The Blower Door Test

The Blower Door Test

What is a blower door test?

A blower door test locates air leaks by using a special fan to depressurize a house.  Blower door tests are usually performed before and after air sealing to measure the effectiveness of the home sealing.

A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts into the frame of an exterior door located on the home. The fan removes air out of the house, and lowers the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed cracks and openings. A smoke pencil is used to detect air leaks. These tests determine the air infiltration rate of a building.

Blower doors consist of a frame and flexible panel that fit in a doorway, a variable-speed fan, a pressure gauge to measure the pressure differences inside and outside the home, and an airflow manometer and hoses for measuring airflow.

Who needs a blower door test?

Blower-door testing is useful for both new construction and existing homes. By testing a new home, we can determine whether a certain air tightness target has been achieved.  This is especially important when building an ENERGY STAR home or an R-2000 home.  The results of the blower door test are required for certification of the home.

Why is an airtight home important?

  • Energy consumption due to air leakage is reduced
  • Moisture condensation problems are avoided
  • Uncomfortable drafts caused by cold air leaking in from the outdoors are eliminated

We have been performing blower door tests on our homes for over 10 years.  It’s our way of showing our customers we stand behind our promise of building quality into our homes.

Step Up to One Level Living

Every Day Living on One Level

As a builder, I have always emphasized to my customers who are enjoying the ‘empty nest’ years the importance of designing a home that encourages ‘one level living’.  A comfortable home that promotes living safely and independently all on one level.

Designing for Accessibility and Flexibility

A good home design will result in a safe and secure environment that is accessible and flexible.  Spaces within the home include room for social entertaining, active grandchildren, and ample storage.  A level entry at the main entrance and minimal steps from the garage into the home.  Master bedroom and laundry room on the main level.  Consider a design that allows everyday living to take place all on one level, yet still has comfortable spaces for visiting grandchildren, overnight guests, and lively evenings watching the game.

As we age, our mobility needs change.  It’s something we may not think about much in our forties and fifties, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan for the possibility when designing a home.  36” doorways as opposed to 30” will allow plenty of space for moving furniture and wheelchair access.  Wider hallways, 43” or more, will feel wider and are less confining.  A specific closet designed with a future elevator shaft in mind will allow for longer term mobility within the home.

A Safer Home

A well lit home is a safer home.  Motion lights conveniently installed into stair steps will ensure lighting is always present in stairwells.  Lights in closets and within cabinetry will enhance work spaces and walkways.

The list goes on.  A well designed home will be attractive, accommodating, and adaptable to all stages of life.  If you are thinking about a new home, consider a design that allows you to do all your every day living on one level.

After all, there is no place like home.

Interested?  Please download our ‘Sonbuilt Aging in Place’ brochure!  And don’t forget to contact us today!

Foundation Finishing

Transitioning from an ICF Foundation

Our foundation finishing details are an important part of keeping our homes dry and comfortable.  We use several different waterproof products to transition from our ICF (insulated concrete form) foundations to our exterior cladding.  Using these products ensure our foundations stay protected from water and dampness.

1.  Colphene

The first product we use is called Colphene, by Soprema.  Colphene is specifically designed to waterproof an ICF foundation.

2.  Delta Drain

We also use Delta Drain.  Delta Drain is an effective method to control the flow of damaging soil moisture and hydrostatic pressure through cracks and gaps in below grade structures. It is an essential element of a complete waterproofing system.

3.  TuffX

The final product we use is TuffX.  We use TuffX as a transition strip between the ground level and the exterior cladding.  TuffX is extremely durable and tough.

ICF foundations are known for reducing cold spots and drafts in basements.  By waterproofing our foundations we limit the potential for moisture to seep in through the foundation and fuel mold and mildew growth within interior finished basement walls.

For more information contact us!

Foundation Finishing

Carriage House

Building a Coach House

A Coach House is a Practical Home!

As summer warms up we’ve been busy building a coach house for a local family here in the Fraser Valley.  The trusses have been installed and we are working on framing while the sun shines!  This coach house is designed to be both energy efficient and practical for our clients.  We are excited to see the finished product and we know they are too!

