Winter and summer

Family is the most important thing to me. I would rather be spending time with my wife and children, then anything else. I’ve grown up my whole life close to my family. My brothers and sister and I are especially close, and we spend most of our holidays together.  When I bought my new house, I considered this thought. One of the spots that we love most in our new home, is the garage.  It’s of substantial size, and because of the attic and outdoor shed, we can use it as entertaining space.  The only problem is that the garage is not air conditioned or heated. We’ve tried different ways to regulate the temperature in the garage.  We’ve tried portable heaters in the wintertime, which work well, but still aren’t solving the summertime problems.  During the summer, we’ve tried hooking up several different fans, but they only manage to circulate the sticky, humid, stifling heat. The heat in the south is so oppressive that it knocks you over the minute you step out of the air conditioning.  The garage is the perfect space for large family get togethers as it joins the pool area, but in the heat of summer, it won’t work.  I think we will need to have an HVAC company come out and give us an estimate to install ventilation ducts that lead to the garage also. If we can control the air temperature in the garage with a thermostat, it should solve the heat and humidity problem.  Hopefully this will work well enough to have family functions in the garage, without raising the electric bill too much.

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Striving for a comfortable temperature

I don’t want to sound like a superhero, but I have lived through a hurricane. It was over 10 years ago but the memory is very clear.  We helped a few neighbors who had trees fall on their roofs, through windows, and on cars. Fortunately, we didn’t have anything like that at our house. The worst part of the ordeal was being powerless. Most of our city’s powerlines were down and more than 70% of the homes were without power. Once a big storm like a hurricane passes, there’s very little weather afterwards. It was hot and humid, without a breeze or a cloud in the sky for any relief. I still had to go to work, but my husband was able to take some days off to stay home with the kids as their school had no power either. Though I was able to get a break during the day in an air conditioned office, my routine after work was to find the smallest line for ice, then buy milk, water and something for dinner. My husband would take the children to a movie or bowling or to the mall during the day. Since so many places were closed, indoor activities were crowded and many had lines around the block to get in. After only a day or two, our pool was already turning green so a cool swim was not an option. After 7 days, we were so frustrated and hot we were snapping at each other because of our misery. Just when we were ready to give up and find a hotel, a parade of utility workers entered our subdivision. We and our neighbors lined the street and welcomed the heroes with cheers and hugs. I will never forget the relief when the lights and air conditioning kicked on, and how I knew I’d never take that cool air for granted again.

temperature control 

A heat pump taking damage

I have always prided myself on being a proactive person. I like to plan ahead and have a schedule and a routine. If an issue arises, I am known to be the first one to take steps to address it before it becomes a bigger or more serious problem. For instance, last winter was a really bad winter. The temperature dropped so low that one day when I was taking out the trash, I noticed on our heat pump had iced up, and the coil was covered in frost. I know that in certain climates it is expected that this might happen and that the unit can defrost the coils. That being said the unit was had was pretty old so I wanted to take the necessary precaution to make sure that it was fine before we got any deeper into the winter months. I knew that if it frosted and iced too badly it could cause irreparable damage to the coils and blades. I pulled out the manual and did some research online to try and understand what was happening. Fortunately, my unit had a defrost mode. After a few hours of the circumstances not changing, I had to call a heat pump technician to come and check out the unit. He was able to determine why the defrost mode was not working a fixed the situation before it had a really damaging impact on how our home was heated. I’m so glad I noticed it when I did.air duct

Getting my coffee to stay warm

I absolutely love coffee. I even have a timed coffee maker that has a cup ready for me when I get up in the morning. My coworkers and I also love taking coffee breaks together. With the start of the fall season I have noticed that I have been cuddling up more and more with my mug and some blankets. I even find myself brewing a cup of coffee to enjoy during the evenings, when the weather outside is brisk and chilly. Lately, however, I have been having some trouble sleeping through the night and feel a little more anxious in my day to day. I have a pretty strenuous job and was concerned that I might be overworking myself. That was when it clicked that I must be drinking too much coffee. When I thought through the majority of cups I drank, I realized I had coffee more after work than during the day. This made me realize that I was having coffee to keep myself warm at home. That day I called an HVAC repairman to come and check the furnace in my home. The technician was able to complete full maintenance on the furnace and alerted me that the filter was clogged which resulted in poor airflow. Since my thermostat reading was fine it did not click with me that the furnace was not producing enough heat. My home is now evenly heated and much more comfortable. The filters are new, and the furnace is working great and I no longer need to drink coffee while I’m at home to stay warm. Now I sleep better and don’t feel like my heart is always racing.

