The Latest from the Energy Vanguard Blog

Do convective loops in loose-fill fiberglass attic insulation cause it to lose up to half its R-value?
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 7, 2019
When you get into the world of building science, it's inevitable that you'll hear about the study that proved fiberglass insulation loses half its R-value because of convection within the insulation.  Or it could be you're a homeowner who's been told about this problem by an insulation contractor...
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A sparkly fire to ring in the new year of 2019
Posted by Allison Bailes on January 3, 2019
Welcome to another January, this time in the year 2019.  The month, of course, is named after the Roman god Janus, who has two faces, one looking backward, one forward.  Because, you know, to really know where you're going, you have to understand where you've been.  2019 may be a brand new year,...
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Willis Carrier, inventor of the modern air conditioner
Posted by Allison Bailes on November 26, 2018
Happy birthday to Willis Carrier!  He invented modern air conditioning and changed the world.  In his quest for a device to control humidity in the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company in Brooklyn, New York, he invented a device that changed migration patterns in the United...
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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. ...
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What's that noise I hear in there?
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 31, 2018
KERKLUNK! I instantly spring up in my bed at the loud noise.  "What the heck was that?!"  I don't know but it seemed to have come out of the heating vent on the wall above my dresser. I'd been lying quietly in bed on this chilly autumn night, half asleep yet still awake enough to know that was a...
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What happens to the air flow in ducts when the size changes?
Posted by Allison Bailes on October 29, 2018
As we continue our study of indoor air quality and filtration, we now come back to duct design.  Today's lesson is on an interesting bit of physics that applies to anything that flows.  It could be heat or particles or electromagnetic energy.  In our case, it's air, a fluid, and the physics we're...
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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. ...
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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...
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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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Crazy ventilation duct system mess
Posted by Allison Bailes on September 25, 2018
I've posted a lot of crazy duct system photos here in this blog.  Remember "Release the Kraken!"?  How about "Two Jellyfish Mating"?  And about three years ago I found one that instantly became my new favorite duct disaster.  But those were all in fairly standard homes.  They didn't have any...
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