Featured Blog Posts (499)

Conventional AC is not COOL

In order to feel comfortable in the cooling season conditioned air has to be at the right air temperature AND relative humidity. Conventional AC dehumidifies when it is running but it is thermostatically controlled by air temperature only. Which means that when air temperature is reached the AC turns off and stops dehumidifying. Not a big problem if you live in an arid climate such as Pheonix but if you live in New England where the summers are very humid and not…

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Added by Joseph Novella on May 22, 2012 at 6:36pm — 12 Comments

Correctly Sizing a Capacitor

I don't know how many times a technician has said that they installed a part based on what was on their service truck.  I have heard of technicians wasting money over-sizing contactors, cutting down air filters, and even using controlled substances to clear condensate drains!  Of course, these scenarios all get the job done, but I would argue the many reasons why not to do these.  The one thing that gets to me is when a technician doesn't verify they are installing the correct size dual run…

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Added by Christopher Morin on May 13, 2012 at 11:43am — 2 Comments

Conversations from the Wx Frontlines: Robert Parkhurst

At the most recent National Weatherization Training Conference that took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, six people were presented with a 2011 Weatherization Assistance Program National Recognition Award.

The Recognition Awards acknowledge outstanding contributions that advance the goals of WAP through individual or group achievement, inspiration, or innovation. The Recognition Awards program is open…

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Added by Macie Melendez on May 17, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Missed Opportunity? Energy Audits @ Home Purchase

It may be the…

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Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on May 8, 2012 at 9:30pm — 12 Comments

Realistic Expectations and "The Occupied Zone"

How many times as a technician have you gone out to the same customer's home because of unrealistic expectations?  Some homeowners expect air-conditioners to work like an ice box, want you to size them for their big party on Fourth of July weekend, and expect you to show up at the drop of a dime when it doesn't meet their impossible notion.  Of course, this could be avoided by establishing a standard during the sales process or a little customer education.  I liked to talk about "The…

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Added by Christopher Morin on May 5, 2012 at 8:07pm — 1 Comment

Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)

Energy Efficiency Ratio, or EER, is a way to exhibit how well an air-conditioner is operating based on the power being used.  Most homeowners are of course familiar with SEER, the ratio across an entire season.  Since SEER is tested at a "partial load", the EER is a more realistic number to use when figuring energy savings.  AHRI tests their EER of residential air-conditioners using 400 CFM per ton of airflow at 95F Outdoors / 80F Indoors and 67F Wet Bulb.  This compared to the SEER testing…

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Added by Christopher Morin on April 28, 2012 at 6:47pm — 6 Comments

Editorial: Reflections on ACI

An industry's health is sometimes measured by the enthusiasm of its trade shows. Arguably, ACI is not a trade show, but it certainly is a bellwether for the home performance industry. And it rocked. By all measures, ACI was larger, broader, and more exciting than past conferences.

ACI continues to be a magnet for audiences ranging from contractors just starting out and receiving blower door training to engineers and building scientists. In this way, it serves as the premier…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on May 1, 2012 at 10:34am — 5 Comments

A Home Energy Rater or Building Analyst Class Is Just the Beginning

So, you're about to take a class to become a home energy rater or building analyst so you can go out and do energy audits. Maybe you've already taken a class and are out there trying to make a living at it now. You may be aware of this already, but…

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Added by Allison A. Bailes III on April 19, 2012 at 11:55am — 2 Comments

Energy Out West

The Energy Out West conference is held every other year and began in 1996 when a group of people doing weatherization work in the Northwest thought they could help each other do it better. The current president of Energy Out West (EOW) is Mimi Burbage, who should be familiar to readers of Home Energy and anyone in weatherization. Mimi brings that independent, Alaska, straight talk style to whatever she does, from heading the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to her work for EOW.…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on April 26, 2012 at 11:33am — 1 Comment

Non-Condensables? Are you sure?

  Non-condensables in a residential split air-conditioner can be, for most technicians, a pandora's box to diagnose.  Fortunately, there is a simple process that can identify this condition without spending hours and hundreds of dollars in virgin refrigerant.  I think we all are aware that R-22 has hit an all time high, so getting this right is more important than ever - if you want to retain your customer.

