The weather is finally cooling down, and I couldn’t be happier! It felt like the summer weather was never going to end or go away, as it was hot from February all the way up to last week. When you’re dealing with eight months of 80 degree weather, you tend to get a little stir-crazy from having to lock yourself indoors with the air conditioning system set at full blast! That’s how it was for me at least, as I could never seem to cool off enough to just relax and enjoy myself unless I stayed directly under a ventilation point in my house. I’ve had my air conditioning system inspected by an HVAC specialist several times, and most recently the specialist told me that my system is simply too old to keep up anymore. I know what you’re thinking: The obvious solution is to replace the air condenser that sits outside, right? Well, if you didn’t know, a 2-ton air conditioning compressor and condenser combo is several thousand dollars! I don’t know about you, but I don’t just have that laying around. Thankfully, my heating system was tuned up by the HVAC specialist during his visit, so I know that machine will work effortlessly through the winter. That works out, too, as I’m pretty warm by nature and don’t need a ton of extra heating to stay warm. Hopefully I can put together the funds by February to buy a new A/C compressor and condenser unit, or I’m going to be in for a miserable summer! Then again, I could always just buy a window-mounted air conditioning unit to keep the critical rooms in my house cool. It would still be a pricey purchase, and only a band-aid for the situation, but it’ll beat dropping thousands of dollars on a whole new A/C system.
You know, one of the most aggravating things about living up North is the inevitable “cold spots”. You know what I’m talking about – the spots in your home that can never warm up, even if you have a space heater aimed directly at it! Sometimes this is due to circumstances that can’t be resolved with improved heating systems, such as poor weatherstripping or sealing, as well as a lack of proper insulation in the walls and ceiling. It’s frustrating to deal with those cold spots, especially when that cold spot is in your bedroom! Thankfully, I was able to resolve my cold spot issue with a multi-pronged approach. First, I worked with a heating and air conditioning specialist in town that inspected my home to locate any other cold spots. He suggested that I have the stripping on the windows redone, and have insulation installed in my attic. Who would’ve thought that I never had insulation in the roof? No wonder it was so cold! After that, the HVAC specialist then suggested a high-efficiency heating approach to keep my bedroom warm, but without heating the entire house. His suggestion was a cove heater, which functions like a radiator! It’s an incognito appliance that hangs on the wall by the ceiling, and provides heat in a directional flow. I had a cove heater installed over my bed in the bedroom, as this can be hardwired to the house for power and controlled by a single thermostat in the bedroom. How cool is that? With the new insulation, improved sealing on windows in my bedroom and the cove heater providing light but consistent heat, I saw a huge difference in the comfort of my bedroom! The cold spot had finally been defeated, and I was able to get a good night’s rest.
Lately, I’ve had a really hard time trying to focus on my work, both at my day job and at my part time night job. Both lines of work are very physically light work, as I can handle all of my work while sitting at a desk. Mentally, however, the fatigue that sets in from staring at computer screens all day can really wear you down. My wife has asked me if I’m getting burned out from my two jobs, but I always thought it was ridiculous to say you were “burned out” from jobs that didn’t require physical labor! Well, my tune has changed after three years of trying to maintain this work cycle. Fortunately, my night job can be somewhat entertaining, as I transcribe documentaries, how-to videos and more into written documents. All I do is watch a film, and write out the dialogue! Easy enough, right? Well, it’s only easy when the material is easy enough for me to stay interested, like when there are how-to videos on heating, ventilation and air conditioning service and repair. One of these films focused on installing radiant floor heating, which is a high-efficiency heating system built into the floor that can run on electricity or hot water. There’s also these small yet powerful heating and cooling devices, called ductless mini-split systems, which can provide heating and air conditioning functions to a small to mid-size house. You can even use multiple ductless mini-split systems, as well as several thermostats around the house, and create “zone control” layouts. Parts of the house can stay cool, while others will remain warm. How neat is that? See, there we go! Now that I’m talking about something interesting, the mental fatigue has been held off for now. I guess I should talk to my boss and request more heating, ventilation and air conditioning videos to transcribe!
