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A heat pump pumping heat in winter
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 19, 2019
Since more people are using heat pumps these days, even in cold climates, let's spell out the three different types of heat that conventional heat pumps provide.  Why not!  We've just recently covered the three main sources of home heating and then stepped back and looked another group of three...
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3 sources of heat in a Passive House or other high-performance home
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 31, 2019
Earlier this week I wrote about the three main sources of heat in homes.  At the end of the article I threw in a fourth one, solar energy, but then I dismissed it as something that people tried in the 1970s and '80s and have since abandoned for home heating.  And that's still mostly true, but my...
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3 main sources of home heating
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 28, 2019
It's wintertime in the Northern hemisphere and that means we're heating our homes.  The new year started off a bit on the warm side, with the temperature at nearly 70° F (21° C) here in the Atlanta area.  In terms of heating degree days (HDD), we've gone from about 12 HDD/day at the beginning of...
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Do convective loops in loose-fill fiberglass attic insulation cause it to lose up to half its R-value?
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 7, 2019
When you get into the world of building science, it's inevitable that you'll hear about the study that proved fiberglass insulation loses half its R-value because of convection within the insulation.  Or it could be you're a homeowner who's been told about this problem by an insulation contractor...
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Aprilaire high-MERV filter with carbon
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 9, 2018
What is a hair's breadth?  A strand of the finest human hair is about 20 micrometers (also called microns) in diameter.  Take a piece and slice it in half.  Then take one of those halves and slice it in half again...and then one more time.  Now you've got a sliver of hair that's 2.5 microns wide. ...
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HVAC School logo
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 24, 2018
I love to share good resources and here's one you need to know about if you're interested in the nitty gritty of HVAC systems.  I'm talking about HVAC School, with their various channels like their daily Tech Tips email, YouTube videos, quizzes, and a podcast.  It's all free. Bryan Orr (shown below...
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Lyle Lovett and His Large Band in concert at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 17, 2018
Last weekend my wife and I went to Asheville, North Carolina to hear Lyle Lovett and His Large Band at the Biltmore Estate.  It was a wonderful evening!  Mountains, sunset, gardens...  We even had four planets lined up over the stage:  Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus. While in Asheville, we spent...
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This fan should not be your first choice for keeping cool.  See point 4 below for the reason.
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 11, 2018
Here we are in the middle of air conditioning season.  So why don't we chop down some myths and misconceptions about ceiling fans.  What got me on to this topic was a video of a fan with blades that hide on top of the fan when the fan is turned off.  Sounds clever, but it's a ridiculous idea....
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Good HVAC design is 99% invisible.  (Photo of living room by Ceylon Tea Trails from flickr.com, used under a Creative Commons license.)
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 3, 2018
Sometimes people are bothered by how things look.  They don't want a return grille showing in that location or they'd rather have the supply registers low on the wall or they just can't stomach the thought of a wall-mounted ductless mini-split anywhere.  We all have our preferences about how things...
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Ventilation grille bringing in straight outdoor air at the ASHRAE conference hotel in Houston, Texas  (photo by Nikki Krueger of Therma-Stor, used with permission)
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 24, 2018
I've been going to the meetings of the ASHRAE residential ventilation committee (SSPC 62.2, to be specific) for the past few years.  As a matter of fact, I'm writing this article from my room in Houston, the site of the summer meeting.  It's always interesting to go to these things because the...
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