  There are several ways air and/or water vapor can enter a sealed system. …

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Added by Christopher Morin on April 15, 2012 at 11:30am — 2 Comments

ACI National Home Performance Conference: Setting the Pace for Change

This year ACI held its largest ever national home performance conference in Baltimore, Md.  It was the largest in the number of workshop sessions: over 195 sessions, in 25 thematic tracks; with the largest number of exhibitors (115) and sponsors (48).  

The three themes stood out: a) keep it simple (from the homeowners perspective); b) there is no silver bullet; and c) HVAC is jumping into home performance, maybe not head first, but at least with both feet in a measured…

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Added by Tom White on April 18, 2012 at 5:00am — No Comments

Green Cipherin' - What's Slowing the Mainstreaming of Green Building, and What Homeowners Can Do about It

MLSs (Multiple Listing Services) across the country are unveiling “green-field addenda” (GFAs) and searchable fields to highlight green features.  …

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Added by Melissa Baldridge on April 9, 2012 at 7:00pm — 2 Comments

New England; HRV or ERV?

I remember installing some early version residential Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV) and discovering a potential freezing issue.  Also, if I used only a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) than I would be drying the air during the Winter, and adding significant latent load in the summer.  So, which one do I choose?  The homes are tight enough these days to require mechanical ventilation, and I would much rather a balanced ventilation system that I can control.…

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Added by Christopher Morin on April 9, 2012 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

The “Passive House:” Finally a Reality

In years past, the idea of the “passive house” was only a dream. In concept form, the passive house was one that minimized energy losses and operated at maximum energy efficiency. The result would be a home with little to no monthly energy expenses and a fraction of the environmental impact of most homes. Amazingly, the passive house is no longer just a dream; in fact, it’s become a reality. Several companies are able to build passive homes for everyday consumers, creating a huge shift in…

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Added by Jeff Wendland on April 9, 2012 at 6:45am — 3 Comments

5 Stats Your Next Client Must Hear

Energy auditors and retrofitters know that it’s hard to sell the benefits of energy efficiency to homeowners. But the truth is that energy efficient upgrades save homeowners money, help sell homes quicker, and yield a higher profit when on the real estate market.

Because it’s not always easy to explain industry ratings and scores to homeowners, auditors need to be armed with statistics to help convey their message. I’ve compiled six statistics that show the importance of energy…

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Added by Home Energy Magazine on April 10, 2012 at 1:55pm — 2 Comments

Green Light for Good GreenMLS Design

Last month Chicagoland's multiple listing service …

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Added by Laura Reedy Stukel on April 2, 2012 at 12:41pm — 2 Comments

Home Energy Audit 111 Years Old

by Don Ames,   www.detectenergy.com



I gathered up my auditing equipment and headed off to a neighboring community to perform a home energy audit that was constructed in 1901. Before I head out of the office and leave the comfort of my desk computer, I look up the home through County Records to determine about what year the home was constructed, about how big the home is, and if records show any remodel years.

When records indicate…

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Added by Don Ames on April 4, 2012 at 10:33pm — 10 Comments

Game of Homes!

Energy Battle is a new game that may be the solution to training a younger generation to save energy at home. It was developed by graduate students at Delft University of Technology.…

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Added by Tom Delconte on March 30, 2012 at 6:00am — 2 Comments

Top 7 Worst Crawl Space Repairs

Many homeowners searching the internet for crawlspace repair information end up in home repair forums. While there is some good information out there, there are many examples of bad and outdated advice related to repairing crawlspaces. I have witnessed firsthand the results of unprofessional crawlspace repair and would like to set the record straight on what I consider to be the worst 5 crawlspace repairs I've seen.



1. Adding more foundation vents…

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Added by Larry Ralph Jr on March 10, 2014 at 6:54pm — 17 Comments

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Whole House Fans - Love 'Em or Not?

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12 Things Every Home Performance Contractor Should Have on Their Work Truck

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