There are a number of good reasons to consider building a coach house on your property.  Of course, you do need to ensure the zoning in your local municipality will permit this on the size of property you own.  A call to city hall should provide you with the answer.

Here are a few reasons to consider building a coach house on your land:

  1. A coach house, also known as a carriage house, will increase your property value.

While it is an expense up front, additional living space will make your property more valuable down the road when you are thinking of selling.

  1. Keep your family close together

Aging parents or adult children who can’t afford to leave just yet.  A private suite in the backyard keeps family close to home. 

  1. Monthly income

Renting out a coach house can bring in valuable residual income, especially now with the cost of rent being as high as it is.  You may find the monthly payments to finance a coach house could be a lot lower than the rental income you can bring in. 

Is a Coach House in my budget?

One of the first questions we are usually asked by prospective clients who wish to build a coach house is regarding cost.  As you can imagine, coach houses vary in a big way when it comes to size and finishes.  There is no set “per square foot” cost when it comes to building anything custom these days.  The best way to begin determining the cost is to sit down with a builder you trust and share your thoughts on what you want.  An initial meeting should confirm whether what you hope to build is within your budget.

Contact Us!

As zoning and bylaws change it’s becoming more common for families to keep the property they own and build a coach house to accommodate changing family needs.  Contact us today if you are considering a coach house on your property!

Solar Panels

5 Reasons to Go Solar!

A Solar Home in Abbotsford

Back in April we installed a solar panel system at our home in Abbotsford.  A big shout out to Riverside Energy Systems from Kamloops for installing the system on our roof!  Since that day, we have regularly checked our account with BC Hydro to compare our cost of electricity from day to day.  We noticed an immediate drop in our daily cost of power!

Installing a solar panel system is a big decision that more and more people are choosing to make.  There are a number of reasons why we chose to invest in solar for our home.  We know we made the right decision.  Here are five reasons why we believe solar panels should be something a homeowner should consider:

1.  Greatly reduce your energy bills

Electricity can eat up a lot of your monthly income.  While a solar panel system probably won’t produce all of the energy you and your family need, it will drastically reduce your utility bills and save you a lot of money.  Interested in the BC Hydro Net Metering program?  Click here.

2.  Good return on your investment

Solar panel systems are designed to last for many years. While they can lose some efficiency over time, even after 30 years your panels should be 80% efficient.  If you are planning to build your forever home you won’t regret spending some extra money up front to guarantee a lifetime of savings.

3.  Protect yourself from rising energy costs

In the past number of years we have seen a rise in the cost of residential electricity and your future monthly energy bills will continue to increase.  Solar panels protect you and your family from unpredictable increases in electricity costs.

4.  Add to your property value

Homes with solar panels have higher property values.  As prospective home buyers and appraisers  become more educated on the benefits of solar, the demand for homes with solar panel systems will continue to grow.

5.  Protect the environment

Solar is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint.  A typical residential solar panel system will eliminate up to 3 to 4 tons of carbon emissions each year – that’s the equivalent of planting over 100 trees annually!

The benefits of adding solar panels to your home are undeniable.  If you are considering building a home and wish to discuss possibly adding solar panels, contact us!  We are happy to chat!

Rainwater Harvesting in Abbotsford!

Water Conservation in Abbotsford

With the forecast showing upcoming days of sunshine, we are forging ahead on our Abbotsford project!  This energy efficient custom build contains plenty of workshop and storage space with cozy, practical living quarters.

These Fraser Valley homeowners are all about water conservation so they recently installed 3 Graf Carat rainwater harvesting tanks beside their future home.

Using a Telebelt

We called in Marshall Brothers to provide the services of their telebelt conveyor to assist in the placement of material around those tanks.  By using a telebelt, we can quickly and economically convey and place bulk materials such as sand, gravel, and crushed rock.  A great big “thank you” to Jim Smith from Marshall Brothers!

Rainwater Harvesting Tanks

Each Graf Carat rainwater harvesting  tank, supplied by Barr Plastics in Abbotsford, can hold up to 1,700 US gallons of harvested water.  This water can be used for toilet flushing, running laundry, washing vehicles, and irrigation.  A great way to save water and keep that municipal water bill extremely low!

Several years ago we installed Graf’s largest rainwater harvesting system in Canada!  Read up on the story here on the Barr Plastics website.

