Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, energy consultant, RESNET-certified trainer, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard. The electric resistance element is on all summerHis next step was to turn off the breaker to the electric resistance heat (a.k.a. strip heat) in the HVAC system. This is basically a giant toaster inside the air handler. Heat pumps use it for supplemental heat. In some homes, it’s used as the primary heat source. It’s not cheap, though, especially considering that the same electricity going into a heat pump will yield two or three times more heat.Anyway, the utility investigator turned off the breaker to the strip heat and watched what happened to the meter. In the summer time, turning off the strip heat should have no effect at all on how fast the meter spins because it shouldn’t be running. Strip heat is for cold weather.In this case, the meter went from spinning fast enough to saw wood to moving as slow as a horned passalus (photo below) going for a walk in the woods.“Well, we found your problem, ma’am,” he told her. “Your heating and cooling system was doing both at the same time, making you spend a lot of money to stay uncomfortable.” She lives in a small, simple house in southern Mississippi. It’s only 1,700 square feet. Why then, she wondered, were her summer electricity bills running more than $600?The house didn’t have any energy-hog features like a swimming pool, and she didn’t do stupid things like leave all the doors and windows open while she ran the air conditioner. What could it be?She called her electric company, one of the co-ops in Mississippi, and they sent someone out to investigate. Utility companies get calls like this all the time, and they’ve learned from experience what most of the main causes of high bills are. When the utility investigator arrived at the house, he asked her to tell him anything she knew that might help him.“Well,” she said, “the air conditioner runs all the time, but the house won’t even cool down to 80 degrees.”“Ah, that helps to narrow it down a bit.” He went to work, and it didn’t take him long to find the problem. He measured the temperature drop across the air conditioner coil and found that the air on the ‘cool’ side wasn’t much lower than the air on the warm side. And both were much warmer than they should be.OK, that could be a disconnected duct in the attic, he thought. A look in the attic, however, showed that wasn’t the case here. Besides, a disconnected duct would increase the bill, but it almost certainly wouldn’t quadruple it. Thermostat wiring errorsThis problem often results from a thermostat wired incorrectly so that the system kicks on the strip heat when it shouldn’t. Since anyone can go down to the home improvement store or the Interwebs and buy a thermostat, a good number of these problems result from DIY jobs.It seems crazy to think that someone wouldn’t notice that the heat is running in their home in summer, but they don’t feel heat coming out of the vents. That heat gets mixed with the cool air from the air conditioner. They cancel each other out, both using even more energy because they’re fighting each other.Got high electricity bills in summer that you don’t understand? Check your strip heat.
Another new year, another new round of juicy camera conjecture. Here’s your officially unofficial 2017 camera rumor roundup!Expectations are high for camera releases in 2017. Just like in years past, we’ve rounded up the latest camera rumors that have appeared online. While a lot of last year’s camera rumors came to fruition, it seems a few might have been a bit too optimistic. So, keep in mind, there are no guarantees here — only hopes and dreams. Here are the best rumors for cameras we may see released in 2017.Canon Camera RumorsWell, last year turned out to be a bust for the Canon 5D Mark IV, but they did roll out some new Cine cameras and updated a majority of the existing line. Here are the latest Canon camera rumors.Canon Cinema EOS C100 Mark III4K video recording up to 60fps1080p up to 120fpsSuper 35mm CMOS SensorPL + EF MountISO 100-102,400CFast + SD Card SlotsXF-AVC/MPEG-4 AVC/H.264/ProResRAW capture with external recorderNew anamorphic lens announced alongside its releaseTo be announced in April (ahead of NAB)Rumor via Rumors Dot Camera/Canon Watch /Additional SourcesCanon EOS 1D C Mark II8K video recording up to 30fps4K up to 60fps1080p