Friday, September 28, 2007

Dump the Junk, Save a Tree

The average American receives 41 pounds of unsolicited mail each year, mostly junk mail. It's not just annoying but bad for the ecosystem. That 41 pounds per year represents:
  • more energy in production, delivery and landfill costs than 2.8 million cars do.
  • requires 100 million trees to supply the paper
  • bulk up landfills (44% of the junk is never even opened)
  • wastes your time sorting and recycling
  • costs you a lot of money, if you buy something you don't need.
You can help stop most of it from ever finding its way to your mailbox:
From Natural Home Magazine

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Don't Bug Me

The federal Do Not Call list expires next year, or 1-888-382-1222

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Podcasts Worth Hearing

Patricia McConnell: "For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend"

Listen to a really fascinating interview with Pat McConnell on the Diane Rhem Show, on WAMU
(right click and "save as" they play for smoother play back)

Pat McDonnel, PhD, Animal Behaviorist, trainer, radio talk show host of "Calling All Pets" talks about the new brain science and dogs, particularly their emotions and how those emotions are both similar and different from our own.

Best Tip:

  • Once you get past the basics, the time to praise or reward a dog is the instant they look at you. McConnell gives the example of when you call "come". The time to get really enthusiastic is when the dog looks at you and has that split second decision, keep sniffing or comply. Reinforce the right decision then, not when the dog comes. (I wonder if rewarding an ear twitch is good enough for cairn?)

Buy this book and support Cairn Rescue

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Good Citizen Dog Walker Kit

After Sydney's sorta bad black and tan adventure, I thought I'd share my dog walking kit (click image to enlarge):
  • cell phone with camera
  • Bags on Board container (15 ct. per roll) emergency poop bag
  • Gerber lock blade pocket knife # 05842 has belt clip and opens with one hand
  • HeatWave 17% pepper spray with UV marker (for ID later by police) & leather carrier
  • 1 aluminum carabiner, for belt (never a belt loop) to hold extra bags and pepper spray as well as to tether dog to waist
  • 1 aluminum spare carabiner, to tether dogs to fence or post
  • 6' leash and chain collar, makes a pretty stinging weapon if the dogs are off leash. Also, it's difficult for the dogs to slip their collars when excited
  • plastic shopping bags, 5 per trip out. Recycle those bags and save the expensive emergency bags (If you're not picking up your dog poop on a walk, you're a bad, bad owner).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Green Festival Comes to DC, 6-7 October

Sustainable Economy | Ecological Balance | Social Justice

At the Washington Convention Center map

  • $15 / Day (discounts available--see site)
  • 400 booths and exhibits
  • 150 speakers
  • 8 pavilions
This event has the expected organic and farming booths, natural health, etc. But several categories and events caught my eye:
  • Green Building (11 booths)
  • Green Careers and Education (11 booths)
  • Renewable Energy (9 booths)
  • Socially Responsible Investing (3 booths)
  • New Green Businesses (2 booths)
  • Green Pets (3 booths)
  • Building Green Economy (Sat 4 pm)
  • Jim Hightower (just because he's a hoot, Sunday 3 pm)
Green Home Series (40-min. each, continuously both days)
  • Energy-Efficient Lighting
  • Living with Solar
  • Solar Hot Water & Photovoltaics
  • Is Your Home a Hummer?
  • Top 10 Steps to Green Remodling
  • Planning a Self-Sufficient Solar Home
  • You and Your Employer Going Green Together
Green Careers
  • Landing Your Dream Green Job
  • Green Multimedia
  • Possibilities in Green Government
  • Careers in Alternative Transportation
So, if you're in the DC area, you might be interested in spending a day or two at the convention center.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More Sad News from Iraq--NYT OpEd Soldiers Dead

If you missed the NYTs OpEd entitled "the Was as We Saw It" by seven career soldiers actually serving in Iraq at the time of publication, I've put a copy on my blog because it's now archived and available only for a fee at NYT.

As noted, in a coda to that piece, one of the writers, Murphy, was wounded in the head before it was published and has been evacuated to Bethesda. Now word comes from Baghdad that two of the remaining authors, Mora and Gray, died in Iraq Monday.