Today’s video on New Homes Built Right talks about the use of the telebelt.

Window and Door Bucks

Window and Door Bucks – Building Them Right!

Our Project in Abbotsford

Our Abbotsford project in the Fraser Valley is coming along nicely.  We are fortunate to have some nicer weather lately and this has made our job just a bit easier!

Known for Quality Built Homes

We are known for quality built homes.  We don’t cut corners.  We build our foundations with ICF, also known as insulated concrete forms.  An ICF foundation makes a home more energy efficient, durable, and comfortable.  Damp basements and random cold rooms are eliminated when living in a home with an ICF foundation.

The walls on this particular home in Abbotsford are ICF as well.  As a result, this home will have a lower appetite for energy and vastly improved comfort inside the home due to more consistent temperatures, lack of drafts, and superior sound absorption.

A Home with ICF Walls

When your home has ICF walls, we work to ensure the window and door openings are sealed for  minimal air leakage.  A window or door buck is a wood, metal or plastic element used in conventional or icf concrete forming.  It can be removed after concrete is cured or left in place as a permanent attachment point for windows, doors, or other finishes.

New Homes Built Right

Today’s vlog New Homes Built Right shows how we build our window and door bucks to keep your home durable and well constructed.

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Mike Holmes and Team

A Visit from Mike Holmes!

Mike Holmes Visit to Abbotsford!

Last Friday we hosted a fabulous meet and greet with Mike Holmes at our office, right here in Abbotsford!   He was here to shoot Sonbuilt’s latest promotional video showcasing the building practices and products that we use. We introduced him to our trade workers, suppliers as well as a few friends, but were especially excited to be able to invite some of our past, present and future clients whom are the heart of our business!

Those who attended learned more about building healthy and energy efficient homes. We displayed information and samples on all kinds of both sustainable and energy efficient technologies including rainwater harvesting, insulated concrete forms, solar power, and geo exchange.

Holmes Approved Homes

Sonbuilt Custom Homes is an accredited partner in the Holmes Approved Homes builder program. This is an invitation only program where the builder and Holmes Approved Homes agree upon the specifications to build to and also allows for a minimum of 3 staged third party inspections by Mike Holmes Inspections. After each inspection of their new home, the client will receive a report with photos. That is value added to the home right there!

When you build with Sonbuilt, we commit to building homes to a high standard in energy efficiency, durability, and practicality. That’s why Mike Holmes selected us as a partner, we are very good at what we do.

 

Peace of Mind

Building with a Holmes Approved Homes builder provides peace of mind that your home is going to be built right.  Each builder across Canada in this program is recognized for their commitment to quality and better building.

THANK YOU!

We want to say a big “thank you” to everyone who came out on Friday for our event.  We truly hope you enjoyed your time!  We had fun and Mike did too! 

We also want to express our gratitude to Mike Holmes and the team he brought along, Seth, Jon & Michael.  Our partnership with you means a lot to us!

For more information on Sonbuilt and the Holmes Approved Homes program, CLICK HERE.

 

Holmes Approved Homes

Holmes Approved Homes

Holmes Approved Homes Builder

We are frequently asked about the Holmes Approved Homes program and how we got connected to Mike Holmes network of builders.

We were originally contacted by the Holmes Group over 2 years.  They surprised us with a phone call and follow up visit to some of our jobsites.  They were impressed by our quality construction and commitment to building energy efficient, durable homes.   When asked if we would consider partnering with the Holmes Approved Homes program, we were thrilled to say ‘YES’!

Please visit our website HERE for more information on the program.

Today’s New Homes Built Right VLOG gives a brief explanation on the Holmes Approved Homes program.  Check it out!

Holmes Approved Homes

Langley Spring Home Expo

Visit Us This Weekend in Langley!

We are going to be in the Langley Spring Home Expo this coming weekend.  Here are the details!

 

Dates/Times:

Friday                    April 7   5pm to 9pm

Saturday              April 8   9:30am – 5:30pm

Sunday                 April 9  10am – 4pm

 

Location:              George Preston Rec Centre @ 20699 – 42nd Avenue, Langley

Cost:                      Free

 

Come out to see us and be sure to say “Hello!”