Blower Door Testing Leakage Around The Door Panel

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How and when should I compensate for leakage around the door panel?

Answer

Modular Panels are designed to be placed into doors that are not well sealed.  The panel leakage for the Modular Panel is about 14 square inches compared to about 3 square inches for the Aluminum Frame and Cloth and around 1 square inch of leakage for the upgraded Aluminum Frame with snap together corners.  These three panels represent three typical doorways: 

  1. Poorly weather-stripped which would have an approximate 1/16 inch gap which equals about 14 square inches leakage;  
  2. A well weather-stripped and adjusted door would be around 3 square inches or leakage; 
  3. A super tight door could be as tight as 1 square inch of leakage and can even have less.

One rule of thumb is that all standards require the blower door panel to be leakier and never tighter than the existing door.  The Modular Panel qualifies here.  It is likely that the Aluminum Frame and Cloth are tighter than the existing door.  In either case, if the door panel leakage is 10% of the total, then further investigation is needed.

Modular Panels:

1000 CFM at 50 Pa, no attention needs to be paid to the door panel leakage.  If the flow rate is under that you might want to measure the panel tightness compared to the door tightness and subtract any excess from the readings.  Or, if the panel is tighter than the door, you will have to add it.  

Example; 500 CFM at 50 Pa for the enclosure.  Door is closed over top of the panel with the red tube in the gap and leakage measured at 50 Pa of 140 CFM.  The door is then taped shut to measure panel leakage which is 80 CFM at 50 Pa.  The Door thus leaks 140-80=60 CFM.   Correction to test result is then: 500-80+60= 480 CFM.

Aluminum Frame and Cloth:

220 CFM at 50 Pa, no attention needs to be paid to the door panel leakage.

Aluminum Frame with upgraded snap together corners and Cloth:  

70 CFM at 50 Pa, no attention needs to be paid to the door panel leakage.  If the flow rate is under that you should measure the panel tightness compared to the door tightness and subtract any excess from the readings.  Or, if the panel is tighter than the door, you will have to add it which is more common and shown in the following example:

Example:  50 CFM at 50 Pa for the enclosure.  Door is closed over top of the panel with the red tube in the gap and leakage measured at 50 Pa of 8 CFM.  The door is then taped shut to measure panel leakage which is 3 CFM at 50 Pa. The Door then leaks 8-3= 5 CFM.  Correction to test result is thus:  50-3+5= 52 CFM.

These tests are rarely done but testers should learn how leaky their panels are in advance of any test they may do.  Retrotec has performed this test in nuclear power plants where every part of the test needed to be documented including panel leaks.  Learning how much your panels leak will be a useful tool to determine how they might be affecting your results.  For example, when Modular Panels are used to measure flows well in excess of 2000 CFM, the panel leakage is irrelevant, but in tight rooms it could make the difference between pass or fail.  One has to determine then if the door leakage may be a major part of the total and cannot just be deducted.  Similarly, if you are using the new tight Aluminum Frame with square snap together corners, your readings might be low.