up to 120fps15 StopsEF MountISO 409,000Dual CFastRumor via Canon RumorsCanon EOS 6D Mark II4K up to 30fps1080p up to 60fps25 MP sensorDual SD Card slotsArticulating screenNew super-telephoto lensTo be announced Spring/Summer 2017Rumor via Canon RumorsCanon EOS Rebel T7i, T7s1080p up to 60fps24MPMax ISO 25,600Wi-Fi, NFCTo be announced in January/FebruaryRumor via Canon RumorsCanon EOS M(?)Full-frame mirrorless camera4K video recordingEF-M MountNew prime lensTo be announced in Q4 2017Rumor via Canon Rumors/Additional SourcesSony Camera RumorsSony had another killer year, with their cameras increasing in popularity and their sensors being used in everything from iPhones to Nikons. The Alpha series looks like it will get a new flagship camera in the a9 (also called the a7RIII), as well as an update to the the a7. Sony has already announced the FS7 Mark II, and with their increasingly quick new camera turnaround, we could hear about an FS5 Mark II in the coming months.(Some specs are pretty realistic and on par with current models, as manufacturers like Sony, Fujifilm, and Nikon all suffered delays after the 2016 earthquake in Kumamoto.)Sony XDCAM PXS-FS5 Mark IISuper 35-Sized CMOS SensorSony E Mount6K up to 30fps4K up to 60fps1080p up to 240fpsDual XQD Memory Card SlotsSony Alpha a9/a7R III70-80 MP full-frame sensorDual XQD card slotsInternal 4K up to 60fps1080p up to 120fpsISO 102,400Unlimited RAW burst (based on memory card size)Shipping Q4 2017Rumor via The New Camera / Sony Alpha Rumors / Additional SourcesSony Alpha a7 IIIInternal 4K up to 30fps1080p up to 60fpsISO 102,400To be announced Q2 2017Rumor via Sony Alpha RumorsSony Alpha a670024.2MP sensor4K Video up to 30fps1080p up to 60fpsWi-Fi with NFCISO 51200 RED Camera RumorsYou can’t ever really guess what RED is up to. Even when expectations are over the top, the manufacturer tends to exceed them. 2016 saw most RED users getting the ability to shoot up to 8K across the DSMC2 line. Current major directors are using advanced prototypes, like on James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Michael Bay’s commercial and feature work on Transformers: The Last Knight, and David Fincher’s new Mindhunter project for Netflix.Unless you’re an A-list talent (or good friends with one), you probably won’t be getting your hands on any major new RED cameras this year. You can expect to see some more updates to the existing lines.What’s your favorite 2017 camera rumor? Have plans to buy any of these? Let us know in the comments below. Fujifilm Camera RumorsFujifilm hopped into 4K video with the X-T2. There aren’t many rumblings on the next camera with video capabilities, outside of a new color body for the X-T2. (It’s supposedly silver.)Rumor via FujirumorsBlackmagic Camera RumorsBlackmagic is still doing some major overhauls to the URSA Mini firmware. As far as hardware, there’s not been much noise related to any upcoming camera announcements. There is potential for an updated Pocket Cinema Camera, but we’ve been expecting that for a while. Here’s our guess…Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera II4K up to 30fpsUltraHD Apple ProRes up 30fps1080 up to 60fps15+ Stops Panasonic Camera Rumors*Update: the rumored GH5 specs are now confirmed. The GH5 was already announced in 2016, but we didn’t have all the final specs yet. Here is what we do know (and some rumors to fill in the gaps).Lumix DC-GH54K video up to 60fps1080p up to 60fps4:2:2 | 4:2:010-bit and 8-bit internal recording20MPV-Log built inWi-Fi, BluetoothUSB type-CHDMIDual SD card slot5-axis internal stabilization150 Mbps at launch, 400 Mbps max bit rate in 4K after update$1999Shipping Q1 2017Rumor via 43 Rumors/Panasonic/Additional SourcesNikon Camera RumorsJuly 25 marks the 100 year anniversary of Nikon. While the manufacturer has cameras that capture video, they never really caught on with video producers. That said, there are a couple of noteworthy cameras for those who primarily shoot Nikon stills and the occasional video. Outside of the rumors, you’ll also see the Nikon D560 come to the US from Europe.Nikon D76024 MP sensor4K up to 30fps1080p up to 60fpsISO 102700-328000014-bit RAWRumor via The New CameraNikon 1 J620.8 MP CMOS SensorTilting touchscreen LCD4K up to 30fps1080p up to 60fps720p up to 120fpsWi-FiISO 12800To be announced February 2017Rumor via Nikon RumorsNikon D5XFull-frame sensorNikon F mountHD video recording up to 30fps