Choosing a heat pump for the cost and energy savings it provides –

When a local HVAC technician suggested that my husband and I install a heat pump into the home we were building, I was skeptical.   I had always heard that these systems were unreliable, expensive, and unable to handle colder weather. Over the years, however, the design and engineering of heat pumps has greatly improved.  A heat pump is basically just a type of air conditioner that has the ability to run backwards. In the summer months, the system pulls heat out of the inside air and expels it outdoors. It simply creates a cooling effect by lowering the indoor temperature.  In the winter, a reversing valve inside of the heat pump takes the heat from outdoors and transfers it inside. Because of this, the colder the outdoor temperature, the less effective the heat pump. Innovations in technology, however, have made heat pumps far more capable of handling lower temperatures.  The advantage of a heat pump is that it doesn’t burn fuel to create heat, which eliminates the combustion process. There are no byproducts, such as carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide, which create a health and safety threat. There are no flames, fumes, or hot surfaces, and no greenhouse gas emissions, making the system environmentally friendly.  Although a heat pump is rather expensive to purchase and complex to install, it does provide energy savings all year round. I am hoping that the lower operational costs will help us to recover the initial investment within the first five years. I am also counting on a manufacturer’s rebate and tax credits for the installation of an environmentally responsible form of temperature control.

start here

HVAC employee is rude

When I arrived home to meet the HVAC contractor for our HVAC checkup, I was anticipating a normal appointment. We always have the same HVAC service tech do our HVAC checkup. His name is Charlie, and he is always polite and respectful. I was expecting to see Charlie when I pulled up because the HVAC van was already there. Instead, I saw another gentleman who was definitely not Charlie. He seemed rather annoyed and immediately asked if we could get started already. I was quite taken aback, but I replied that of course we could. He had already gone and looked over our A/C unit outside and needed to come inside to replace the air filters and check the ductwork. Charlie normally does this carefully to make sure he is not getting mess everywhere. The other gentleman, whose name I never found out, got dust and dirt all over the carpet and never even apologized! After checking everything over, he told me brusquely that our A/C unit was filthy and that we probably needed a full ductwork cleaning and probably an air purification system, as well. Then, he left. I, almost immediately, called the HVAC company to speak to customer service. Charlie had never once indicated those things to us. How could things have changed within just a few months? I spoke to the HVAC company secretary who told me that the HVAC service tech who came to my house is brand new. She apologized for his rudeness and said that she would send Charlie by as soon as possible to give us a second opinion.

air conditioner component

Have to be home in time for HVAC appointment

Today, I have a busy schedule at school. I have all of my normal classes, plus I have aftercare from 3:00 to 4:00. What makes me really nervous is that I am supposed to be home by 4:30 in order to meet the HVAC contractor to go over our options for repairing our air conditioning unit or installing a new air conditioning unit. When I called for the appointment, the HVAC representative I spoke with at the HVAC company I called told me that their schedule was really booked up. She said that an HVAC representative could come today at 4:30, but that he would not have a lot of time, and that it was imperative that I were there right at 4:30. At the time, I did not remember that I had aftercare, so I said that this was fine. When I remembered, I thought of cancelling the HVAC appointment altogether, but I really need to get this HVAC issue taken care of before I leave to go out of the country on Friday. I am hoping and praying that the students in aftercare are all picked up early so that I will be able to leave a few minutes before 4:00. My commute home is normally 35 minutes. If I leave right at 4, I will probably be late for my HVAC appointment, and the HVAC worker will leave, and I will not get my air conditioning issue worked out. I am desperately hoping that all of the students are picked up early!

HVAC date

Regret giving my mom a smart thermostat

I totally regret giving my mother smart thermostat for her birthday. I thought, at the time, that it was an awesome gift. She had been using her old dial thermostat for over twenty years. My mother upgraded the HVAC equipment to be more modern, the thermostat was the last thing to change. On paper the smart thermostat sounds so handy and easy to use. You download the app and run the heating or cooling from your phone, ipad, or computer. The smart thermostat learns yoru weekly HVAC needs and then automatically does it. In addition to this, the thermostat scans and turns off when you are not home. It also can alert you on dirty air quality, a broken fan, or even when an air filter change is needed. I got the best of the best in temperature control for my mom. I am regretting a purchase because the smart HVAC technology is beyond her technological knowledge. My mother does not even understand what an app is and how to use it. I have gone over and over to her house to show her how to use the thermostat. Everytime I check her climate control program, I see that it is turned off. The thermostat never gets to learn since she turns it off all the time. My mother also freaks out when the thermostat alerts her on air filter changes. She wants that off too. Basically my mother wants her old thermostat back. So glad I spent all that money and spent all that time teaching her. Should have gotten a digital thermostat.

thermostat

More excited by the hydronic heater than the baby

I am so out of the loop with women my age. Most women my age are married and have at least one child. I am single and I don’t even have a dog. I still rent an apartment, have purple hair and I drive a Harley rather than a huge minivan. Needless to say, my old highschool friends and I have trouble connecting on things in life. Last weekend my buddy Pam wanted me to visit her new baby. Pam wanted to fawn all over her new son that was basically just a pile of goo. I did not do a very good job of doing this. The reason is that I was so caught up by Pam’s heating system. I walked into her house and immediately felt my feet being heated. Pam has heated floors in her home. How it works is that her boiler system has a bunch of pipes connected to it. The pipes are under the floors and filled with water warmed by the boiler. The warm pipes create hydronic heating. This type of heating is silent and not as messy. My buddy Pam also told me that it is twice as efficient since you don’t need to set the thermostat as high. No heat rises, radiant heat warms all objects that touch it and you feel warmer when your feet are. How neat is that? I only wanted to talk about the hydronic heater and get more details. I want to get it for my home. Pam was upset because she really only cared about her baby at this point. The heated floors are way more impressive to me.

