Always on the forefront of rules and regulations that impact new and existing homes, California Building Standards are an ever changing challenge for home builders in this state which have made California one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. One thing, however, never changes – consumers, LOVE fireplaces in their homes. According to the National Association of Realtors, fireplaces and hearth products are in homeowners’ top three ‘must haves’ when searching for a new home or when planning to build their own.

Since 2009, California has been committed to reducing energy use in existing homes as quickly as possible. The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), the fireplace industries’ trade association, is gathering data to determine the best way for fireplaces to do their part in existing homes to conserve energy. We are conducting a research project, called a home pressurization test, to quantify the energy savings when using gas inserts in existing homes.

This test will be performed on homes that have already purchased, or are going to purchase, a gas insert for their open fireplace. A ‘blower door’ is a machine used to measure the airtightness of buildings. It can also be used to measure airflow between building zones to test ductwork airtightness and to help physically locate air leakage sites in the building envelope. This research project will test both before and after the inset is installed to measure the reduction in air leakage.

The test will be done without the insert in the fireplace and after the insert has been installed. Want to know more about a blower door test? Click here to check out one in action.

Participating in this research project is completely voluntary. Consumers who do participate, will be given a $400 rebate, most likely used as a credit toward a gas insert, which will be deducted from their final bill at the time of sale. To find a participating dealer, click here.


Below are more facts about this project and the usefulness to the hearth industry.


The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association and the HPBA Pacific Affiliate are the fireplace industries’ trade association in North America. The association represents manufacturers, distributors, retailers, service businesses and installers who service and sell fireplace products.


This research project will help us determine energy savings in the California Energy Commissions Building Code. Energy efficiency is an important topic in California … and beyond.


This research project will take place over the next few years.


Data will be collected throughout the state of California in different climate zones and in homes of different ages. The ideal home to take part in this project was built in 1985 or after.


HPBA is collecting data that could be used in future Building Codes that could affect energy efficiency upgrades for homeowners when they sell their homes.


Blower door testing will be done on homes that qualify through selected dealers in the state of California in various climate zones. Age of the home is also taken into account. The blower door test will take place before the insert is put in and after the insert is installed to measure the airtightness, and therefore energy savings with these units.

Is there compensation for participating in the Blower Door test research project?

Yes, a $600 rebate will be given to dealers who participate and a $400 rebate will be given to the homeowner who participates. Funds will be sent back to the dealer in the form of a check and within 30 days of receipt of ALL completed documents. Homeowners will most likely see a discount of $400 on their bill for this project. Checks WILL NOT be given directly to homeowners.

I’m ready to buy an insert and take part in this research project. Now what?

You’ll want to find an HPBA Pacific member who can help you with this important purchase for your home. A dealer locator can be found by clicking here.

How long does the test take?

There are two tests that need to be completed – a before and after test. Each test may take up to one hour.

How is the test set up?

The dealer who you purchase the insert from, will be in touch with HBPA Pacific about finding a qualified tester. As the homeowner, you ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR SETTING UP THESE TESTS. The dealer will communicate with the tester, when the install is happening, and set up the two tests that are necessary. Depending on how your dealer works out the logistical installation of your insert, you may or may not be home. That is between you and the dealer.

Do I pay the home pressurization tester?

No. All billing will go through HPBA Pacific. You will not be billed for any testing.

For more information about this test contact John Crouch at crouch@hpba.org or Kaity Rosengren at kaity@hpbapacific.org.