heated flooring in the house

I work as a public transportation bus driver for the city I live in. Driving this bus is very interesting as you get to meet all kinds of people. From the unusual, the strange and the normal working class person. One thing about driving this bus that keeps me going and able to do the job every single day is the wonderful heating and air conditioning they have in the bus itself. In the winter time months it is nice and warm in there, and I have complete control over the heating. The people in the city that ride my bus even have commented on how wonderful the heating is in the winter time months. There has been some folks that have come on to ride, just to feel the heating in the winter time months! One person even told me that the heating in my bus is even better than their heating and cooling system in their home. And, that is even with radiant heated floors! That comment had me thinking…would it be possible to get radiant heated floors in a bus? Probably not, as from what I understand, the HVAC technology involved in radiant heated floors has something to do with running hot water pipes under the floors of a home, or something like that. And of course, in a moving bus, that would never be possible! On the flip side of things, in the summer time months, the bus is nice and cool with the wonderful air conditioning system. All around, I love my job! I would not trade it in for anything in the whole entire world!

radiant flooring

Smart thermostat simplifies management of two homes –

After spending the first fifty-five years of our lives battling the snow and cold up north, my husband and I bought a small vacation home down south.  We now spend six months of the year in the north, and the other six in the south. We enjoy the best weather in both places. When we first purchased the second home, I was not prepared for the extra work and worry.  We now have two lawns to mow, gardens to care for, gutters to clean, and a double set of utility bills. While we’re in the north, I worry about the damage caused by heat and humidity in our vacation home. I don’t want to blast the air conditioner in an empty home and pay huge electric bills, but I also hope to prevent issues with excessive moisture and air quality.  We have the opposite problem over the winter. We leave the furnace running at the lowest sweating, and then hope there’s no problems with it. If the heater should quit due to a power outage or malfunction, our pipes could freeze and burst. Since we hated to ask a friend or neighbor to continually check the houses for us, we finally invested in a smart thermostat for each of the homes.  The new thermostats have made life way easier. The wireless thermostats allows us to manage temperature control through our smartphones. We get alerts if there’s a problem, maintenance requirement or temperature fluctuations. We can track energy usage and makes changes to temperature settings. We are able to minimize costs while we’re away, but arrive at a perfectly comfortable home.

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Unusual style of punishment

My mother is a great woman and she raised us kids all by herself. Well, she had a very interesting way of discipline when we were not listening to her. She would actually crank the heating system up in the summer months and we would all be roasting. Nobody liked this treatment so everyone would be good whenever she threatened to do that. In the winter months, it was the opposite, she would actually crank up the air conditioning system even if there was snow outside! We would be in a rush to be good and nobody would be bad after that. Everyone would beg for her to please turn the heating system back on so we could be warm again. It was a very unorthodox style of punishment, but it was very effective. For a single mother who raised 4 children, we were probably the best behaved children around because of her style of discipline. She never spanked or beat us. She didn’t even have to yell at us, all she had to do was tell us what would happen if we didn’t listen. When I become a parent myself one of these days, I’m not sure if I would use the HVAC system to discipline my children, but it will stay in the back of my mind if they choose not to listen to me. I hope I don’t become a single parent, as that would be a greater challenge. But I believe that everything should go fine for me, at least I hope so, for the sake of my sanity.

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Piping with heated floors

During my trip to the grocery store, I ran into an old colleague from years ago. While our encounter was friendly enough, the entire exchange reminded me of why I don’t speak to that old “work buddy” anymore! See, I used to work for a company that sold heating, ventilation and air conditioning parts as a sales representative. My old colleague and I used to travel the region, working with local businesses and contractors to secure deals and add them to our list of regular customers. On one of these trips, we visited this contracting firm that was exclusively dedicated to heating, ventilation and air conditioning service. The head of the firm talked to us for a while, asking technical questions about our products, but then he tripped me up by asking about a newer technology known as radiant floor heating. At first, I thought he was asking about whether it was reasonable to install radiant floor heating in the office space of his contracting firm’s building. I said yes, only to realize that he was asking about installing the radiant floor heating in his entire warehouse! If you haven’t worked in a warehouse, just know that radiant floor heating has no place in a storage facility where forklifts are regularly used. Rather than diffuse the situation and try to explain how I misspoke, my colleague used the opportunity to throw me under the bus, and told my boss that I was intentionally trying to blow a big sale! What nerve, as his actions nearly cost me my job with that company. Radiant floor heating is a wonderful way to heat a house or office space, but putting pipes that carry hot water under flooring that isn’t concrete would end in disaster!

hydronic heating

Costs of repairing the HVAC

You know, you can never truly fathom how invaluable it is to have a quarterly heating, ventilation and air conditioning tune-up at your home. When I lived in an apartment, I never had to worry about scheduling those visits – my landlord would take care of the unit if they were feeling proactive, or they would cover the costs of repairing my heating and air conditioning equipment if they waited too long to make the necessary repairs. As a homeowner with a wife, two babies and two jobs, I can tell you with certainty that the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system for our home is the last thing I think about! For that reason, I’ve outsourced the constant care and maintenance on my heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to the HVAC service company in town. Once every three months, they’ll send a certified heating and air conditioning specialist to my house and that professional will perform any minor repairs needed to keep the system running as usual. They also use this visit to catalog any ongoing issues with any part of the HVAC system, and they present their findings to me after each visit to let me know if something is going to need servicing soon. The best part of this whole maintenance plan is that the HVAC company pays for all parts involved in the repairs, so I’m only paying for the labor costs that come from the professional visiting my home. It’s a flawless plan, and I couldn’t be more thankful to have it!

