The Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps

by Erik North on June 13, 2017

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What is a Heat Pump? Heat pumps are all the rage in Maine’s efficiency community in recent years. Efficiency Maine, the organization that, you guessed it, runs energy efficiency programs in Maine, has issued more rebates and loans for heat pumps than all other qualifying measures combined. But what exactly is a heat pump and […]


Post image for Should I Insulate My Basement Ceiling – Infrared Chimes In

The most popular post on this site is,’Should I Insulate My Basement Ceiling‘. Yay, 1st spot on Google searches! The number of reader comments is also a pretty good measure and I get a number of emails. There are tons of questions and some dissenting opinions. My view is that the easiest, most consistent approach […]


How to Avoid Mold Part 2 – Control Temperature

by Erik North on August 26, 2013


      An Energy Auditing Blog article on reducing mold risk by reducing the homeowner’s ‘water sports’ (water related activities in the house) was published at GBA last week. Allison Bailes, the self-described energy guy with the funny name, rightly pointed out that temperature plays a key role as well. Temperature Makes Humidity Relative […]


R-Value is a Lie (And Other Provocative Titles)

by Erik North on August 21, 2013

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    Or at least as Allison Bailes posted earlier this year, it is not a constant. Green Building Advisor once published my post on thermal bridging. The audience there is an extraordinarily knowledgeable one which leads to some spirited discussions. Following the thermal bridging article, there was some jockeying over whether R-value is an […]


Post image for Problems with Crawlspaces – Venting and other Underhouse Ills

  Crawlspaces are like the Loch Ness monster; talked about, rarely seen and potentially a bit scary. The crawlspace is that empty, barely accessible pit under the house filled with swampy water, cobwebs and spiders the size of dinner plates (that was the Google result for ‘spiders the size of dinner plates…enjoy). At least that’s […]

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How to Avoid Mold? Avoid Water Sports

by Erik North on August 14, 2013

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  Mold and moisture issues are a pretty common motivation for homeowners to give us a ring. There’s condensation on the windows, water dripping into the window box. One homeowner described how if they opened their front door during the winter, the glass panes on the storm door would fog up within 10 or 12 […]


Ice dam

  When my wife and I bought our current house, one appeal was that it was largely uninsulated. Given the choice between somewhat insulated and uninsulated, give me the blank slate every time. We moved in September and between the start of a super busy audit season and unpacking, any desired projects were temporarily back-burnered. […]


Spray Foam and Cold Climates

by Erik North on August 7, 2013

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    Spray foam is a great tool for insulating and weatherizing. It can be applied to horizontal and vertical surfaces, can be the air barrier and vapor and thermal control layers once cured (at least for closed cell foam) and provides some of the highest R-values per inch available. It slices! It dices! It […]

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Energy Retrofits Without Energy Audits

by Erik North on August 5, 2013

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    While some building folks have opined that energy audits are less than essential, I am admittedly biased. It is what I do. But it raises an interesting question: how could one do the work on a house and ensure air quality, warmth, comfort and moisture control without an audit? What minimum provisions would […]

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Concentric Vents and Blizzard Nemo

by Erik North on July 31, 2013

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    Blizzard Nemo clobbered Maine and most of the eastern seaboard this past February. Snow blanketed the entire coast, piling especially high in the Appalachian foothills. We slogged through a three foot dump in Portland. 50 MPH gusts whipped snow every way, sculpting enormous snow drifts in almost alien landscapes. That’s what our family […]