I hope you'll remember these multiple combat tour, combat hardened troops when reading about Pete Hegseth and his GOP front organization Vets for Freedom, both of which have been much in the news lately. Hegseth did one tour of Iraq early on with the NY National Guard and hasn't been back since. While I honor his service, he's abused his mantle of authority beyond credibility in the press. His prowar neocon organization, Vets for Freedom, much in the news lately with the latest administration push after the Petraeus/Crocker report, is a wholly owned, 100% financed, creation of the GOP war machine.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Why We Need a Draft: A Marine’s Lament

Mail this to all your Chickenhawk associates...

from Newsweek

Why We Need a Draft: A Marine’s Lament
He was in the firefights of Fallujah. He saw gaps in America's arsenal that he believes can only be filled when America's elite puts its sons on the battlefield. A plea for selective service.

By Cpl. Mark Finelli
Updated: 12:20 p.m. ET Aug 28, 2007

Aug. 28, 2007 - “Maybe we would have only lost those three instead of 13,” I thought to myself on a dusty Friday in Fallujah in early November 2005. I was picking up the pieces of a truck that hours before had been blown apart by an IED, wondering why our equipment wasn’t better and why three more Marines were dead. Ramadan had just ended, the period in which a suicide bomber gets double and triple the virgins for killing himself in the name of jihad, and my weapons company, Second Battalion Second Marines, had lost 13 men in the last two weeks—not from firefights but from roadside bombs likely being imported from Iran. The insurgents were ramping up their technology, and here we were in the same old trucks. At least these didn’t have cloth doors like the ones last year. But seriously, was this the best technology we have?

Cpl. Mark Finelli, who served in Second Battalion Second Marines
Courtesy Cpl. Mark Finelli
Cpl. Mark Finelli, who served in Second Battalion Second Marines

Just then I noticed a big vehicle driving by, one owned by a private contracting company. This thing made our truck look like a Pinto in a Ferrari showroom. It was huge, heavy, ominous, indestructible. I wanted to commandeer it. I wanted to live in it. If only we were in one of those, I would definitely come home, and a lot of the guys who won’t would too. As it passed I stared at what I would later learn was called the MRAP vehicle (Mine Resistant Ambush Protective Vehicle). I never thought I would see something in Iraq that enticing, but there it was, rumbling past in all its glory.

I looked at my platoon sergeant. “Staff sergeant?”

“Yes, Finelli?”

“Why are the private companies driving around in these things and not the Marine Corps?” He looked at me and gave the universal sign for money, rubbing together his thumb and forefinger. And suddenly, I understood. It became clear on that November Friday in Fallujah that America’s greatest strength, economics, was not in play. A sad realization.

According to the Pentagon, no service personnel have died in an MRAP. So why isn’t every Marine or soldier in Iraq riding in one? Simple economics. An MRAP costs five times more than even the most up-armored Humvee. People need a personal, vested, blood-or-money interest to maximize potential. That is why capitalism has trumped communism time and again, but it is also why private contractors in Iraq have MRAPs while Marines don’t. Because in actuality, America isn’t practicing the basic tenet of capitalism on the battlefield with an all-volunteer military, and won’t be until the reinstitution of the draft. Because until the wealthy have that vested interest, until it’s the sons of senators and the wealthy upper classes sitting in those trucks—it takes more than the McCain boy or the son of Sen. Jim Webb—the best gear won’t get paid for on an infantryman’s timetable. Eighteen months after the Marines first asked for the MRAP, it’s finally being delivered. Though not nearly at the rate that’s needed. By the end of the year, only 1,500 will have been delivered, less than half the 3,900 the Pentagon had initially promised.

It’s not hard to figure out who suffers. The 160,000 servicemen and women in Iraq are the latest generation of Americans to represent their country on the field of battle. And like their predecessors, they are abundantly unrepresented in the halls of power. As a result, they’ve adopted what I find to be a disturbing outlook on their situation: many don’t want the draft because they believe it will ruin the military, which they consider their own blue-collar fraternity. They have heard the horror stories from their dads and granddads about “spoiled” rich officers. Have no doubt: there is a distinct disdain for networked America among the fighting class of this country. When a politician would come on TV in the Camp Fallujah chow hall talking about Iraq, the rank-and-file reaction was always something like, “Well, I am blue-collar cannon fodder to this wealthy bureaucrat who never got shot at and whose kids aren’t here. But I know I am making America safer, so I’ll do my job anyway.” And they do, and have been for the last three and a half years, tragically underequipped but always willing to fight.

The real failure of this war, the mistake that has led to all the malaise of Operation Iraqi Freedom, was the failure to not reinstitute the draft on Sept. 12, 2001—something I certainly believed would happen after running down 61 flights of the South Tower, dodging the carnage as I made my way to the Hudson River [I worked at the World Trade Center as an investment adviser for Morgan Stanley at the time]. But President Bush was determined to keep the lives of nonuniformed America—the wealthiest Americans, like himself—uninterrupted by the war. Consequently, we have a severe talent deficiency in the military, which the draft would remedy immediately. While America’s bravest are in the military, America’s brightest are not. Allow me to build a squad of the five brightest students from MIT and Caltech and promise them patrols on the highways connecting Baghdad and Fallujah, and I’ll bet that in six months they could render IED’s about as effective as a “Just Say No” campaign at a Grateful Dead show.

