The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

A high-MERV portable air cleaner can reduce your risk of getting COVID-19
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 7, 2020
Twitter is an utter hellscape in some ways, but it does have a few redeeming qualities.  I've seen a lot of good information about the COVID-19 pandemic there, including ways to filter the indoor air for coronavirus and the emerging science about the spread of SARS-COV-2 via aerosols in addition to...
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A simple design feature can lower the pressure drop across a high-MERV filter
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 24, 2020
I hate it when I don't see ahead of time what seems obvious afterward.  I've assembled a lot of things in my life, including a house and two VW engines, and I can't tell you how many times I've gotten to the end and then had to undo everything because I put a piece in backwards or skipped a step. ...
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Occupant loads in Manual J load calculations
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 10, 2020
People complicate things.  If, say, you want to sell a motorcycle, you place an ad and interested potential buyers come check it out, maybe take it for a little ride, and then one of them buys it.  But every once in a while, one of those potential buyers arrives with a small instability that gets...
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Keeping the air conditioner thermostat set really low can do more than just make people uncomfortable.
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 3, 2020
I briefly worked at a dry cleaning shop in St. Louis a long time ago.  It was December, and we had a bout of super cold weather one week.  The temperature dropped to 0° F at night and got up only into the teens during the day.  I worked inside where the temperature was always nice and warm, but the...
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Building Science Summer Camp
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 4, 2020
Ten years ago today, I published one of the most significant articles I've written here in the Energy Vanguard Blog.  Titled I Don't Need No Stinkin' Building Science Summer Camp!, this article got me invited to that invitation-only event where so many good things happen.  At the time, I knew a...
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Air conditioner supply vent with mold because of sweating
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 23, 2020
Back in the summer of 2005, I got a call to figure out a moisture problem in a new house.  The homeowners took me into the master suite, where the first thing to catch my eye was the towel folded neatly on the floor.  It hadn't just fallen out of the laundry basket; it was there to catch the water...
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The Sterling chart, from a 1986 research paper, suggests an optimum zone for relative humidity
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 9, 2020
The classic chart demonstrating the importance of keeping to the middle of the relative humidity spectrum has been shown to countless attendees of classes, conference presentations, and webinars on building science, indoor air quality, moisture problems, and health.  I can't tell you how many times...
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A pair-of-pants tee fitting for the duct system for my new Mitsubishi ducted mini-split heat pump
Posted by Allison A Bailes III, PhD on June 29, 2020
I've written about the load calculation and equipment selection process I went through for the new Mitsubishi* ducted mini-split heat pump in my house.  Now let's take a look at the design and performance of the duct systems for the two air handlers.  Laying out the ducts The schematic diagram...
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A MERV-13 filter in a return filter grille in my dining room ceiling
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 24, 2020
Filtration is on the minds of a lot of people lately.  Because of the coronavirus pandemic, most of us would prefer not to breathe in air that contains any hint of the SARS-COV-2 virus that's been spreading the illness known as COVID-19.  Wearing a mask when going out in public is standard.  Having...
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The outdoor unit for our new Mitsubishi inverter-driven mini-split heat pump system
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 11, 2020
Last year my wife and I bought a 1961 ranch-style house, and I've been having a lot of fun fixing it up.  I wrote about the problem with the spray foam in the attic not covering the top plates and how I fixed it when we had the soffits, fascias, and gutters replaced.  I've also had a lot more spray...
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