Commonwealth Journal

Local News

August 21, 2013

Inventor gets his ducts in a row

Bronston electrician Don Davis patenting cost-saving bathroom vent cover

Somerset —

“Necessity is the mother of invention,” goes the old adage.
That certainly is the case for Don Davis. The Bronston electrician has a patent pending on an energy-saving invention he brainstormed when the local housing market took a nose dive a couple years ago costing him part of his livelihood.
Today things are improving economically for the father of five—Davis is working as an electrical contractor on the new Texas Roadhouse going up at Stonebrook on South U.S. 27. But it only takes a few minutes conversing with him to discover what’s close to his heart: the invention he claims can save the average homeowner hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in wasted heat and air-conditioning.
“When residential work slowed down, I decided to expand my skills and I attended an energy auditing course sponsored by the Building Performance Institute,” he explained. “As part of the certification, we studied thermal loss in an average house. In fact I got a hold of a thermal camera and did an energy audit of my own house. I was shocked to see how much of my heated and air-conditioned air was escaping through the bathroom exhaust fan vent.”
Davis explained that a typical ceiling-mounted bathroom exhaust fan has a gravity-activated flapper valve which, at least in theory, is supposed to close when the fan is not running to keep conditioned air from venting outside, and to keep elements like rain and snow, as well as winter cold and summer hot air, from being blown back into the house.
“I’ve installed or repaired hundreds of these exhaust fan over the years, and I can’t tell you in how many of them the flapper valve is either stuck wide open, or has such a large gap around it that conditioned air escapes from inside the house to the outside with a major thermal loss.

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