles some holy water on the front door and signs off that all is fine.  He has the job because he has a track record of not finding problems.  I fear the same will be true with required BD tests unless they are requested by either the home owner (maybe) or code official.

My continued laughing was picturing some of the problems I have encountered, not exactly related to my energy review, that I felt compelled to relate to the home owner.  I personally don't know how I could ignore problems unrelated to what is required on my list.  That is probably why my 1 hr quick visits often took me 3 to 4 hrs and why I no longer do them.

CAZ and ventilation would be a must.  When the BD is on, I would not be able to resist some IR snooping.  And the list goes on.  I suppose, with practice, I could get in and get out as required, but it would be tough.  As for Maine, I'm still trying to find out what the requirements are.  When someone decides to answer my emails, I will post.

Bud
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RSpermo

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Re: Average cost of blower door test in your area?
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2012, 10:12:15 AM »
Bud,

   When I am hired to do a blower door test as required by code all that I do is calculate the building's volume, run the blower door and document the ACH50. I tell the builder what the code ACH50 requirement is and what his house's ACH50 was. I fill out the paperwork, sign it and give it to the builder who has to give my signed form to the city code officials. I do not trouble shoot unless the builder wants to pay me for my expertise and time!

SLS Construction

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Re: Average cost of blower door test in your area?
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2012, 10:20:58 AM »
Same as the duct test for me, dependant on that jurisdictions paperwork requirments
Single shots - $210 for duct or blower, 100 for each additional systems or test done at the same time
Builder or contractor doing at least 3 or more tests per month I do offer some discounts to

Bud9051

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Re: Average cost of blower door test in your area?
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2012, 11:26:59 AM »
Good question and great answers.  Very interesting for an old goat looking to do something useful in this trade.

Bud
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David Meiland

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Re: Average cost of blower door test in your area?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2012, 12:43:35 PM »
Bud, I do sometimes do some additional investigation, but I still try to stick within my allotted time. In 10-15 minutes I can often find that which needs fixing, and show it to the owner or builder. If they have done what I asked, and gotten the house ready, then I don't have to waste time on prep and can spend it on investigation.

So far the AHJ here is not nailing people on failed tests. About 50% pass, 50% miss, usually by a small margin. I see your point about the "friendly" blower door tech, but there's an equal issue of the "unfriendly" tech who knows how to get himself hired for a second test! I document mine with a Tec-Tite report, and photos of the door and manometer.
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