The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

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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Frost formed on the part of my car that was under the open sky but not the part under the roof
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 24, 2020
On Saturday morning as I was heading out for a run at the Chattahoochee River, I found my car in the condition you see in the photo above.  Let's ignore the reason I was parked half in and half out of the garage and focus on the frost instead.  As you can see, the frost appeared only on the back...
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Follow these tips for quieter ducts, better air delivery, and happier homeowners
Posted by Allison Bailes on February 11, 2020
If a 12 step program is good for helping people deal with addictive behaviors, then a 17 step program ought to be better, right?  Or maybe it's just a random number that fits the number of tips that popped into my head as I planned this article.  In either case, I've written a lot about ducts in...
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What is the perfect weather for a dehumidifier?
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 17, 2020
That dehumidifier you see in the photo above is in the Energy Vanguard office here in Decatur, Georgia.  The compressor doesn't come on often, but this past week I've heard it running quite a bit.  Depending on where you're from, you may be thinking, "Yeah, it's always humid in the South.  I don't...
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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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The Sorcerer Possum hangs above the fire at the 2019 Possum Drop party
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 31, 2019
It's been another good year in the Energy Vanguard.  I've published 28 articles here in the blog this year (counting this one), which brings me to 902 since I began this little project back in 2010.  Hard to believe it's been almost ten years now, but I'll wait and do a retrospective in March when...
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An old falling-down house at the end of its life
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 18, 2019
The old shack above has been around a long time.  It still looks good in its old age, but you'd probably have to pour a lot of money into that building to make it useful again. This home looks nice.  It doesn't appear to be all that old.  The inside was nicely decorated and the family I met there...
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Is there a limit to the amount of ductwork you can put on a low-static pressure ducted mini-split heat pump?
Posted by Allison Bailes on December 9, 2019
I like mini-split heat pumps, especially of the ducted variety.  And because I don't like to pay for a lot of excess power, I prefer to use ducted mini-splits with smaller blower motors operating at a low total external static pressure.  The Mitsubishi* units we have in our office and that I have...
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The soffits, fascias, and gutters need to be replaced, opening up an air-sealing opportunity
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 11, 2019
The number one thing you need to do to protect a building is control water.  As the Canadian building scientist Gus Handegord said, "The three biggest problems in buildings are water, water, and water."  So, with the 1961 house I bought this year, one of the first things I discovered was the...
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Spray foam insulation in an encapsulated attic.  How good is at the eaves?
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 8, 2019
An attic that's brought inside the building enclosure is a beautiful thing.  This is most often done with spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation, either open-cell or closed-cell.  Here in the southeastern US, open-cell is most often the spray foam of choice.  But how well does this process of...
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