I lived in an area of the state where a category four hurricane blew through our town! I had the foresight to evacuate, and take no chances with my own life. When I came back to my home, however, I quickly learned that not only was my home utterly destroyed – the homes of most of my neighbors weren’t standing. Thanks to the homeowner’s insurance, I was able to walk away from the property with enough money to find another house, in a city about four hours inland. This house wound up being a beautiful home for me to have a family in, as it was equipped with all kinds of bells and whistles that I never even knew about! The house had evaporative coolers installed, which were like a typical central air conditioning system but relied on the outside air to bring in cool, moist air that chilled the house. Additionally, the floors were covered in a faux wood vinyl coating, which housed radiant heating equipment that turned the floors themselves into a heating system! I thought that was ingenious, as it introduced heat to the house without compromising the humidity that allowed the home to feel comfortable during the winter. Best of all, the house was equipped with an air purification system, which worked beautifully to eradicate bacteria and other air pollutants as the air circulated through the house. In the end, part of me was a bit thankful for that hurricane. Aside from the headache I dealt with for years, it wound up being a blessing in disguise since I got a house out of it that was equipped with the latest and greatest in heating and air conditioning technology!
When I ran into an old friend of mine from high school at the supermarket, I had no idea what the day was going to have in store for me. Both of us were navy kids growing up, so we were always on the move. When we met in high school, we traded stories about where we’d been and what we’d seen, but neither of us knew where we would go after graduation. I decided to go into business management, while he decided to pursue a trade school to become a certified heating, ventilation and air conditioning service technician. Graduation was the last time we saw each other, and to be honest, I wish I did what he did! He was in his field within six months, and was able to pay off his financial debt as a student within two years! I just can’t believe how successful he is as heating and air conditioning specialist, either. We’ve only been out of high school for five years, and he’s already making over six figures between him and his wife, who also works in the heating and A/C industry. Meanwhile, I’ve only been out of college for a year, and I’m looking at decades of paying off my student loans! I asked him if it was easy to get into the program, and he said it certainly was – he had no doubt that I had the smarts to become a successful HVAC specialist, and he even said I could use my business management skills to work my way up in the parts industry. After all, these heating and air conditioning specialists can’t repair equipment without newer, better, more reliable components! I was definitely interested in becoming an HVAC technician just as he did. If he was able to live so comfortably just five years after high school, surely I could do the same in the HVAC industry!
What is it about college dorm halls that always makes them horrendously cold? I’ve visited over a dozen different dorm halls in my time as a college student, and as an alumni visiting the campus. Most of my friends stayed in different dorms on campus, or at other colleges, so I got to experience quite a few different living scenarios. Despite the differences from dorm to dorm, there was one consistent trait: it was ice cold in every single hall! It’s like the air conditioners are set to max, or every single dorm room left the fridge door open. When I was a student at my alma mater, I had the same issue with the dorms on campus. I usually had to sleep wearing a sweater, which isn’t very comfortable! I complained to the school’s administration about the freezing temperatures in the dorm halls, but they gave me some generic answer about “keeping costs low”, and not running the heating systems unless it was absolutely necessary. Come on, what is my massive tuition payment going towards? I just don’t understand how it can be so expensive to increase the temperature of the dorm. It doesn’t have to be blazing hot, but they could stand to run the furnace for the building for an hour or two just to make it bearable! I was so happy the year I moved out of the dorms, and stayed in an apartment with a few friends for my last two years of school. We had total freedom to throw parties, kick back and relax – and best of all, we could run the heating system as much as we wanted! My friends didn’t get cold as easily as I did, but they got over the increased heat in the apartment pretty fast.
