When I was finally able to get a house with a pool I was thrilled. I have always loved swimming, and I am typically in the pool at least every other day, in the summer even more. Though the house was just a rental, the owner is a close friend of mine and made all the improvements I needed before I moved in. What I didn’t realize was the temperature of the water was way too cold. Even in the summer, there was a lot of shade making it difficult to warm up the water. I called up my friend and asked about heating the pool. Neither of us knew much about heating a pool, so he made an arrangement for an HVAC contractor to stop by for an estimate while we were both there. If it wasn’t too expensive, I would even offer to pay for some of it myself. What we found out from the HVAC professional was a system could be installed in the existing unit that would heat the water basically for free. I was really surprised to learn a simple connection which used the heat escaping from the existing HVAC unit could be then used to heat the pool. Of course, the connection wasn’t free, but the cost to heat the pool was. The heat recovery system was not expensive at all, and the installation pretty simple. I didn’t have to chip in for the cost after all, as my friend knew this would add value to his home. It was great to have warmer water in which to swim, no matter what time of year. I didn’t realize what a difference it would make, and ended up being in the pool every day for awhile.
Last year, our furnace finally died. It wasn’t a slow, painful one. Most furnaces will last 10 or more years, and ours made it 15. We definitely got our money’s worth and never had too many problems with it, but finally one day it just stopped working. When I started looking for a new one, I had no idea all the versions were on the market nor how many extras were available. Just researching thermostats alone was overwhelming. I finally called an HVAC service close by and had them come out to give me some help. Once I had a professional’s assistance, the task was much easier. SInce we had to work on a budget, the HVAC contractor was able to suggest the best furnace for our home and the accessories we could afford. In addition, we had to choose the right sized unit based on the square footage of our home. I had also researched the HVAC company and found they had great reviews and certifications in the industry. I was very impressed with how modern and efficient the newest furnaces are, some even having three “stages” of power. Our old furnace had only one setting, which was “on”. Now, a furnace can be set to slowly power up or down, saving a lot of energy. The unit even does it automatically based on how a homeowner prefers their comfort. I was very excited once the new furnace was installed after doing all the research. Indeed, the new unit is quiet, energy efficient and should easily last us the next 15 years. We spent a little more money on the thermostat, getting the newest “smart” version, which allows me to set the temperature with my phone. Amazing.
I am definitely a perfectionist, and I came by it honestly. My mom was just the same, and I remember her constant dusting, cleaning and scrubbing the house. She would even vacuum the closet after every time she changed clothes to go out. Though I don’t think my neurosis is quite to her level, I do remember agreeing with her when she decided to enclose the water heater in the garage. That big ugly white thing was quite an eyesore in the sparkling garage where she would even wax the floors every month. She got plywood, paint and hardware and built an enclosure that would rival anything Home Depot would sell today. She even caulked the edges and used some cut outs from leftover wallpaper to pretty it up a bit. It was a sight to behold. However, when the HVAC service arrived a few months later to clean the furnace and update a few things, she was severely scolded for her masterpiece. Since our water heater was gas, there is the constant danger of carbon monoxide leaking into the breathable air in the house. Therefore, the water heater needs a lot of space and adequate ventilation. Apparently, enclosing it is the last thing you should do. All of her hard work was ripped down immediately, and everything was checked and rechecked to make sure all was up to code. I could tell she was shocked and couldn’t believe she may have put her own family in danger just for appearance sake. She never again complained about any appliance being unsightly. I know, however, if it were possible for her to build a covering for the outdoor HVAC unit, she’d have made it a piece of art.