Residential Testing and Diagnostics
Johnson’s conducts Blower Door testing to evaluate moisture exposure and paths through structures. These tests are also the basis for energy evaluation and certified rating systems required for certain building code requirements and Energy Star Programs.
Benchmarks established for building leakage are set by building codes and building rating programs as minimum compliance standards ; they can also be used to evaluate stress due to moisture exposure to the structure.
Blower Door Testing uses calibrated fan apparatus to exert an artificial negative pressure upon the interior space to magnify its leakage rate to a level that it can be more easily evaluated.
The Blower Door equipment creates a negative pressure that increases the leakage rate of the building 20 to 40 times what would normally be expected. Just as a microscope magnifies objects 20 to 40 times visually so that they are easier to see and analyse, the Blower Door magnifies building leakage so that it becomes more apparent.
Once the test data is collected, it can be used to evaluate the severity of the leakage and identify the pathways that moist air is taking to enter the structure.
Rather than guessing what measures would work best to abate moisture and indoor humidity issues, these tests identify what steps would yield the best results and the highest return on investments for improvements.
Duct Blower equipment works much the same way to evaluate duct system leakage. The duct system is temporarily sealed during testing and a smaller calibrated test fan is used to measure the leak rate and severity of leakage through air conditioning system ductwork and equipment.
Building code and Energy Star program requirements specify that these tests be performed for certain applications. Benchmarks for duct leakage are based upon Duct Blower Test results and cannot be determined using the normal pressures exerted by the systems circulation fan.
Infrared thermal imaging cameras and data loggers are also used to evaluate building moisture problems. Infrared thermography is used to identify damp building materials and determine moisture pathways. Thermal imaging can be used for roof leaks, plumbing leaks, shower wall leakage as well as trouble shooting humidity issues. Data loggers are used to measure the indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity levels over time. Data loggers record temperatures and relative humidity levels by taking a reading once each minute over a period of up to fifteen days. The results are downloaded to a spreadsheet or bar graph format to be analyzed so that trends and patterns can be identified.
Commercial Building Diagnostics
Commercial buildings, including multifamily structures over three stories are treated a little bit differently. Sometimes Blower Door and Duct Blower testing are used ; but often the buildings natural pressures are used as the basis of evaluations. High rise buildings have random pressurization levels that change with prevailing wind speeds and direction.
Most commercial buildings have mechanically induced pressures created by ventilation and exhaust systems. The test methods used depend upon the particular dynamics of the building and the mechanical systems being used.
Building pressures between indoors and outdoors and between partitions inside are analyzed to evaluate the influences of internal and external pressures and the paths that moisture takes as it enters a building. It begins with openings as obvious as the entry doors and other openings that occupants use to gain access to areas within the building. From there all of the connections between lobbies hallways and interior rooms are evaluated. Stairwells and elevator shaft pressures are measured on multiple floors to determine what effect they have. Concealed duct chases, piping chases and building cavities are identified and tested to establish what role they are playing. And finally the mechanical systems are tested to see what capabilities they have and whether adjustments need to be made.
In each building and in every case, the pressure paths can be mapped out to reveal the invisible paths that indoor and outdoor air takes through the structure. Where moisture and humidity problems occur that are noticeable to occupants, the forces that drive the causes of the complaints may be located completely in another part of the building. Systematic testing reveals the sources, pathways and pressures that drive moisture though the building exposing building materials and occupants to harm.
Elevator Shaft Testing & Ventilation
Johnson’s has the equipment and experience required to assess the vulnerabilities unique to the various types of construction and occupancies common in SWFL. Elevator shafts are one of the most challenging building elements to control.
The indoor environment of any building is not just the product of the operation mechanical systems that serve it ; the building itself must perform adequately to maintain efficient, healthy indoor spaces. In SWFL buildings are subject to the brutal humidity demands of our tropical climate. Just as winter seasons subject buildings and systems to peak demands in northern climates, the summer rainy season months of SWFL push buildings and systems to their limit each year.
Building diagnostics are not just about comfort for occupants, it also involves stress to building materials that are subject to moisture damage. The equipment used reveals where building materials are vulnerable and the paths that the airborne moisture takes through the structures. It measures the severity and magnitude of breaches in the structure to assess whether there is a need to take steps to abate moisture damage and if so what measures would be effective.