This morning, I literally almost burned my house down. I was making pancakes for all the kids that were at our house last night for a sleepover, and of course they were all still asleep. They always sleep late after staying up way too late the night before. So I was in the kitchen making pancakes for whenever they finally got up. Well, of course, my phone rang when I was right in the middle of one of the batches of pancakes and I thought I could go and answer it and then come right back to flip the pancakes. Wrong! I forgot all about that batch and started doing something in the other room! And then all of a sudden, the air was filled with smoke and the smoke detectors started going off in the kitchen. The indoor air quality in my house turned terrible all of sudden and I had to open up all the doors and windows, along with the heating from the furnace! Now I’m just sitting here waiting for the place to air out and it’s freezing in here. The temperature outside is really cold today, but I can’t help but leave the windows and doors open because the smell in here is unbearable. Burnt pancakes do not help with your indoor air quality! I think I might need to go and purchase a whole home air purification system, because it smells that bad in here. That’s what I get for trying to do two things at once! I am not very good at multi-tasking!
I can’t tell you how much I don’t like the cold. The winter was never my friend. It seemed every time it snowed or iced over I seemed to get hurt in one way or another. When I was younger, I would love sitting inside next to the heater reading, keeping warm. I remember one Winter we had a really bad snow storm. If I remember correctly there were almost 2 feet of snow! Of course, I grabbed my sled and out the door, I went once the storm was over. Needless to say, I ended up breaking my arm and having to wear a partial cast until I could see the doctor to put on my real cast the next day. But to make it worse, that night was one of the worst! The heater stopped running, in the dead of winter. The house got cold quickly as my uncle tried to fix the heating system and get the heater repaired that night. However, he wasn’t a heater repairman. So, there was nothing else he could do. He ended up calling in a heater repair technician from a local HVAC business. However, they couldn’t come out until the next day! We all snuggled under mountains of electrically heated blankets, heating pads, and each other to stay warm that night. Luckily the heater repair technician came early that morning. After he spent some time looking at the unit he spoke with my Uncle. He said the heater is very old and that he may want to update his heating system. The HVAC technician got our heat running again, and it felt wonderful as warmth filled the house. After the snow had melted, my uncle was a man of his word and updated his heating system with a brand new heater installation.
When my sister bought her first house, it was an old barn house that was built into the side of the mountain. It was situated on 10 acres of land, 4 that were clear and the rest were covered with woods. So, you can imagine the shape of the home when they purchased it. It was supposed to be a “work in progress” home. It was winter when we moved in and snow covered the ground. My brother-in-law went to turn on the furnace to get the heat going in the house and, of course, it wouldn’t work. He tried and tinkered for hours but couldn’t get the furnace to work. We then understood that a heater repairman would have to be called out to find a solution to the problem. When the heater repair man came out, (the next day), it took only 30 minutes for him to decide the furnace would need to be replaced. Of course, all my sister saw was dollar signs in front of her. But, it needed to be done. We were in the middle of winter and a big storm was on its way. The next day the HVAC technician came out to do the heater repair. It took him most of the day. But because it was an older house, some items on the furnace needed to be modified or changed to fit the space. Once the heater installation was over, he turned it on and we felt the warm air coming through and it felt great. it felt good to be able to shed the layers and finally be comfortable in our new house and new furnace.
When I got up the other day, I was trying to get ready for work. I had the coffee brewing and then noticed that my house was absolutely sizzling. I checked the thermostat and came to find that it was way too overheated inside. It was about 85 degrees! I was terribly disappointed and called up the HVAC company. They said they could make it there later in the day. That actually worked out fine for me because I would be able to go to work and make it back before the HVAC technician arrived to my house. When I finally made it home from work, I seen that the HVAC van already pulled up in my driveway. I actually got a call on my cell phone and it was the HVAC technician. I came to meet the guy and told him he was early. He said he just finished up early at his last appointment and figured he would come straight over, but he didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be home yet. So I let the man in to take care of my cooling system. He got to work and took care of everything. He even cleaned the inner workings of the equipment out really well. He also installed a fresh HEPA air filter which I thanked him for. After everything was working, I was pleasantly pleased. I was really grumpy earlier in the day when it was sizzling in my house, but now my house cooled down in no time. I especially loved that HEPA air filter and thought I should get those types of filters from now on.