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 […]


Post image for Sealed Combustion Heating and the Appliance Hot Tub Party

    Sealed combustion systems are apt to become more central to efficient building as the new energy codes introduce air tightness standards. This implicitly means that you’ll need to pay attention to your heating system safety. And conveniently those codes also lay out explicit guidelines for combustion systems. Building and energy codes often get […]


Infrareddit – A Second Look at Infrared Cameras

by Erik North on September 18, 2012

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    In the early days of this blog, I slammed out a few articles about various pieces of equipment regularly used during audits. Looking back, the posts were a little too technical and didn’t cover enough of their practical uses in investigating homes. While the various screen resolutions and USB ports are nice, it’d […]


Post image for Journal of Poor Homebuilding v.13 – Pop Quiz, Re-Ducts

    So, what was this homeowner trying to do? It was a classic attempt to move some heat into an otherwise unheated part of the house. There are, however, two minor issues. One, there was no positive mechanical pressure moving the air along and as we all know, heated air will always move horizontally […]


Can Switching to a Dual Flush Toilet Save Heat?

by Erik North on August 10, 2012

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  First off, my wife just joked that I used a photo of a ‘male’ bathroom. Seat up and two rolls of toilet paper. Regarding the heat savings, we’ll see…I haven’t done the math yet. But it is a minor claim occasionally made alongside those of saving toilet water. Dual flush or low flow toilets […]


Post image for Journal of Poor Homebuilding v.10 – Release The Kraken!

    This image comes from John Poole of A Preservationist’s Technical Notebook via Allison Bailes over at Energy Vanguard. It’s a well traveled picture. We don’t have air ducting as often in Maine as other sections of the country. Less need for air conditioning means less need for ducting for air conditioning. These installations […]


Post image for Life After The Low Hanging Fruit – What is Peak Oil?

  As an aside, peak oil in it’s own way got me into the energy profession…long story. What is peak oil? And why does it produce such a polarized response when you bring it up? I mean, seriously…Google “peak oil” and randomly pick a few sites. They all either tout peak oil as the ecological […]


How to Air Seal a Chimney Frame?

by Erik North on May 6, 2012

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  Around when I wrote this article, I was writing up an audit of a Cape-style house. From that, I wrote about air sealing and insulating knee walls, which may be the largest common air leak most homeowners are aware of. Leaks around the chimney chase may be the largest air leak almost no one […]


Green, Energy Efficient and Money Saving Links

by Erik North on April 16, 2012

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  Say what?!? Solar electric spray paint? That’s right…paint that generates solar electricity. Electric car doesn’t have enough range *bang* electric paint. Smart phone is dying *bang* electric paint. Technology can get us a little giddy every once in a while but this feels positively Jetsonian. The List 10 Tips for When You’re Remodeling Your […]

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How to Seal Air Ducts

by Erik North on March 25, 2012

How to Seal Air Ducts

  One of the most underappreciated and most easily fixed problems in homes is that of poorly sealed duct work. Homes which control their interior climate with ducted air systems can only do so as effectively as the distribution system moves the conditioned air. If you seal the return and supply air ducts, it can […]