The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

sealed combustion closet unsealed floor joist duct
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 15, 2014
The photo below shows a common problem in new homes. It's also one that can make it difficult to pass the blower door test required by many building codes these days. If I tell you that the wall pictured here separates two rooms in a basement and one of them is not conditioned, can you see the...
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Enrico Fermi estimate question problem
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 9, 2014
Enrico Fermi was famous for many things, as you might expect of one of the smartest physicists of the 20th century. Quantum theory,  statistical mechanics, and nuclear physics were his primary subjects, but what I appreciate most about him was what are called Fermi Problems. He had an amazing...
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Blaise Pascal
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 23, 2014
Remember the first time you ran a blower door? OK, maybe that's not the best way to get where I'm going because most first-timers turn the pressure up like they're practicing tai chi on Jupiter. After you've done a few tests, though, you learn to crank it up to 50 Pascals of pressure difference in...
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hobos walking on train track
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 23, 2014
This week we got a box full of hobos delivered to the world headquarters of Energy Vanguard. Well, OK, they weren't the kind of hobos you see at left but actually HOBOs, the data loggers made by Onset, as you see below. Now, the fun begins. Jeffrey, Andy, and I have just started a friendly...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on May 8, 2014
Did you know that James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul," made a video about doing blower door testing to weatherize homes? Neither did most people, but he certainly did make one. Here it is.
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water heater combustion safety flue pipe exhaust in house
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 20, 2014
Burning fuels inside a house can lead to serious health and safety problems. Energy auditors do a variety of combustion safety tests to find potential hazards and recommend fixes. A couple of weeks ago at the Dry Climate Forum, I heard Vi Rapp, PhD of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) make an...
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Albert Einstein knew that planning ahead was the key to solving problems.
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 4, 2013
I get a lot of questions from people asking how they should go about fixing their homes. Sometimes it's specific (What's the best way to insulate my kneewalls?), and sometimes it's a hands up in the air, With all these problems, where do I start?  I'll focus on the latter today and let Albert...
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trolls patent home inspection infrared camera thermal image 300
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 3, 2013
A year or two ago, I remember getting trapped in my car one evening listening to Ira Glass's show This American Life. It was an episode titled When Patents Attack, and I was riveted. They described how a seemingly small change in the US patent office's protocol led to the growth of an industry that...
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duct leakage test vent cap systems hers class resnet
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 25, 2013
Duct leakage testing has come a long way. We've gone from doing the subtraction method with blower doors to having specialized duct pressurization blowers. We've also evolved in how we seal the ducts for a test, going from kraft paper/masking tape to duct mask to vent caps. The last item in that...
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