Passive House Too Tight – Builder to Refund $5k in Damaged Testing Equipment

Notice: please read to the END of this article, and note the date. #thingswethoughtwedidnthavetoexplain 😉

Gally Tullagher, a builder in Red Lodge MT, was court ordered to refund $5k in damaged testing equipment to the company performing the blower door test — a procedure designed to measure air leaks in a building.

“We set up our testing equipment as we always do”, said Joe McFan of Red Door Leakage Testing LLC. “The building reached the 50 Pascal pressure level in no time, which was very impressive. However, short after that, the testing fan started emitting yellowish smoke and making a strange noise. We had to cut through the testing membrane to release pressure, but the equipment ended up being damaged beyond repair. I haven’t ever seen anything quite like that”.

Controversy has spread in the local community, after Judge Josephine Smith sentenced Gally Tullagher to refund the entire cost of the damaged equipment. “Buildings have to breathe” stated the Judge, “this is the way we’ve always done it around here, and it would be ungodly to change it”.

“I am not sure what went wrong. It must have been the building tapes.” Gally Tullagher has been building his own house to meet the Passive House standard, a high performance building code that requires buildings to be super tight. “I took the Passive House Tradesperson training last year, but the curriculum never addressed safety procedures if the blower door test fan catches on fire. It is hard to believe this is the first time it happens”.

Franz Luftdicht, Head of the Airsealing Division of the Passive House Institute, has taken the matter in his own hands: “That should not have happened. We have started an investigation and we will find a solution so that if the fan catches on fire, at least we can recover the heat in the most efficient way. No fan should burn in vain”.

Happy April PHool’s Day!

To be clear — buildings cannot be “too tight”, walls don’t need to breathe, Blower Door fans can’t catch on fire, and – most importantly – if you DO have an uncontrolled fire in your building, recovering that heat should be least of your concerns. Call 911. 😉

Stay tuned tomorrow for the true story of Tully Gallagher’s knock-out Blower Door Test results, and learn more about the Passive House builder training that got him there.

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