Reuben Saltzman

Minnesota home inspector training event with Allison A. Bailes III, PhD.

I’m delighted to announce an upcoming Minnesota home inspector training event with Allison A. Bailes III, PhD. He’s the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog, a blog that I’ve linked to numerous times over the years, and that I read religiously. He’s opinionated about energy, and he writes about a lot of interesting stuff. For this upcoming seminar, I’ve asked him to put together a specific list of speaking topics; mostly stuff that he has already written about, and stuff that I think Minnesota home inspectors would be interested in hearing more about.

Allison BailesJust go through this list of topics and try to tell me you’re not interested, even if you’re not a home inspector:


  • 61 things we should ban to improve homes
  • Why did painters refuse to paint insulated houses in the 1930s?
  • Tuning your home inspector goggles with building science

The Building Enclosure

  • The building enclosure is the bathtub
  • Air leakage – the oft-ignored problem
  • An air barrier is not a product
  • Don’t caulk the windows, and other winterizing myths
  • A quick look at insulation types
  • The importance of installation quality of insulation
  • A grading system for insulation installation quality
  • A fiberglass insulation manufacturer gets serious about installation
  • Is compressed insulation really so bad?
  • Understanding R-value – and the many ways it can be calculated
  • Flat or lumpy – does it matter with insulation?
  • The diminishing returns of adding more insulation
  • Four pitfalls of spray foam insulation
  • Does spray foam need a thermal or ignition barrier? And what’s the difference between them?

Heating and Cooling

  • The heating & cooling systems are the faucet
  • An overview of heating & cooling – equipment plus distribution
  • The fundamentals of good HVAC design
  • When is a high-efficiency furnace not?
  • What does a heat pump frost over?
  • Does a gas furnace dry out the air?
  • How do air conditioners and heat pumps work?
  • Heat pumps in Minnesota? Sure!
  • How NOT to use your heat pump thermostat
  • Don’t set your air conditioner’s thermostat like this
  • Do programmable thermostats save energy?
  • Does the Nest learning thermostat save energy?
  • Will shading an air conditioner save money?
  • The duct that wasn’t, and other common problems in forced air duct systems
  • Door undercuts, jumper ducts, and other ways of returning air to the system
  • Does closing vents in unused rooms save money?


  • A house doesn’t need to breathe – People do!
  • The 3 whole-house ventilation strategies
  • Do you really need to run the bath fan in winter?
  • Common problems with ventilating a house in cold weather
  • Don’t let that attic suck – the problem with powered attic ventilators

Event Details

This training event is taking place on Saturday, May 12th, from 8 am – 5 pm at the U of M Continuing Education Building, located at 1890 Buford Avenue, Saint Paul. This event is being hosted by the Heartland Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), as well as the Minnesota Society of Housing Inspectors (MSHI). Yes, that’s right, we work together. We have a common interest; excellent education for our members. Members of either organization get heavily discounted pricing for this event.

For anyone else, the cost to attend this all-day seminar, which includes breakfast, snacks, and a catered lunch, is only $100 (one hundred) dollars. No, I didn’t miss a zero. Anyone is welcome to attend this seminar. It doesn’t matter if you’re a home inspector, home energy professional, home builder, or just a passionate homeowner, you’re welcome to attend this training event to learn more about houses, building science, and energy-related questions that keep you up at night.

If you’d like to come, please save yourself a seat by registering here: We’d love to see you there. Seating is limited to the first 120 registrants, so please register early if you’re planning to attend.

Author: Reuben SaltzmanStructure Tech Home Inspections

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