Finally upgrading from a portable air conditioner to a central cooling system

     For quite a few years, I managed my summer comfort with a bunch of box fans and a portable air conditioner installed in my bedroom window.  Ever spring, I needed to carry the portable air conditioner down from the attic. Since the attic stairs are extremely narrow and steep, and the air conditioner is rather bulky and heavy, this was a challenge.  I usually ended up placing the air conditioner on a towel, sliding it across the floor, and trying to gently ease it down the stairs. Lifting it into the window usually resulted in me pulling a muscle in my back.

              Once the air conditioner was in place, it worked fairly well at keeping my bedroom nice and cool.  However, I never liked giving up the view from the window, and because the window needed to be wide open, I worried about security risks.  Two years ago, while trying to haul the air conditioner down the stairs, I lost control if it and the thing smashed into a million pieces. Instead of buying another portable air conditioner, I decided to spend way more money on central cooling.  Since I already had a forced air furnace in place, the heating and cooling units are able to share certain components. This helped with the cost and mess of installation.

              Now that the central air conditioner is installed, I’m not sure how I ever managed without it.  I absolutely love adjusting the thermostat to the ideal temperature on a hot and humid summer day.  My whole house remains refreshing and comfortable. None of the rooms are overheated or unusable, and I certainly sleep better at night.  

window a/c

Using HVAC, humidifier and dehumidifier to combat severe allergy symptoms year round


I suffer from extremely severe allergy symptoms.  At all times of the year, there is something in the air that makes me sneeze, cough, and come down with a headache.  In the spring, there’s tons of pollen flying around, and in the summer, there’s freshly mowed grass. During the fall, the damp weather leads to mold spores, and in the winter, the inside of my house becomes excessively dry.

             I spend most of my time in the house, hiding from outdoor pollutants.  I do everything I can to make sure my house is as clean and healthy as possible.  Indoor air quality is a priority, and I’ve invested heavily in my HVAC system. There is simply no way I can have the windows open in the summer and welcome in a bunch of bugs, dust, pollen and exhaust fumes.  I rely on a central cooling system to circulate and filter the air, as well as maintain a comfortable temperature. Unfortunately, the air conditioner isn’t sufficient to handle the high relative humidity level.  The air tends to feel hot and sticky, and it promotes the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria.

            I have installed a whole-home dehumidifier to regulate the moisture levels during the cooling season.  In the winter, because of severe weather, I need to run the furnace nonstop for months at a time. The heating system sucks moisture out of the air and leaves it far too dry.  I have added a whole-home humidifier to introduce necessary moisture back into the air to promote superior warmth and comfort. While all of these measures are fairly expensive, they have helped to lower my monthly energy costs and combat my allergy symptoms.

air quality

Home Inspectors love finding problems

My boyfriend is getting ready to sell his house. He only had it listed for a day but the first showing was his last. The first couple he showed the house to immediately put it under contract. He was thrilled! The potential buyers set up a home inspection for the following week. The inspector came thirty minutes before the appointment time. He began with the outside. Of course he found some roof damage. We were not really surprised since our area was pummeled by two major hurricanes in the last two years. We figured there was some cosmetic damage to the roof but we were not seeing any affects inside the house. Once the inspector was inside, he found some water damage in the garage but it was minor. He also found a foundation crack in the master bedroom closet. That is a bit nit-picky. Nobody would ever notice that minor crack! First of all, it was under the carpet. Second of all, it was in the back corner of the closet. The inspector also found a pretty major issue with the water heater. It is over 15 years old. There is some rust on the bottom and the valve knob is completely rusted through. We have not noticed any issues with the temperature of the hot water or the length of time it takes to run out, but the heater does look like it is nearing expiration. He also found a problem with the HVAC system. He had one of those laser thermometers. It showed that the temperature on the thermostat and the actual temperature of the room were off by a good five degrees! That can mean the difference between a sweaty day and a cold day inside, depending on the time of year.  It looks like we have some work to do before the closing.

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Hum, Crash, silence?

