Old fashioned heating system

Throughout highschool and into college I had a job that I loved to hate, and my co workers shared that same mindset and while we complained of our tyrannical employer we loved to hate on him too. We had a loud and very noisy a/c unit we blasted in the summer time, it was perfect, kept us chilly. Donna liked it colder than I and sometimes I would step outside to warm up before facing the arctic again. Winter time was where we self actualized as the small northern new england home grown business that we were. There were two heating units, a Defiant cast iron wood stove on either side of the store. We were a wood store, all products made on sight, so we had endless scraps of wood to fuel our manual heating system. When I first started John has been ordering wood for us to burn, which was luxurious. In recent years we have been reduced to purely scraps. We are literally scraping the bottom of the barrel for the biggest of the tiniest scraps of wood to heat up the stores. In these moments I wish we could depend more on a furnace or a boiler system, and just adjust the thermostat to make up for when we only have small bits of wood to work with. But John will not be splurging on courts of wood for us, nor would he agree to a larger monthly oil bill just to make life easier on us. It was best to arrive early and get a head start on the woodstoves, customers didn’t like walking into a cold store!

web link

In high demand

My husband works for the local HVAC business, he is an excellent technician and unfortunately what this means for him is he is in high demand. He left the house this morning in a grumpy mood. He had an appointment for early afternoon with a property manager at a housing development near the marsh, apparently apartment 226 has a broken fan blade on their outdoor unit. As he is waiting to meet with the property manager, he tells me he had that sinking feeling that it wasn’t going to be that easy. Housing developments like this one do well for their HVAC business, installations and routine maintenance are a reliable and profitable part of their business. But it was these solo outlier appointments that always turned into at least one or more visits. Sure enough, as he is being led into apartment 226 and gaining access, he is being told of apartment 328, there appears to be a disconnect between the thermostat reading and the HVAC unit, can he take a look while he is at the property? Of course he agrees to, that is just the kind of guy my husband is. He diagnoses 228 as being in need of a replacement fan, as he waits for the parts and his partner, he pops over to 328 hoping for a quick fix. He goes straight for the thermostat to rule that out, next stop is out back to take a look at the unit, the fan was spinning and all was operational there. Next stop was upstairs, here it was clear to see the unit was out of freon. He gripes about how obvious the problems are and how he wished others could see that, I said if that was the case, you would be out of a job!

heating and air

HVAC to keep tempers down

In moving down south I discovered something pretty important about myself: Pride will be my downfall. I always felt (and still do) living up north is not for the feint of heart. Heating a home and yourself is much more difficult and taxing on the body than cooling a home. So I was pretty stuck up about being a Yankee, chopping and stacking our own wood, the shoveling and scraping just to get to your car just to get to work and hopefully your car turns over.  Cars get very ornery in the winter. I felt that since the southern temperatures aren’t fatal to humans without a/c access as the cold up north is fatal to those without heat, northerners were inherently stronger. But after a few months down here, I am starting to see the error of my ways. Heat does kill, the psychologist in me knew this from day 1 of Intro to Psych, there is a positive correlation between heat and murders. As a teacher down here I can tell you how important functioning HVAC systems are for classrooms. Rising temperatures and rising tempers do not mix well, there has been a rash of arguments and physical altercations between our students and it is not a coincident we are right in the middle of a heat wave. Unfortunately the lunch room, being the largest area in the school, doesn’t cool down as much as the smaller classrooms and offices do and where most conflicts happen. We’ve upped the ante on lunchroom monitors and unfortunately, I’m on duty today. Living down here is not for the feint of heart.

thermostat settings

Adjusting the thermostat as I adjust to the south

I needed different, I mean 100% different, so I moved myself 400 miles outside of the edge of my comfort zone. Putting myself in a new climate and even new time zone. Mission accomplished in under two weeks. It’s been four months and it feels like I just got here, but I continue to struggle as I learn to adapt with the changes. I remember my uncle, who moved to Florida years ago, said with all the a/c in the south, you don’t actually feel the heat for very long at all. My wardrobe is the biggest challenge I face, how to dress for the heat, I purchased several new outfits to allow for the heat. However, I’ve noticed I keep going back to my cashmere sweaters, more frequently now than I did even during the hottest months of summer up north. I am figuring out the why only now, months later. It’s the rampant central air that has me colder on a daily basis during the summer, than I ever was during all the seasons back home! At work our boss sets the thermostat down real low, he likes it cold. Meanwhile, I am stepping outside to escape the a/c so thaw out. At home, I am wearing sweaters and even though about taking out that knitted wool one I bought in Maine last year. At home we never had a/c, I don’t even remember going into a house that had central air, only places like restaurants, school, grocery stores etc.. I decided it is silly to be more familiar with the heat up north than down here so I’ve taken setting the thermostat a little higher, if I need to a put a sweater on then I adjust the control unit up a degree.

HVAC tune up

Midwest winters

For years I’ve been living in the Midwest. I like it here because my family is all in the area, and I have a good job here. However, there is one thing that sometimes makes me want to move. I can’t stand the winters here. I have never been one for the cold weather, and I can’t stand shoveling snow. By October of each year, I am running my heater non-stop because I can never seem to get warm enough. A couple of years ago I had to deal with the major fiasco. My heater stopped working suddenly, and I did not know how to fix it myself. I called the HVAC company, but they were so backed up that they were not able to make it to my house for a week. So for seven days comma I had to suffer in a house without a proper heating system. By day four, I had made the decision to stay in a hotel until the appointment because I couldn’t take the cold anymore. I was so turned off by this event that I started looking at real estate in different areas. I hate being so dependent on a heater because there are bound to be times when it is not working at its full capacity. I have decided to see how this winter goes. If I still feel the same way by the end of it, I think I will seriously start to plan a move further south. There, it will be warmer and I can get by with only using my air conditioner.

