This one-hour course includes video content, a downloadable study guide to be completed during the course, and a final quiz.

In this course, Southface Technical Principal Mike Barcik provides a video demonstration of the Southface “House of Pressure” (HoP) simulator. This special equipment allows learners to see how a leaky house or duct system can waste energy and create potential health and safety hazards due to backdrafting in the combustion appliance zone (CAZ) or other sources of unwanted air. In addition, participants will learn simple ways to diagnose and address ventilation and air-leakage problems in the residential setting.

The HoP is a life-size cutaway model of a “typical” house and includes various simulated zones such as a living room, bedroom, bath, attic/crawl, and kitchen, as well as actual combustion appliances (water heater and furnace), heat exchanger and cooling coils, exhaust flues, and a duct system. The simulator also has built-in analog pressure gauges and a number of vents used to simulate various conditions. Theatrical fog is used to provide a visual understanding of how air and fumes move under different conditions.


Upon completion of this course and final quiz, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the dangers of backdrafting and other issues related to the combustion appliance zone (CAZ) and HVAC system in a house.
  • Explain how everyday practices such as closing an interior door or turning on an exhaust fan can affect air pressure, airflow, and indoor air quality in a house.
  • Identify the basic principles that govern air movement and pressure changes in a house
  • Identify basic methods for diagnosing duct leakage problems based on air pressure changes in a house. (Access to a pressure gauge is needed for actual practice.)
  • Explain why and how air leakage or poor ventilation strategies can cause combustion appliances to backdraft, drawing harmful gases into the living space.
  • Identify solutions for addressing ventilation and airflow issues in a house.


  • Upon successful completion of this course, participants are will receive a certificate approved for CEUs from AIA, BPI, and ICC.
  • By completing/passing this course, you will attain the certificate House of Pressure Certificate.


Mike Barcik | Technical Principal

Mike Barcik is a Technical Principal at Southface and has been with the organization since 1995. With B.S and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech, Mike is the author of numerous technical resources and has developed and led thousands of trainings for RESNET, BPI, LEED, DOE, EPA and other programs. He’s active in energy code development and often leads workshops on the latest code changes. Since 1999, Mike has trained over 1,500 individuals in RESNET’s Home Energy Rating System (HERS) program, and in 2010 he helped create the Duct and Envelope Tightness (DET) Verifier program to certify over a thousand individuals for blower door and duct leakage testing, as required by the 2009 and later energy codes. Mike served as LEED Faculty for BD+C, EB O&M and Homes, as well as helped develop and teach the EarthCraft family of sustainable programs. Mike co-authored Decatur Georgia’s High Performance Building Ordinance which requires third-party certification for new and substantially renovated single-family, multi-family and commercial projects.




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