My husband was sitting in the living room the other day watching one of these programs but all the sudden there was a strange sound. It’s the middle of July so we had the house buttoned-up and the air conditioner running but all of a sudden there was a loud humming noise coming from the vents. There was always a soft sound that came as the cool dare enter the room but this was more of a vibration home and he became concerned about the HVAC system. We could just had it serviced not too long ago at the beginning of summer so he couldn’t imagine what might be going on.  As he was getting up to investigate there was a loud crash they came from the direction all the unit inside. Apparently our son had piled a bunch of boxes next to the unit and they had fallen on top of it because they were stacked too high. The boxes contained all of this college books and some other heavy items and it had dented the top of the unit and damaged some of the wiring in the back. So the home must have been the battle of the boxes against the unit and the crash was them falling on it. Unfortunately the sound that followed after that was complete silence because the exterior of the unit was no damage and because the wires had been also the system shut off. My husband was Furious because we now had to pay an HVAC company to come out and repair being unit before we could use it again. Seeing as it was the middle of July companies for very busy with maintenance and we had to wait two days to get it fixed.

air conditioner repair

Choosing a ductless heat pump for workspace in the garage

I like to refinish antique wooden furniture.  I shop garage sales, antique stores and flea markets, looking for hardwood furniture that needs some work.  Many times, these pieces are beautifully crafted and made of gorgeous wood, but are hidden beneath multiple layers of ugly paint.  I devote a great deal of time to stripping the paint, sanding and varnishing, in order to restore the furniture to its original appearance.  Because of the fumes from the paint stripper, I need plenty of ventilation while I’m working. The sanding then creates a tremendous amount of dust which causes issues with air quality.  When it’s time to varnish, I need the workspace to be totally clean and maintained at the ideal temperature. The varnish also causes severe smells and requires sufficient ventilation. I live in an area with hot and humid summer seasons and freezing cold winter months.  There is rarely a time when I can work on my projects outside. I have created a workspace in my garage, which allows me to open the bay doors during moderate weather. However, to handle temperature control during the majority of the year, I had to find a compact, inexpensive method of heating and cooling.  After quite a bit of research, I decided on a ductless heat pump. There is a small, lightweight indoor air handler mounted on the wall which links to an outdoor compressor. The system takes up very little space, operates quietly, and was installed without any huge teardown or mess. It switches between heating and cooling with the touch of a button, and lets me program operation through my smartphone.  I can start up the heat pump a half an hour before I head to the garage and know that my workspace will be the perfect temperature. Since it is wonderfully energy efficient, the heat pump doesn’t cost much to run. Plus, it provides effective filtration to combat the dust and fumes and maintain a cleaner and healthier work environment.

ductless mini split

Using a ductless heat pump to maintain temperature in a garden shed

I have always had an interest in plants and growing things.  When my husband and I bought our house, I desperately wanted a gardening shed where I could start seeds in the spring.  I was hoping to put in a large vegetable garden and extensive flower gardens around the house. I also needed a spot to store and organize all my gardening tools, pots, potting soil and fertilizer.  I imagined a tiny little shed, and worried about the unpredictable weather in the spring. It’s not all that unusual for the outside temperature to drop below freezing at that time of year. Even inside a building, it could potentially become cold enough to kill tender seedlings.  My husband, Matthew built me a garden shed that was way better than I had imagined. He not only designed a very large structure, he added big windows, ventilation, and ran electric. With the electric, I was able to have overhead lights, heating and cooling. The temperature control is extremely helpful.  It takes very little heat to maintain an adequate temperature inside the shed. Plus the heating unit is very energy efficient, and costs little to operate. The system is actually a ductless heat pump, which is super lightweight, compact and powerful. The heat pump was simple to install, wasn’t terribly expensive, and has proved exceptionally reliable.  It switches easily between heating and cooling mode and can raise or lower the temperature in a matter of minutes. When it’s super hot and humid outside, I keep the shed nice and cool, so I have pleasant working conditions.

heat pump

Success in the details

Opening a business in the middle of the woods is always a gamble. The first question you have to ask yourself is where will your customers be coming from? Will they have to strictly make the drive to come out to your location or are there other things that will attract curious walk-ins or impulse consumers? In my case, I was building my restaurant along a relatively busy country highway, so we naturally get a decent lunch and dinner crowd, as they really have no other choices. This puts us at a serious automatic advantage but we still pride ourselves in good food, friendly service, and a comfortable atmosphere. Some people actually make the drive just to eat here! Other things like our HVAC system are cream of the crop as well. We think that this attention to detail, down to the heating and cooling system is extremely important. After all, there are many factors, including the indoor air quality that keep customers happy and coming back regularly. When we picked out the climate control system that we have currently, the supplier was actually surprised at how important the HVAC system was to our total vision. He said that the unfortunate reality was that typically the heating and cooling system was something that new businesses commonly skimped on. For us though a good air conditioner and a quality furnace to match it meant that our customers would be happy. The climate control system was actually commended in a review we got from a local paper. The air quality was so good that the reviewer said it made the good food taste even better.

