My friends and I are taking a road trip west this fall in hopes to see a few cool cities at once. I am unsure if I am more excited for all of the delicious food that I will be eating, or the people watching that I will encounter. There are going to be four of us, so hopefully it will make the overall trip less expensive so we are able to enjoy ourselves further. My friend who offered to drive her vehicle has a Volkswagon Jetta wagon. So, we should have plenty of room for everyone and everything, including a dog. We brought a tent in hopes of being able to camp to cut costs even further. However since we will be driving through warmer regions, it might be too uncomfortable to not have any air conditioning. We then agreed that it will be best to stay in cheap motels that are clean enough to our standards. While cleanliness is incredibly important to me, having a properly working air conditioning unit is at the top of my list. I hate whenever you walk into a seemingly nice hotel room and the air is stale and smells of mildew. However, on the other hand it is quite unfortunate to walk into a room where the air instantly freezes you. I suppose having an overworking air conditioning unit is better than having one that does not have proper air flow. I will have to make sure to ask the person at the front desk when the last time they have had a HVAC technician come take a look at the air conditioning filters and unit. Other than worrying about having air conditioning throughout the trip, I am very excited!
I often wonder how people live happily without air conditioning. I don’t think I could. I’ve always been a person of extremes. I love to do things in the extreme heat and then relax in the extreme cold, like the extreme cold produced by air conditioners. I know an older man who has never had the opportunity to enjoy air conditioning in his home. He claims air conditioning is a waste of money. He lives quite happily and comfortably without it. As for me, I got cranky when I am hot. But this man didn’t seem to mind the heat. So the last time I visited him, I paid a bit more attention. I realized that although his house was a trifle warm, it was much cooler than the triple digit temperatures outside. His hallway was in the middle of the house and plenty of windows and doors offered cross ventilation when opened at night to a cool breeze. On the afternoon that I visited, his blinds were closed and curtains pulled to keep the cool from the night inside and the heat of the day outside. His house and yard were covered by a canopy of leaves, and contained an obviously well used barbecue grill and smoker. All the trees and shade kept the yard and house cooler and he obviously did a lot of cooking outside. That’s all fine and well for somebody who is used to the heat, but I’ll take a well running air conditioner any day. And after my visit, as soon as I got back into my car, that’s exactly what I did.
On the very first day of fall last year, we suddenly had a drop in the temperature and I needed to turn on the heat. It’s usually not cold so early in the season, so I hadn’t had the HVAC serviced yet. Only minutes after turning it on, I could smell something was wrong. There’s a strange type of burning smell that can be emitted from the vents if there is dirt and debris collected in the system. I knew immediately that I needed to have the system serviced and placed a call the next morning. When the tech arrived, I told him about the smell and he nodded saying he heard the same complaint from most of his customers that day. And indeed, it turned out I had some clogged filters, the ductwork needed cleaning and there was even a small hole that needed resealing. He promptly took care of all the work. He also advised me that the smell I noticed can be dangerous. He suggested if it happened again to shutdown the system immediately just to be safe. Apparently, if there is enough dirt and debris that gets heated to just the right temperature, it can cause major damage, or in the worst case, a fire could be the result. I was grateful that nothing like this had happened, and that my tech set my next service appointment so my unit would be in good shape for the next season. When I used the heat again the following week, there was no weird smell, and I could tell the system was working much more efficiently. The heat came through the vents much stronger and cleaner.
I went over to my friend’s house yesterday but did not stay very long because it was hot. I did not want to be rude and ask why their house was so unbearably hot, but luckily did not have to even ask and risk being rude. As soon as I arrived, my friend apologized profusely for the house being so hot and told me that their air conditioner was frozen. I had never actually seen a frozen air conditioner before, especially not in the hot climate where we lived, but she showed me the unit and it really was frozen. We made some lunch together and decided to eat outside. My friend and her family often entertain people, so they have a big table outside with an umbrella that offers plenty of shade. Even in the middle of summer, it was much cooler under that umbrella outside than it was inside their house. As we ate our lunch, my friend explained that her parents had been so busy recently that they forgot to schedule their regular HVAC maintenance appointment. The result of their inattention was a frozen air conditioner, which made everyone in the house miserable. My friend said that an HVAC technician was coming soon to fix it. Just as we finished lunch, the HVAC technician arrived. I stuck around out of sheer curiosity to see what was wrong. He managed to locate the problem quickly and fixed it just as fast. He said everything in the air conditioner affects how it runs. In this case, the air conditioner was low on refrigerant and that made the coils too cold, ultimately freezing the air conditioner. I was surprised, but happy to learn something new and glad their air conditioner was fixed.