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Excellent air quality

The strangest thing happened to me the other week, as I went into a phone store to trade in my old phone, only to walk out with an appointment for an HVAC tune-up at my house. Quite the jump, right? Well, this turn of events began when I walked into the phone shop earlier that day. It was a pretty warm day outside, but the interior of the store was very cool, but not cold. The air was dry, and almost had this crisp feeling associated with the freshness of the air. As I moseyed around the shop and looked at the newest smartphones of the year, I really took my time evaluating each possible choice. I wanted to really soak in this excellent indoor air quality for as long as I could! After a few minutes, I was approached by the salesperson tending to the store. As they asked me about what I was in the market for, I couldn’t help but change the subject and ask about the excellent indoor air quality. “Yeah, you can thank me for that”, the salesperson said. I had no idea what he meant, until he explained further and said that he was only working in the phone shop on the side. His full-time job was with a local heating and air conditioning repair company, where he worked as an HVAC technician. After we got to talking about heating and air conditioning service, he wound up selling me on a complete heating, ventilation and air conditioning tune-up for my house. Funny how you can walk into a store and buy something you never planned on buying!

air quality

Good service

I’ve always believed that humanity tends to take things for granted, right up until that thing is no longer around. Whether it’s excellent cellular service and a free wi-fi hotspot, or a hot meal and a warm bed, we humans tend to think we’re entitled to many of life’s comforts. In my case, I’ve always had a deep appreciation for the conveniences of modern living. Maybe that comes from a childhood spent in the great outdoors, learning to camp and survive in the wilderness. I wasn’t a feral child, mind you – my parents were park forestry rangers, so I spent a ton of time in the woods, but I digress! As an adult, my home is loaded with tons of modern luxuries that the child in me can’t help but play around with from time to time. The most enjoyable appliance in my home would have to be my smart thermostat though, which controls the heating and air conditioning systems throughout my entire house. With the tap of a button on my phone, I can remotely adjust the temperature up or down in various segments of the house. If I’m cozying up on the couch with a book and want the living room to be warmer, I simply adjust the thermostat up a few degrees. Suddenly, the radiant floor heating system begins drawing heat upwards from the floorboards, where electrical cables are emitting heat into vinyl flooring that disperses the warmth up into the room. It’s the little conveniences like this that make living in the 21st century so enjoyable! While I did grow up with a love for the outdoors, I don’t think I could do all over again – not after having access to some of the best heating and air conditioning equipment money can buy!

HVAC service

How does HVAC work?

I’d be willing to wager that the average homeowner has no idea how their heating, ventilation and air conditioning system works. In fact, I’d be willing to go double or nothing on that wager, and say that the average homeowner doesn’t even know what kind of HVAC system is in place! See, I’ve been in the home remodeling business for several years now. While most potential homeowners always look at the shiny appliances in the kitchen, laundry room and bathroom, they often overlook the “invisible” appliances – things they’d never even think about unless someone brings it up during a tour, usually. I’ve had so many clients over the years that asked me to renovate their kitchen, when they really should be focused on the terrible indoor air quality of their home and what they can do to fix it! Like I said, most people just don’t think about that kind of stuff unless it’s incredibly hot, cold, stuffy or stinky in their home. There’s the occasional homeowner who does request a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, and I get so excited when I’m asked to network and find an HVAC contractor to install their new equipment! Besides, I’m fascinated by heating and air conditioning technology – you’d know that if you ever went to my house, as I have a state-of-the-art HVAC system controlled by a smart thermostat. That temperature control links to my phone, allowing me to control the temperature of my house – even when I’m miles away. Seriously, how can you not be excited about that kind of technology?

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Collecting radiators

Everyone likes to collect something, right? Some of us spend small fortunes every other month, and pick up a rare war artifact from decades past. Others are low-maintenance, and prefer to collect comic books, games and other like items. For me, I’ve always been a fan of collecting old appliances – especially the ones from the fifties or earlier! Those old-fashioned vending machines, jukeboxes and more have such incredible craftsmanship, which really makes me wonder what happened to the “soul” of industry. Maybe I’m just rambling on here, but a great example of this is the old cast-iron radiator I have installed in my home. While my friends have moved into the twenty-first century by installing radiant heated floors, steam boiler systems or even geothermal heat pumps to supply heat in their home, I’ve historically relied on the same old iron radiator in my living room as a heat source. Aside from this old machine still being able to crank out the heat on cold nights, this radiator also has my heart due to the intricate decorations, designs and engravings covering the entire radiator! You don’t see that kind of skilled work on any modern heating and air conditioning appliances. Instead, modern equipment looks so plain, robotic and, well… boring! Though I do admit, it’s certainly far more efficient when it comes to energy use, and these modern appliances are incredibly easy to use and customize to suit your needs. Maybe the best approach to keeping your house comfy is to use something borrowed and something new?

ac program

Art museum

The other weekend, my wife and I went to an art museum. I had to admit, the works of art were absolutely stunning. We would walk up to each piece of art and speak our thoughts about it. There were all types of art from painting to sculptures and other interesting masterpieces. I remember asking a worker at the museum about the climate control settings. I said it was extremely comfortable and they must have paid a fortune to keep the climate control settings just right. She went on to say how they did have a fancy HVAC system to preserve the art work. She was saying that the humidity levels had to be kept just right so the canvases would not become overly dry or too moist. She also said that they had a backup generator for power failures because the art could be ruined if the HVAC system didn’t continue to function and keep the air quality just right. I was impressed by that and especially impressed by all the magnificent art that we were able to see. I definitely wanted to come back to this nice art museum with my wife in the near future so we could revisit these wonderful pieces of art. It’s amazing to me how creative these people are. I know that I wouldn’t be able to create such brilliant pieces of art like that. I bet those paintings and sculptures would be worth a great deal of money sometime in the future. I was glad to hear that they cared a lot about keeping them properly preserved so they could last for a very long time.

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