heater set up

Wine Enthusiast Really Needs Good A/C

Do you like wine? I must say that I like wine a little, but often I find it to be too bitter. My former fiance was a wine enthusiast, and he told me that the reason I did not really care for wine was because I never drank really good wine. He was supposed to teach me all about wines, and I was really looking forward to it. The first time I went to his house, I was so surprised to discover his wine cellar. It was absolutely beautiful, and the thermostat was set to a very specific temperature. Winter or summer, he kept the thermostat set the same. Apparently, if wine does not stay in the perfect air conditioned temperature, it loses its flavor and turns to vinegar. It makes me wonder how wine in trucks without a/c in the back even tastes good at all. Anyway, he told me he has two separate cooling units at his house. One HVAC unit for the wine cellar and another HVAC unit for the living space. He even has a backup generator for the a/c in the wine cellar, but he does not have one for the a/c upstairs where people actually do their living! It seems to me as if he treats the wine better than the guests who come to drink it, but not really. If you are going to be a wine enthusiast, you need good a/c. UNfortunately, he died before we could get married and I wasn’t able to learn much about wine or a/c. I miss my wine enthusiast and his great a/c!

central HVAC

Cleaning the Ductwork

When I first moved into my townhouse, I was so excited to have a washer and dryer again. When I lived in my former apartment, the washer broke down and the little cubby it was located in inside the apartment’s kitchen was so small that the repairman could not repair it. So, I did my first load of laundry, and guess what? It took forever for my clothes to dry. The dryer was on for hours, and the clothes were not dry. I called in an appliance repairman, but he said my dryer was fine and suggested I might need to get my dryer vent and ductwork cleaned. I have never cleaned my ductwork in my life, so I wasn’t even sure what to think. I called the landlord and asked him about cleaning the ductwork and dryer vents. He said that the previous tenants told him the ductwork was fine, but he called in an HVAC specialist to inspect the ductwork and dryer vents. Sure enough, the HVAC repair technician said the dryer vent and ductwork did look quite clogged and dirty. I go the ductwork cleaned out, and the dryer worked properly again. My friend met the HVAC at my place because I was working, and he told me that it looked like a hundred pounds of lint came out of the ductwork when the HVAC guy did the cleaning! He said it is quite common with townhouses to need more frequent duct cleaning because the ductwork often has more twists and turns in it, and therefore the lint and dust gets trapped.  

air ducts

Panic call over HVAC system

I travel a lot for my job.  Sometimes, I am only home a day or two before I go again for weeks at a time. This schedule leaves my wife to handle everything at home by herself.  She normally does a really good job. She must handle the kid’s school schedules, all the household stuff, all while working part time herself. It just so happened that I was on one of my trips last month when I got a call in the middle of the night.  Now, normally, I just agree with whatever it takes to make things at home go as smoothly as possible. This time, however, I was upset about what my wife wanted to do. She said that the air conditioner had malfunctioned in the middle of the night and she wanted to call the HVAC company to fix it right away. I knew that an emergency call was very expensive and didn’t see why they couldn’t just make do until normal business hours. After all, air conditioning is not a requirement for living.  It is still considered a luxury for the most part and only those with certain medical conditions need it to survive. My wife was upset with me for asking her to arrange for a regular appointment. I know she is stressed from all of her responsibilities and I told her I would make it up to her when I returned. Maybe I will also purchase a portable HVAC unit as a backup for her too. This would at least give her some relief in the event that the system goes down again at a time when the HVAC dealer is closed.

a/c dealership

Expired warranty

My mom is convinced that the warranty on anything is a a conspiracy plan.  It seems that every time she purchases something, it quits, just after the warranty has expired. There is no worse feeling than calling a repair person, only to find out that you need to pay for the full repair.  They often even joke about the fact that if the item had broken a month or so ago, it would have been covered under the warranty. This is the last thing you want to hear. On small things, like a toaster or something, it is really no big deal.  They are inexpensive enough that you just go get another one. On large appliances, like your stove, dishwasher, or even your HVAC system, warranties are very important. The repair bills on these items can be very costly. One time, when she still had her old HVAC system, she had to replace the compressor and the repair estimate was awful.  She decided that she would replace the unit instead. That may sound drastic to some, however, the new unit is not only more efficient, it is under a ten year warranty. Throwing all that money at an old system with an expired warranty just didn’t make sense. None of the parts or labor would have been covered and they could have found other issues once they started the job. She is saving money in the long run.  She has lower energy bills and her annual maintenance calls are covered too. I really think that this was one of the best decisions she could have made.

heating dealership 

Smart Homes

Have you ever heard of a smart home? I hadn’t until about month ago when my sister took me to her friends new home.  He is a dentist and owns his own practice, so naturally he is a pretty wealthy man. Anyways, we walk in the front door and everything is electronic.  His light switches weren’t switches anymore, they were on a small touch screen that you slide your finger up and down to dim or brighten the lights. Literally everything else he needed to manipulate was on a large tablet.  He had his pool and hot tub temperature settings, his indoor fans, his fireplace, is TV and stereo, and he even had his HVAC settings on there! He had a small map of his entire house with the temperature of each room. He could manipulate the temperatures for each room via an electronic thermostat, it was pretty cool.  He also could turn on the heating and cooling separately for each room. He could be heating one room up while cooling down another. This was the most advanced zone control that I had ever seen. Apparently this is new technology and not many people have had it installed yet. But, I definitely wouldn’t mind having my HVAC as well as other appliances all in one hand.  Just being able to change the thermostat in each room, without being in that same room would be cool. One day, when the technology is more widely used I will definitely be investing in something like that! Smart HVAC unit technology, here I come!

heating service plan