heater tune up

HVAC maintenance advice

As a licensed HVAC technician, I try to give everyone good advice when working on their heating and cooling systems. I have been doing this job for a number of years, and I know that there are a number of steps people can take to make sure their system stay in good working shape. Each time I go out to a call after making a repair, I advise clients to schedule routine inspection so that I can find any small problems before they get worse. Doing this in the mild seasons is a good idea because it keeps the customer from having to live without a heater or air conditioner during the most extreme weather. I feel like some sort of mechanical dr. for heating and air conditioners. Most of the time, people do not take my advice. Instead, they wait until their heater or air conditioner is fully out of commission before they give me a call. When this happens, I often have to charge them much more than I would have for an inspection. This really drives me up the wall because I am not in this for the money. I am a people person, and I like fixing things. I wish people would put more attention into their household appliances because it definitely pays off in the long run. Trust me, I have been doing this for a long time. I know that HVAC systems require a pretty fair amount of attention to stay healthy. Perhaps I should talk to my company about sending out some sort of reminders to our customers. This would also save me a lot of work. I wouldn’t be going to so many emergency service calls.

air conditioner

Remodels and HVAC units

I am in the middle of remodeling my house, and I am trying to select modern appliances that will up the style and overall functionality of the home. It is an old house, so it is long overdue for some upgrades. One thing I am seriously considering is having radiant flooring installed. Radiant flooring works by heating the home through the wood floors of the home. This allows the heat to disperse evenly throughout all areas instead of simply blowing through a few air vents. This has proven to be more efficient for those who use it because they are not having to run their HVAC systems for long amounts of time. Radiant floors can get the job done faster and in a better way. Another feature I would like to have is zone controlled air conditioning. This allows the homeowner to adjust the temperature within individual rooms instead of heating or cooling the entire house at once. Again, this is a beneficial feature because it increases the efficiency of the heating and cooling system within a home. I think this would allow me and my husband to get along better. We are constantly arguing about how we should adjust the thermostat. With zone controlled climate control, he could set the living room to a cool setting, and I could work in my office without feeling too cold. I really think that we are going to enjoy these upgrades. It is going to require a pretty large upfront cost to get the heating and cooling system exactly how we want it, but the benefits will be worth it. We probably should have had them done years ago!

radiant flooring

Camping and A/C

My husband likes to take camping trips on a regular basis, but I don’t enjoy them. I have gone with him several times, and each time I find that I am extremely uncomfortable. I am used to spending my free time relaxing by the pool or watching movies in the air conditioning. He finds these activities boring, but the heat around here is too much for me to handle. If I could pack up an air conditioner and somehow put it in our tent, then maybe I would consider going along with my husband. I know that this isn’t practical. It’s obvious that we would need access to electricity and a truck to carry a portable a/c. Still, I think there are other ways to spend time outdoors. He even laughs anytime I suggest that we rent a cabin with an HVAC system. He would much rather stay in a tent. I know that he loves being in nature, but there are certain things that I am not willing to give up. A climate controlled area is not much to ask for in my opinion. I am adventurous in other ways. I love to travel and sightsee, but I would much prefer that we retire to a hotel in the evenings. I like knowing that no matter what we encounter during the day that we will be able to relax and adjust the thermostat however we would like in the evenings. The next time my husband asks me to go camping, I am going to suggest that we travel to a new city instead. Maybe he will come around to my idea of an adventure.

air conditioning

Cruises and Air Conditioning Woes

Let’s just start by saying, I am not a fan of cruises. I have never been a fan and after this last spring experience, I never will be. My husband just would not stop bugging me about going on a cruise, but I knew I likely got a little motion sickness and also really didn’t want to be stuck on a boat in the middle of nowhere for a week. I liked plane travel and going country exploring! For the sake of saving the marriage I finally compromised on a small island cruise in Greece. I got my sightseeing and didn’t have to be on a boat constantly and he got his cruise. Well, I figured not much could go wrong on a boat, well I was wrong. Sure enough, the second we boarded, I could feel my motion sickness kicking in. I went to the room to lie down right away and it was an inside cabin with no windows for fresh air. I was trapped with an Air Conditioned ice box and the processed air through the poor ventilations system was only making it worse! I tried fiddling with the thermostat box, but it was locked! What the heck, we are in private rooms, I couldn’t even have sat over my own room’s temperature? I called up to the front desk to turn off our air conditioning unit, but they said that wasn’t possible. I asked for an upgrade to a room with a window and that wasn’t available. I told my husband if he didn’t fix the HVAC unit right away I was camping out on the island and no more cruising for me!

AC maintenance

Duct Cleaning Importance

So, there are the basics home renting and ownership that I totally understand. It’s when you get into the little details, you lose me. I don’t have time for details. My life and job are one constant detail and the last thing I want is one more detail! That said, I tend to ignore things I may sense need attention, just because honestly, I don’t want to deal with it. There is a real danger to this line of action for something always gets lost in the process. My HVAC system crashed out and burned today. I mean, it took no prisoners! I didn’t have the first clue what the issue was and I knew I needed to call my local HVAC technician immediately before my house turned into an oven!  When he came out to the house he assessed all the air vents, the thermostat, and then checked out the air ducts as well. He looked at me with a stunned look and I knew something was up and I was in trouble. He asked if I had any maintenance done since I lived in the unit. No, being my answer he was floored, but trying to be kind. He said that my ductwork was completely clogged and congested and there was no air getting through hot or cold!  He asked if I had noticed, but I just assumed the temperatures I was experiencing were normal. He had to a total overhaul of the entire HVAC system and he made a plan with me to set up regular maintenance service checks. I learned my lesson that day.

ductwork cleaning