The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

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...
5 Comments | Read/write comments
A dirty air conditioner coil can create bad odors
Posted by Allison Bailes on May 3, 2019
I never read Robert Fulghum's book, All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, but I have a clear memory of learning about one thing in the book:  Most of the dust floating around our homes is actually made up of skin flakes.  Now, I don't know if that memory is accurate (maybe it wasn't...
4 Comments | Read/write comments
Using a high-MERV filter doesn't have to result in a large pressure drop
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 23, 2019
Last August I began a series of articles on filtration and indoor air quality.  You can find the list of them at the bottom of this article but let's do a quick review here:  We spend a lot of our time in buildings.  A lot of indoor pollutants are generated in the kitchen and not removed by the...
31 Comments | Read/write comments
Low indoor relative humidity in winter is common
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 15, 2019
I'm going to go out on a limb and make what you may think is an outrageous statement:  Water is the most interesting substance in the world.  Some of you may immediately respond, "Oh, yeah!  What about beer?"  (Or wine or Sidecars, Negronis, or Sazeracs or whatever your drink of choice is.) ...
22 Comments | Read/write comments
Abundant pressure drops in flex duct installation
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 8, 2019
"Don't sweat the small stuff," they say.  You know what, though?  That may be great advice for your emotional life but it's terrible advice for just about anything to do with buildings.  Whether you're designing them, specifying materials, putting them together, or fixing them later, buildings have...
2 Comments | Read/write comments
High-MERV filters are more restrictive but do they reduce air flow?
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 16, 2019
Over the past few months, I've taken a look at some critical issues for indoor air quality.  Starting with the issue of how much time we spend indoors, I then wrote about kitchen ventilation, the panoply of indoor air pollutants, problems with filters in general and with high-MERV filters.  Now let...
12 Comments | Read/write comments
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. ...
41 Comments | Read/write comments
Filter bypass because of incorrectly installed filter
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 24, 2018
Indoor air quality (IAQ) researchers have established that little bitty invisible pieces of stuff that float around in the air are bad for human health.  Of course, being scientists, they don't call it little bitty invisible pieces of stuff.  They call it particulate matter (PM) or particulates. ...
31 Comments | Read/write comments
Paracelsus, the father of toxicology
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 22, 2018
That face above is of a physician, alchemist, and astrologer named Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim.  He is deemed the father of toxicology and is better known by the name Paracelsus.  I begin this article with him because Dr. Brett Singer, at Building Science Summer Camp...
13 Comments | Read/write comments
A Make It Right house in New Orleans with serious moisture problems
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 13, 2018
Hurricane Katrina barreled through New Orleans in 2005.  The levees failed, flooding 80% of the city and destroying many homes.  The low-income residents in the Lower 9th Ward were particularly harmed by the storm, many losing everything they owned.  Two years later, Brad Pitt started the Make It...
30 Comments | Read/write comments

Pages

Subscribe to the Energy Vanguard Blog