The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

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.) ...
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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...
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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...
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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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Bathroom exhaust fan brings humid air into the house
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 20, 2018
Nope.  Today is not the first of April.  Nor is this one of those special April Fools' Day articles I write at random times.  This one's real.  A white noise generator has now been used in at least one home to reduce indoor humidity.  And no, this isn't an amazing scientific breakthrough either....
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Dew point isn't just for understanding condensation
Posted by Allison Bailes on July 9, 2018
I've been on a bit of a mission for the past several years.  My goal is to get more people thinking about humidity in terms of dew point rather than relative humidity.  Why?  Because relative humidity is misleading.  That whole "relative" thing is a bit slippery, you know. For example, I've had a...
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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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Condensation on stone steps in New Orleans on a February morning
Posted by Allison Bailes on April 18, 2018
If you live anywhere in a warm, humid coastal area, you're no doubt familiar with wet concrete in winter. Some days you walk outside and find the carport slab is soaking wet. How did it happen? Did rain blow into the carport? If it's not rain, is it moisture from the ground that came up through the...
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Water vapor and cool surfaces are a bad combination
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 17, 2018
Because I've written so much about moisture in buildings, I get a lot of questions on the topic. Some are about walls. Some are about the attic. Some are about windows. Some are about the crawl space (which generates the most questions on this topic). The key to answering a lot of those questions...
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Crawl space moisture sources
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 5, 2017
Here in the southeastern US, we have a lot of crawl spaces. Most are vented. Even most new ones are vented. It's not because it's the best way to keep them dry. That's certainly not true. We have enough research on crawl spaces to know better. No, they're vented because foundation vents got into...
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