Hot Water

Concentric Vents and Blizzard Nemo

by Erik North on July 31, 2013

Post image for Concentric Vents and Blizzard Nemo

    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 […]


Post image for The Worst House Ever Audited (Was Built in 2008) Part 3

    To recap: Last post I started reviewing possibly the worst house I ever audited. The house had built in 2008, which hit one of my pet peeves: That new automatically means good. But to reiterate a buddy’s favorite saying, “a house built to code is the worst house you’re legally allowed to build.” […]


Is Solar Thermal Dead?

by Erik North on May 1, 2012

Is Solar Thermal Dead

  Martin Holladay, Green Building Advisor resident ‘Energy Nerd’ recently posted an article with the very pugnacious title, “Solar Thermal is Dead,” referring to solar hot water. Now energy guys will wage verbal wars for years over the merits of different types of low-dust cellulose insulation … you can imagine how heated things might get […]


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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Should I Install Hot Water Pipe Insulation?

by Erik North on November 30, 2011

Should I Install Hot Water Pipe Insulation

  Funny aside: I was looking for a clear photo of hot water pipe insulation. I went through about 25 audit files and nothing. Every time I found a photo, it was unusable. Eventually, I grabbed a camera and went to my basement and snapped a photo. So that’s my basement. Notice the XPS insulation […]


How Do I Control Humidity In My House?

by Erik North on November 5, 2011

Post image for How Do I Control Humidity In My House?

  I get a few funny looks during audits when the conversation turns from insulation to water and moisture control. But the two are interconnected whether or not it is obvious. Your entire house is made of wood, paper, concrete and plastic. Every one of those materials either holds loads of moisture or stops it. […]


How To Save Money (On Your Home Heating Bill)?

by Erik North on October 28, 2011

Post image for How To Save Money (On Your Home Heating Bill)?

    I know … ‘How to save money’…how broad a question is that? When having conversations with customers, it’s always more fruitful when our focus is more wide ranging. When discussing how to save money in your home, why discuss just the heating system or insulation? To best understand how to save money, you […]


Post image for 6 Incredibly Simple Habits to Save Money on Your Hot Water

  This series of posts are covering simple behavior changes or small projects that could save money heating your home. Or in this case, producing hot water for your home. In other words, why would you spend $10k on a solar hot water system if you haven’t done the simple stuff yet…I mean unless you […]


What is a BTU (Really, A British Thermal Unit)?

What is a BTU

by Erik North on July 28, 2011

  What is a BTU (or British Thermal Unit)? And why are we measuring our heating in British thermal units? You may have seen the acronym BTU listed on home appliances such as your hot water heater or furnace. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, similar to the watt and directly related to the joule. […]

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