Micro tech

With the progress of technology bringing new gadgets and appliances into our life on the daily, everything seems to be getting gradually smaller. This makes perfect sense of course since there are always more things we are trying to carry in our pockets. I predict that pretty soon everything will be tiny. Naturally this will result in people losing their things more often and correspondingly we will be finding more and more free stuff on the ground too. For me, I am in the motorcycle attire and accessory business, so this general technological gravitation toward the super small has interesting implications and opportunities for my line of work too. Particularly, we are excited about the idea of a micro HVAC system. How would we use this to our advantage? Easy; motorcycle helmets and jackets with climate control! No matter if you are riding your bike in the North or South, there’s always a need for heating and cooling. Perhaps suggesting it is a necessity is excessive, but I think that a little air conditioner nestled inside your helmet might be really nice on a hot day. Likewise, if a micro furnace could be sewn into a riding jacket, winter rides would be a piece of cake. I think that HVAC technology could even improve roadway safety. If you think about it, if somebody has heating and cooling built into their driving or riding attire, they will be more comfortable and relaxed. Climate controlled clothing is simply the most promising prospect for the future of my industry. The HVAC industry itself will even benefit if we go about it the right way.

HVAC technology

The air conditioner during our date

There is a guy at task who I’ve diligently been flirting with for the last six months, easily.  His name is Scott, plus he’s super cute and totally my type. He’s also honestly nice, plus fun to talk to.  Every one of us get together and consistently chat when all of us meet up in the breakroom for coffee each morning, plus sometimes he will stop in to see me in our office throughout the day as well.  I was honestly hoping he would ask me out on a date soon, so when he finally asked me to dinner, I was ecstatic that my dream came true plus wanted it to go well. I went out plus bought a new outfit for the occasion, plus I had our hair plus nails done.  I wore a fitted long sleeve green dress with a sexy pair of heels on my feet, plus felt especially good about myself. I figured that although it was quite warm outside that day so the air conditioning system would be running in the steakhouse. Obviously I didn’t want to spend the whole meal shivering and feeling distracted from the conversation.  Instead, the air conditioning system had malfunctioned earlier that day plus wasn’t running at all. The steakhouse was terribly overheated inside the restaurant plus sticky. I would have paid a fortune for a single honestly working air conditioning system. Instead, I started covered in sweat before all of us even got waters on the table. I ended up wiping the perspiration from our face with our napkins and even the table cloth.   I definitely had pit stains forming all meal long, plus I was sad that I smelled bad. I totally blame the broken air conditioning system for likely ruining our first date with Scott. Fortunately, it turned out that he was as sweaty plus embarrassed as I was. Every one of us then agreed to go out again, plus make sure the steakhouse is air conditioned.

cooling repair

Want to work as a HVAC supplier

My entire family is involved in the trade and service industry, plus most all the people that I associate with are specialized in some aspect of construction or home repair.  My Mom is a general contractor in town who focuses on homebuilding plus renovation. I have multiple distant Uncles who own plus operate their own plumbing and ventilation business, plus they supply everything to local businesses from powder room installation to water oil furnace repairs.  Another of my weird Uncles installs swimming pools, plus he honestly creates some incredible designs, enough to be on TV. One of the our brothers is an electrician, plus if you really want to know, another has followed our father into the contracting business. I, on the other hand, have somehow ended up in the Heating plus A/C industry myself, plus I own our own heating plus cooling business.  A few years ago I took the necessary classes to gain our NATE-certification, plus after that I regularly continue our education to remain updated and knowledgeable with evolving technology in the field. Because I service an space with unquestionably severe year round weather, of course I am consistently tied up with new installation, retrofitting projects plus repairs on emergency terms. I remain on call 24/7, even over the holidays, plus am often called for emergency Heating plus A/C service in the very middle of the night or during the biggest family holidays.  Although I consistently recommend that everyone gets preventative service to our buyers, I also have to say that almost all the people tend to wait for their oil furnace or air conditioning system to entirely fail before calling for assistance. That means I have to go running out there to save their butts all the time. It’s a rough trade.

HVAC industry