On a macro level, we are logistically weakened by the lack of a draft. It takes six to seven soldiers to support one infantryman in combat. So, you are basically asking 30,000 or so “grunts” to secure a nation of 26 million. I assure you, no matter who wins the 2008 election, we are staying in Iraq. But with the Marine Corps and the Army severely stressed after 3.5 years of desert and urban combat in Iraq—equipment needs replacing, recruitment efforts are coming up short—you tell me how we're going to sustain the current force structure without the draft? The president’s new war czar, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, essentially said as much earlier this month, when he announced that considering the draft “makes sense.”

Of course, the outcry was swift and predictable. America has rejected selective service before, though always in the guise of antiwar movements. But they should really be viewed as antidraft movements, and they existed, en masse, when the wealthy could buy their way out of serving—as Teddy Roosevelt’s father and his ilk did during the Civil War, or as countless college kids did during the deferment-ridden Vietnam conflict. Not every draftee has to be a front-line Marine or soldier, but history shows us that most entrepreneurial young men, faced with a fair draft, almost always chose the front. A deferment draft, however, is a different story, and ultimately counterproductive because of the acrimony it breeds. By allowing the fortunate and, often, most talented to stay home, those who are drafted feel less important than what they are asked to die for. At the end of the day, it was this bitterness that helped fuel the massive antiwar movement that pushed Nixon to end the draft in ‘73.

I don’t favor a Vietnam-style draft, where men like the current vice president could get five deferments. I am talking about a World War II draft, with the brothers and sons of future and former presidents answering the call (and, unfortunately, dying, as a Roosevelt and a Kennedy once did) on the front line. That is when the war effort is maximized. Quite simply, the military cannot be a faceless horde to those pulling the purse strings of our great economy.

The draft would even hasten a weaning away from foreign oil, I believe, if more Americans felt the nausea that I do every time I go to the pump and underwrite the people who have nearly killed me five times. This war on the jihadists needs to be more discomforting to the average American than just bad news on the tube. Democracies at war abroad cannot wage a protracted ground operation when the only people who are sacrificing are those who choose to go. This is the greatest lesson of my generation. Young Americans: you may not want to kill jihadists, but they are interested in killing you and your loved ones. Wake up.

Cpl. Mark Finelli is an inactive, noncommissioned Marine Corps officer who served in Iraq from July 2005 to February 2006. He is currently writing a book about surviving 9/11 and fighting in Iraq.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The War as We Saw It

The most under reported story on the war I've seen. None of the major news outlets gave these troops much space, if at all. Since the article is archived now and available only for a fee, I thought I'd share it here.

NYTimes commentary

Published: August 19, 2007

The War as We Saw It


Published: August 19, 2007

Buddhika Jayamaha is an Army specialist. Wesley D. Smith is a sergeant. Jeremy Roebuck is a sergeant. Omar Mora is a sergeant. Edward Sandmeier is a sergeant. Yance T. Gray is a staff sergeant. Jeremy A. Murphy is a staff sergeant.


VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the "battle space" remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers' expense.

A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.

Similarly, Sunnis, who have been underrepresented in the new Iraqi armed forces, now find themselves forming militias, sometimes with our tacit support. Sunnis recognize that the best guarantee they may have against Shiite militias and the Shiite-dominated government is to form their own armed bands. We arm them to aid in our fight against Al Qaeda.

However, while creating proxies is essential in winning a counterinsurgency, it requires that the proxies are loyal to the center that we claim to support. Armed Sunni tribes have indeed become effective surrogates, but the enduring question is where their loyalties would lie in our absence. The Iraqi government finds itself working at cross purposes with us on this issue because it is justifiably fearful that Sunni militias will turn on it should the Americans leave.

In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear.

(In the course of writing this article, this fact became all too clear: one of us, Staff Sergeant Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head during a "time-sensitive target acquisition mission" on Aug. 12; he is expected to survive and is being flown to a military hospital in the United States.)

While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse -- namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.

Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective. The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.

Coupling our military strategy to an insistence that the Iraqis meet political benchmarks for reconciliation is also unhelpful. The morass in the government has fueled impatience and confusion while providing no semblance of security to average Iraqis. Leaders are far from arriving at a lasting political settlement. This should not be surprising, since a lasting political solution will not be possible while the military situation remains in constant flux.