I have decided to really get in shape this summer. I graduated college and I am only working part time right now for an online company. Needless to say, I have a lot of free time on my hands. I decided to do something productive with my free time. I am going to get in the best shape of my life. I have been adding to my workouts every week. I focus on a new area of my body to tone and get added muscles. Right now my legs look like they could crack walnuts. My arms are showing definition too. It is time to work on the ab muscles. I did not realize how difficult this was going to be. My leg and arm exercises have me standing up. The air conditioner is running and the cool air hits me in the face. The cooling system feels great and I can work out forever. Now that I am at the floor level, I am not in a temperature control environment. My floor feels about 100 degrees and I am a sweaty mess. I am worried my sweat will make the carpets smell. How do I get the cold air at the floor level? Do I have a HVAC technician lower my ductless mini split unit? He could lower the indoor air handler to the floor level. I am worried that when I am standing I will be too hot too. Basically it is like working out with heated floors it is so hot. I am not willing to give up on my abs because of the temperature inside though.
When I was living in the South, we didn’t use our heater too often, but when we did we really needed it. A few years ago on our first cold day of winter, I turned the heater on and it did not work. We, of course, were having company overnight that week, so we really needed the HVAC unit to work. We looked at everything and could not figure out what was wrong with it. It would try to work, but the house was not getting warm and the outside temperatures were just getting colder. I finally called the HVAC service number on our HVAC unit in the garage. They, thankfully, came out the same day. They could not figure out what the problem was. The technician looked at everything. He looked at the thermostat, the outside parts of the HVAC unit, and the HVAC equipment inside the house. He found nothing. They could not get another technician out that day. So, with no heater, we had a cold, cold night. The next morning, bright and early, the second HVAC repairman arrived. He finally found some kind of electrical problem in the HVAC Unit. The HVAC technician worked and worked, rewiring things. Finally, he came and said, “I am turning the heat on now!” So… We waited, hoping to feel the glorious warmth and heat again. Then, it happened, the heater came on and heat permeated the house. The HVAC Unit was fixed. The technician had repaired it. I had never wanted to hug a repairman more than I wanted to hug the heater repairman. I was tired of being cold and now the house was heating up again.
The moon stretched out overhead beneath a light blanket of cloud cover. Gillian and I were as exhausted as we were overheated: the air conditioning in Gillian’s worn-down station wagon had finally died and we had been sweltering in the steadily heating furnace of the vehicle for six hours already— and we still had at least a hundred miles to drive. By the time eleven PM rolled around, we were ready for some functional HVAC, a real bed, and maybe a cold beer before facing the endless drive ahead. The arid desert breeze skimmed a hot breath over our skin as we stepped out of the car. The motel looked about as run down as we felt. We prayed for HVAC as we trod sluggishly through the door. A degenerate clunking reached our ears as the hot breeze turned to equally hot stale air. The sweat pouring down the face of the guy at the check in counter belied the clearly dysfunctional heating and cooling unit coughing in the back of the room. Gillian turned to me. “Oh, no.” That was all she really had to say, but I couldn’t stand the thought of any more time spent sweltering in that car. I exchanged one look with her and then marched up to the guy at the counter.“Can we pay to fix your air conditioner and get a free room if it’s done tonight?”He looked up from his magazine, hopeful and pathetic. And sweaty. “And maybe a beer? Sounds like you need an expert HVAC technician.”“I’ve been calling our usual HVAC business but it looks like they’ve relocated,” he mentioned slowly. “If I get an HVAC repair guy out here in the next fifteen minutes,” I said, “Can we have a free place to sleep and beer?”He looked at me as though miracles were real and nodded. I guess desperate times (without air conditioning, especially) really do call for desperate measures.
In the town where I live, people are always ready for the next season. In winter, we are ready for warmer weather again; in the summer, we can’t wait for Jack Frost. I don’t know if we are fickle or just optimistic about the future and are awaiting the great season that is sure to come. I am no different, and in fact, I have two favorite seasons. They are spring and fall. Especially fall. I love the golds, oranges, and reds of autumn. I love the candles and the pumpkins and spice cake. I also love autumn because I know that winter is just around the corner. Fall offers me the chance to prepare for the cold by digging out soup recipes, buying Christmas presents, and unpacking sweaters. And I never forget to schedule a pre-winter checkup with my HVAC provider.When I bought my first home years ago, was my mom gave me advice about sheet thread count and colors. My dad, though, was more practical. He made me get the air conditioning system inspected before I bought and insisted I get the HVAC system serviced regularly. The in-between seasons, fall and spring, were the best times to call in the heating and cooling specialists, he told me. When I wanted to spend my money girly trends, he stayed on my case about servicing the heating and cooling. I remember the yearly visits of our heating guy when I was growing up, and I also remember never freezing on winter mornings. Dad isn’t here anymore, but I think of him all the time and remember his practical nature that taught me, “Especially in the fall, take time to prepare for winter.” Every year I schedule that HVAC maintenance in autumn and each year I have a cozy winter. I guess I will pass on the importance of proper heating system maintenance to my kids when they buy their first homes, too.