The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

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 three main rating scales for filter efficiency:  MERV, FPR, and MPR
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 28, 2020
As much as I've written about filters and filtration in this blog, I have to confess there's one aspect of filter efficiency I've resisted learning about.  Every article I've written that mentions filter efficiency talks about only one rating scale:  Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV).  A...
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Ultraviolet (UV) lamp installed in air handler to kill microbes on cooling coil and drain pan  [Image from Fresh Aire UV]
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 23, 2020
I used to be a smart-ass who would say things I thought were clever but really were just annoying.  When I learned the basics of quantum physics, for example, I had a clever/annoying answer for anyone who asked me, What's new?  E over h, I'd respond.  Hahaha!  Then we'd both laugh our heads off. ...
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Posted by Allison Bailes on April 13, 2020
Have you ever lived in a home where you just couldn’t feel warm even though you had the heat cranked way up?  How about one where you have to turn up the volume on the TV when the air conditioner or heater comes on?  Or a home with a musty smelling basement? The myths we live by These and more are...
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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 10, 2020
Yesterday I gathered with a few of my friends and colleagues from the building performance community for a virtual happy hour.  During our chat, Steve Byers of Energy Logic posed the question:  Compared to BC (before coronavirus), how will you be different once the stay-at-home orders are lifted,...
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Droplets from a sneeze can travel 18 feet across a room
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 8, 2020
Back in 2018 I wrote a series of articles on indoor air quality and filtration.  One of those articles, The Unintended Consequences of High-MERV Filters, has seen a flurry of activity in the comments over the past three weeks.  It all started when a reader named Pat wrote: I have a question about...
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An image from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV.   [Image from the CDC]
Posted by Allison Bailes on March 19, 2020
Well, there's nothing like a little pandemic to completely upend our daily lives as well as our short and long-term outlooks for the future.  I've spent far too much time reading about, listening to, and watching news about the novel coronavirus lately and I guess you may have done likewise.  Here'...
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Negative pressure in homes can bring outdoor air in through the chimney
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 8, 2020
Ever have the smell of your fireplace inside your home?  It's not uncommon.  Here's a question I got from a reader named Rob last month: We always have a smoke smell from our fireplace, more on some days than others.  I had the chimney cleaned really well and the damper closed and it was fine. ...
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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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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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