The Iraqi government is run by the main coalition partners of the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance, with Kurds as minority members. The Shiite clerical establishment formed the alliance to make sure its people did not succumb to the same mistake as in 1920: rebelling against the occupying Western force (then the British) and losing what they believed was their inherent right to rule Iraq as the majority. The qualified and reluctant welcome we received from the Shiites since the invasion has to be seen in that historical context. They saw in us something useful for the moment.

Now that moment is passing, as the Shiites have achieved what they believe is rightfully theirs. Their next task is to figure out how best to consolidate the gains, because reconciliation without consolidation risks losing it all. Washington's insistence that the Iraqis correct the three gravest mistakes we made -- de-Baathification, the dismantling of the Iraqi Army and the creation of a loose federalist system of government -- places us at cross purposes with the government we have committed to support.

Political reconciliation in Iraq will occur, but not at our insistence or in ways that meet our benchmarks. It will happen on Iraqi terms when the reality on the battlefield is congruent with that in the political sphere. There will be no magnanimous solutions that please every party the way we expect, and there will be winners and losers. The choice we have left is to decide which side we will take. Trying to please every party in the conflict -- as we do now -- will only ensure we are hated by all in the long run.

At the same time, the most important front in the counterinsurgency, improving basic social and economic conditions, is the one on which we have failed most miserably. Two million Iraqis are in refugee camps in bordering countries. Close to two million more are internally displaced and now fill many urban slums. Cities lack regular electricity, telephone services and sanitation. "Lucky" Iraqis live in gated communities barricaded with concrete blast walls that provide them with a sense of communal claustrophobia rather than any sense of security we would consider normal.

In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act. Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages. As an Iraqi man told us a few days ago with deep resignation, "We need security, not free food."

In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are -- an army of occupation -- and force our withdrawal.

Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.

We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


One of the best kept secrets in the government is the new USPS Click-N-Ship services. Advantages are listed below, and USPS offers a lot of shipping materials for FREE!

So if you love to hate the "backwards" U.S. Post Office, it's time for you to give it another look. That's particularly true if you, your small business, or home business are shipping small to medium sized packages on a regular basis.

The USPS's new online system, Click-N-Ship, offers these features:
  • No Stamps--print professional looking barcoded shipping labels WITH paid postage on your inkjet or laser printer
  • No Standing in Line--FREE USPS residential or business carrier pick-up, scheduled online (for unattended pick-up, just tell the carrier online where to find the package-- e.g. front porch under chair, watch out for spider) For added security, you may also drop your package in any mailbox or at any post office
  • print barcoded mailing labels using plain paper (tape to package) or buy custom USPS self-adhesive labels online
  • pay online using secure credit card processing technology
  • pay cash--if you don't pay by credit card you can print the label and then deliver the package and label to a post office to pay cash
  • buy additional parcel insurance online or request delivery signature confirmation
  • multiple mailing options presented online and their costs. Just select the one that suits your needs.
  • FREE online address book for routine correspondents (with USPS database generated address and zip code checking, correcting and formatting for machine scanning)
  • FREE online package tracking and shipping history
  • FREE e-mail notification of shipping (to recipient) and delivery (for you)
  • FREE USPS Priority/Express Mail boxes, envelopes, and tubes delivered to your house
  • FREE USPS Express and Priority Mail stickers and tape
  • Flate Rate envelopes and boxes will ship up to 70 pounds for a single rate
  • e-mail receipt for every charge to your credit card
  • Batch Orders, print several shipping labels at a time, and have only one credit card charge for the batch
Of course, you can use your own boxes, but the USPS boxes give your merchandise a very professional look that your customers will notice. Order FREE and for fee items online here: USPS Store.

You don't need an official USPS scale, but you will need a fairly accurate scale of some sort. If you don't have an accurate scale, you can purchase an electronic USPS scale for very little--NOTE: under postage packages will be either returned for more postage or delivered postage due, depending on the amount underpaid. Neither makes your operation appear professional to your customer, so accuracy is important to avoid embarrassment.

There are a few downsides, but not many:
  • if you elect unattended pick-up, you are responsible for the package until the postal delivery folks actually have the package in their hands (they'll leave a hand receipt in your post box)
  • this service is for domestic deliveries, mostly. There is little support for international deliveries, where the rules are much different
  • I screwed up and forgot my USPS account password and couldn't, after several requests, have the problem resolved on-line. I ended up creating a new account under my wife's name
So give Click-N-Ship a try. I found it most competitive when compared against the prices of UPS and FedEx. The FREE (did I mention most of the boxes and envelopes were FREE?) shipping materials helped make it cost effective and easy to use.

