CASE STUDY – Testing the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 at a Passivhaus Build

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Coltraco Ultrasonics were delighted to be invited by Bill Bordass, Building Scientist and Paul Jennings, Air Leakage Specialist to test the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 alongside a Door Fan Blower Test at a Passivhaus build in London on 16th December 2021. The site was a “Passivhaus” build meaning that is should be about 10x more airtight than required by UK new-build regulations. The total leak size for a house to meet Passivhaus standards is roughly equivalent to a 40x40mm square.

The Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 is useful in complementing the Door Fan Test, by assessing problem areas pre-survey so that potential areas of concern can be addressed before setting up the test. The Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 can also aid Door Fan Testing by locating and quantifying specific leaks after a test, something typically done using a smoke pencil or thermal camera (both technologies have their limitations).

Prior to conducting a Door Fan Test the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 can test the aperture, normally the front door, where the Door Fan Test apparatus is temporarily installed for the Door Fan Test, so that this aspect of the building is also tested for air leaks, and not as is often always the case omitted from the air leakage test.At the Passivhaus Build, the Door Fan Test identified that the building just passed the required threshold meaning that there were some leaks that were unaccounted for. After a scan of a wall within the building, the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 was able to identify a small leak, that a smoke pencil was unable to find.

Being able to detect, rapidly locate, and to quantify air leaks in buildings as small as those with a diameter of 0.5mm, regularly, frequently, and periodically is a transformational step-change in the construction, management and maintenance of the entire global built environment

The Portascanner Airtight 520 is a powerful light-weight, hand-held, battery powered instrument, with which to check the integrity of the external envelope and the internal partitions, of any building or structure for air/water leaks. Uniquely the Portascanner Airtight 520 is the first system of its type, that can exactly measure the physical extent of each individual leak site, enabling precise and immediate remedial action to be taken. The costs savings can be enormous, particularly when limiting the damage caused by water ingress, and in fire prevention.