The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Friction rate is the wronge name
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 12, 2018
Last year I wrote some articles on duct design and one of the topics I covered was this thing called friction rate.  At the end of that article, I discussed "How to think about friction rate."  It confuses a lot of people because it's the wrong name.  First I'll tell you why and then I'll tell you...
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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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Zone dampers in a duct system
Posted by Allison Bailes on August 2, 2018
Last year I wrote five articles in a series on duct design and ever since, I keep getting requests to continue it.  Well, those of you looking for more in this area, you're getting your wish.  I've listed and linked the others in the series below so you can go back and read them first if you'd like...
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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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Staying cool with air conditioning
Posted by Allison Bailes on June 11, 2018
It's getting hot out there. Here in the Southeast, we love our air conditioning.  In fact, without air conditioning, far fewer people would live in places like Houston, Hattiesburg, and Sopchoppy.  And that's true for the hot, dry places, too, like Phoenix, El Paso, and Boron. So if we're going to...
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Oversized air conditioner
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 8, 2018
Many people seem to think HVAC design means you get a load calculation (Manual J in the ACCA protocols) so you know what size system to put in. Hey, that's a great start. It's way better than just using a rule of thumb or Manual E (for eyeball). You don't really want to end up with a ginormous...
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air conditioner heat pump furnace supply vent register
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 28, 2018
When you embark on the project of educating yourself about building science, one of the first things you encounter is the concept of heating and cooling loads. Every building has them. (Yes, even Passive House projects.) That's why we do heating and cooling load calculations. We enter all the...
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Insulation on flex duct (Photo by Mike MacFarland, used with permission)
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 13, 2018
If you know a little building science, you've no doubt seen a lot of problems that occur with air distribution systems. Ducts just don't get anywhere near the attention they deserve in most homes, partly because they're hidden from view. I've written about ducts quite a bit here and have shown...
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Are door undercuts sufficient as return air pathways?
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 23, 2017
Most people don't know that simply closing a door in their home can make them sick, increase their energy bills, or reduce their comfort. We live in this invisible stuff called air. We pull many pounds of it into our lungs each day. A typical air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace easily moves 20...
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Perfect Balance in-door return air pathway
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 17, 2017
Your bedroom really doesn't aspire to be a balloon. Yet, because of the way your heating and air conditioning system was installed, it may be acting like one. At least to an extent. It doesn't expand the way a balloon does, but it does get blown up. Think about it. If your bedroom has a supply vent...
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