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Whole House Fans

Whole House Fans are:
  • inexpensive to buy ($150-250)
  • energy saving (we saved $158.63 during the first spring of operation. Payback less than one year)
  • easy to install
  • cool well
  • allow you to direct cooling breezes throughout the house
  • significantly reduce energy bills
  • add to feeling of being a part of nature
  • Utility Company Rebates (google "whole house fan" rebate )

September marks the end of the hot, muggy and windless Chesapeake summers and the beginning of our wonderful and quite long fall season here in the mid-Atlantic, a perfect time to turn off that energy hogging AC and open those windows for night time cooling.

Our single story ranch, however, is difficult to cool using the natural passive "cooling chimney" techniques available to two-story home owners. That's why I installed a Whole House Fan last winter to reduce our home cooling bills during the long spring and fall months (see Energy Usage chart at left to compare March-July 2006 to 2007 after the fan was installed).

Normally installed in the ceiling of a hallway, these fans and automatic louvers come in two models: direct drive and belt drive, and in two sizes: 24x24 inch and 30x30 inch. Cost starts under $200 at the home improvement stores. Installation only takes an hour or two, depending on your abilities, but is well within the do-it-yourselfer's skills.

While some models require the homeowner to cut a ceiling joist to box in the fan, at least one brand (Air Vent) has bracket hardware to allow the fan to sit atop the joist. The installer then fits stiff cardboard (included) between the fan box and the ceiling below to seal the air flow. (note: click image to enlarge and inspect the bracket placement on top of joist and staples holding the cardboard in place to seal airflow. Not shown: I scored the cardboard on one side and folded it into an "L" shape, and then stapled the short leg of the "L" to the ceiling and the long side to the fan box.)

All that remains is to wire the motor for regular household current (120 volts), cut the sheet rock inlet hole, and install the automatic louvers. This particular fan is controlled by a pull chain and has two speeds, but wall mount controllers are available.

To begin enjoying the joys of your cooler seasons, turn on the whole house fan, open windows in living areas or bedrooms to control air flow.
If we only open windows on the shaded side of our home, we are usually comfortable inside the house using the whole house fan alone in temperatures up to 85 degrees.

  • before you cut into your ceiling, be sure you have enough attic room above the fan (the attic space above my hallways was blocked where roof supports joined the ceiling joists)
  • direct drive fans are reported to be somewhat more noisy than belt drive fans. However, direct drive fans are not prone to the belt noise of some belt driven fans.
  • if you are not comfortable with 120 volt connections, hire an electrician for this part
  • a 30x30 inch whole house fan operating on high requires about 7 sq. feet of exhaust vent from your attic. You may have to add a bit of exterior venting in the form of passive gable or rooftop vents. Don't forget to calculate in the area of soffit vents under the eaves and ridgeline vents on the roof, if you have them. (Note: for exit vent calculations, screening over vents reduces air flow by about half the area). Ignore this warning and you may blow down a weak section of ceiling when you over-pressurize the attic--I did, fortunately it was in the garage and easy to repair.

A bit odd, but it works:

I mentioned that whole house fans are usually installed in hallways, but we couldn't find a place inside the house where it was easy to get to from above and below. So we installed our whole house fan in the attached garage. Of course, the connecting door has to be open between the house and the garage for the fan to work.

Advantages of installing in the garage:
  • less noisy
  • usually no itchy blown-in insulation over the garage to fool with
  • with AC on and the house buttoned up, the whole house fan vents and cools the garage while I'm working on a project
  • removes paint and varnish fumes from garage
  • removes heat from parked cars and vents it out the attic
  • with AC on in the house and the garage bay door open, the whole house fan will force super heated air out of the attic and replace it with cooler air from the garage, reducing the load on my AC system (my ducting is in the attic).
Disadvantages of installing in the garage:
  • door open between garage and house. We use a pet gate to keep the dogs in the house and out of dangerous substances in the garage.
  • mice can crawl into the house through the pet gate (this has not happened yet, and in any event, our three cairn terriers would count a mouse in the house as a bonus, not a disadvantage. The seem to recognize this and sleep in shifts watching the gate at night, hopeful for a critter incursion)
We love laying in bed together on a cool fall night, snuggled together under our comforter. We listen to the splashy fountain outside our window and the nocturnal sounds of nature being drawn into our bedroom on the breeze from our whole house fan.