A Quick Guide To Window Air And Water Infiltration Testing


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A Quick Guide To Window Air And Water Infiltration Testing

6 minutes read

In commercial buildings, windows play a crucial role in protecting against air leakage and water leaks. Improper installation and details can lead to water infiltration and air intrusion, causing significant damage and discomfort for occupants.

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Mold growth, high humidity, and increased energy consumption are just a few of the problems that can arise from these issues. To prevent such complications, it is essential to conduct window air and water infiltration testing. In this guide, we will explore the importance of testing, the methods used, industry standards, and how Vistaza can assist you.

What is Air Infiltration and Water Testing for Windows

Air infiltration refers to the unintentional flow of air into and out of a building through cracks, gaps, and openings in the windows. Water infiltration, on the other hand, occurs when water penetrates through the window system, leading to moisture intrusion and potential damage. Both air and water infiltration can result in energy loss, discomfort for occupants, and costly repairs.

To ensure the efficiency and durability of a building, it is necessary to test windows for their resistance to air and water infiltration. These tests help identify any issues with the window system and allow for timely repairs or improvements.

How Do You Test for Air Flow and Water Infiltration?

There are specific industry-standard tests designed to evaluate the performance of windows in resisting air and water infiltration. 

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Let’s take a closer look at these testing methods:

Water Penetration Testing

One of the commonly used tests for water infiltration is the ASTM E1105 test. During this test, water is applied to the exterior of the building while the air pressure inside is lowered. By simulating real-world conditions, this test helps determine the water penetration resistance of the windows.

Water Tightness Testing

To evaluate the water tightness of a building’s windows, the AAMA 501.2 test is performed. This comprehensive test involves subjecting a designated area of the glass and window frame to a continuous flow of water to identify any potential leaks in the window system. Additionally, it is imperative to conduct laboratory testing on the products in accordance with AAMA standards, encompassing both air and water assessments. These lab tests play a crucial role in ensuring the quality and performance of the windows under various conditions.

Air and Water Pressure Testing

Depending on the type of building, either the AAMA 502 or AAMA 503 test is performed to evaluate air and water infiltration. During these tests, the air pressure inside the building is decreased while water is sprayed on the exterior. This combination allows for the detection of both air leakage and moisture intrusion.

Air Leakage Testing

Air leakage testing involves creating an air chamber around the window assembly and increasing the pressure to measure any airflow loss or gain. By determining the amount of air penetrating the building, experts can assess the performance of the window assembly and identify any potential issues.

What is the Standard for Water & Air Infiltration Testing Windows?

When it comes to water and air infiltration testing of windows, adherence to industry standards is essential for accurate and reliable results. The primary standard followed is the AAMA 502, which provides guidelines for field testing of newly installed fenestration products such as windows, doors, and skylights. For larger window systems like storefronts and curtain walls, the AAMA 503 specification is used.

The results of these tests are given in specific units. Air infiltration is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), indicating the amount of air that leaks through the window. Water infiltration is measured in gallons per hour per square foot (GPH/sqft), representing the amount of water that penetrates the window. 

To determine whether the test results meet the desired performance, customers can refer to the standard thresholds. For air infiltration, lower CFM values indicate better performance. As for water infiltration, lower GPH/sqft values indicate better resistance to water penetration.

Importance of Adhering to Minimum Infiltration Standards

Adhering to minimum infiltration standards is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it helps maintain the comfort of building occupants by preventing drafts and minimizing air and water intrusion. This, in turn, contributes to better indoor air quality and reduces the risk of mold growth.

Secondly, meeting the minimum infiltration standards can lead to significant energy savings. Air leaks and water infiltration can result in increased energy consumption as the heating and cooling systems have to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. By ensuring the efficiency of windows, building owners can reduce utility costs and enhance energy performance.

Lastly, adhering to minimum standards also helps protect the structural integrity of the building. Water infiltration can cause damage to insulation, framing, and other building components, leading to costly repairs and potential safety hazards.

How Vistaza Can Help

When it comes to window air and water infiltration testing, Vistaza is your trusted partner. Our team of experts follows industry standards such as ASTM E1105, AAMA 501.2, AAMA 502, and AAMA 503 but also ASTM E283 and  ASTM E547,  to ensure accurate testing and reliable results. With our expertise, we can help increase the efficiency of your building, reduce utility costs, and enhance tenant comfort.

Whether you are in the midst of construction or your building is several years old, Vistaza can perform comprehensive air and water leak testing to ensure your windows meet the necessary standards.

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