The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

An older house with ducts located in the third worst place you can put them
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 14, 2019
Ah, so many choices.  If you want to design and install a duct system to create problems, the possibilities are endless.  I've certainly written about a lot of them (as well as how to do it properly).  Today, though, let's focus on one particularly bad place to put a duct.  In fact, I think it's...
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A nasty spot on this ceiling tile in my basement indicates a moisture problem
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 18, 2019
That photo above is from my basement.  In case you missed my last article, I just bought a 1961 ranch-style house in Atlanta and am embarking on the wonderful building science adventure of turning it into a high-performance home.  Ultimately, I'd like to take it all the way to net zero energy, too...
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Mid-century house in Atlanta
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 12, 2019
Let me tell you the story about a poor, young country boy who broke the law and launched me into my new project.  Back in February, I was driving home from work one evening when a driver T-boned me.  The crash totaled my car.  Fortunately, no one was hurt, but I was pissed because my car was paid...
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fiberglass-batt-insulation-grade-1-building-enclosure.jpg
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 9, 2019
The Home Innovation Research Labs (HIRL) does an annual survey of home builders to find out what they're doing.  The results of their 2019 survey of the homes built in 2018 are out now, and they recently published an interesting article about the breakdown of different insulation materials used by...
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What's the best velocity for moving air through ducts?
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 26, 2019
The first thing to know about the velocity of air moving through ducts is that the slower you get the air moving, the better it is for air flow.  That was the main point of my last article.  In fact, the title asked the question, "Is Low Velocity Bad for Air Flow in Ducts?”  And the answer was that...
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What is the best velocity for air moving in ducts?
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 12, 2019
It's obvious that moving air too quickly through ducts can be a problem.  Faster air means more turbulence, more resistance, and more noise.  But I run into people who think that low velocity also can be a problem in ducts.  Just recently I heard someone talking about how low velocity causes "...
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What criteria should you use to determine when is the best time to change the filter in your HVAC system?
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 20, 2019
One of the topics I've hammered on for years is the inadequacy of using rules of thumb for sizing air conditioners.  The standard one ton of air conditioning capacity for each 400 to 600 square feet of conditioned floor area just doesn't work.  We know that a load calculation based on how a...
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A dirty air conditioner coil can create bad odors
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 3, 2019
I never read Robert Fulghum's book, All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, but I have a clear memory of learning about one thing in the book:  Most of the dust floating around our homes is actually made up of skin flakes.  Now, I don't know if that memory is accurate (maybe it wasn't...
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Using a high-MERV filter doesn't have to result in a large pressure drop
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 23, 2019
Last August I began a series of articles on filtration and indoor air quality.  You can find the list of them at the bottom of this article but let's do a quick review here:  We spend a lot of our time in buildings.  A lot of indoor pollutants are generated in the kitchen and not removed by the...
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A heat pump is an air conditioner with a reversing valve
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 29, 2019
So we've looked at a simple way to estimate the heat pump balance point.  If you also read the comments of that article, you should be aware that there's more to the actual balance point than what I wrote in the article.  Today, though, let's look at two factors that can affect the balance point....
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