furnace

A fantastic and new thermostat

I think it is a really good idea to learn how to use modern technology. For kids, it is easy because they are born into a society that is already dependent on these devices. However, for people that are older and do not automatically have the familiarity of being around these devices, it is important to step out of your comfort zone every so often and learn something. I am not old by my standards, but I have a grown daughter who has a family of her own. She bought me a tablet for Christmas a year or two ago and I loved it. Even though I did not know hot use it at that time, I still loved it. Fast forward to the present day and I am proud to say that I am controlling my HVAC equipment with just the touch of my finger on the tablet. I went from not being able to swipe and unlock this device to tinkering with the digital settings on my smart thermostat. I am able to mess with my heating and cooling equipment through my tablet because I downloaded an app associated with my thermostat. This makes temperature control much easier, which is something you should not take for granted. Now I keep my home whatever temperature I prefer and it has really made me a much better host; I love HVAC technology! HVAC installation

Taking a big loss on the air conditioner

I like to save money any way I can. People make fun of the lady who uses a million coupons at the grocery store, but I am proud to be that woman. I promise you that I know exactly how much money I actually save by using these discounts and it is well worth my time. People often say the time it takes to sift through the coupons and cut them out is not worth the amount of cash actually saved. However, I am quite efficient with my time and usually do it while I watch the evening news or something like that anyway. Because saving money is a priority of mine, I jumped at the opportunity of having my uncle install the air conditioner in my house last summer. He said he could do it for free instead of me paying a substantial price for an experienced HVAC technician to do it. I thanked him for being so generous and allowed him to set it all up by himself. Now that I look back on that situation, I realize that was the wrong choice to make. Instead of saving money, I actually lost a bunch. I had to have the cooling equipment all sorted out by an HVAC tech anyways and it was all messed up from my uncle’s mistakes. If I ever have another issue with this darn air conditioner, I swear I am going to yell at my uncle even more. It felt so embarrassing to have the tech point out all the issues.

air conditioner repair service 

Having a good night at camp

My group of friends and I snuck out of camp one night to get ice cream with our favorite teacher. It was such a beautiful night out and we were all laughing and having great conversations. Our teacher was asking us questions and finally came across the question of what the most embarrassing thing to happen to us was. One of my friends shared about how she had some new food for dinner at a birthday party with the popular girls. On the trip home she had made a mess in the car after her body rejected whatever food it was. She said she ran into the house, and noticed it was very warm. The dog looked very irritable she said as she made her way to the bathroom. She threw her underwear into the trash can and eventually made her way into the living room. The dog, so irritable from the lack of air conditioning inside the house, ran into the bathroom and the dog ran out with her underwear rubbing it all over the living room rug. I was baffled when she was telling me this story. I usually leave my air conditioning on in my home to a very appropriate level for my dogs. I couldn’t help but laugh at my friends embarrassing story but I also kind of felt bad for the dog in the bad air conditioned home. It’s very important, especially when they had left the dog there for so long while my friend and the girls were out eating and doing birthday party things. That’s why you are required to leave the window down in cars for dogs. Not having air conditioning is detrimental.

heater

Conserving energy

My boyfriend and I just left for a quick trip back home. His best friend is turning thirty, and booked a cabin on the lake for all of his friends to stay and celebrate. We will be there from Saturday until Wednesday. It is an eleven hour trip by car, but we don’t mind driving. We are lucky enough to still live a day’s drive away, and it is always nice to see family and friends whenever we can. Before leaving the apartment, we made sure to unplug all of our appliances, like the coffee maker, the Internet router, and both televisions. We live in an area that is hot and humid for most of the year, so the central air conditioning is always running. We didn’t want to keep the air conditioner on while we were gone, because that would certainly make our electric bill higher than it needs to be. Because we aren’t used to air conditioning maintenance,  we called a local HVAC company for some quick advice on what to do when we are gone for long periods of time. The HVAC technician advised us to set the thermostat to 78 degrees. This way, the air conditioning would be running for shorter cycles at a lower capacity. Even better, when we return, it should not require an excessive amount of strain for the air conditioning to reach its usual temperature of 74. This will be the best way to conserve energy, as well as help prolong the life of the central air conditioning unit. Now, my boyfriend and I can take a vacation and visit with friends without worrying about coming home to excessive utility bills. Maybe we can use the money we will save to go out to a nice dinner when we get back!

climate control 

Running the generators

It takes a lot of energy and power to run the warehouse that I work at.  I have been there for years and so I have witnessed for myself the amount of energy that is generated to make sure that everything is running right. The building actually runs on three generators. If they go down or there is difficulty getting power out to the building then the associates are not able to do the work and that then affects company productivity and the ability to get our merchandise out to the customers. If we do not get the goods out to those that are going to buy them then it not only hurts us, but it hurts the customer as well. Our motto is centered on making the customer as happy as possible. Not too long ago a couple of the generators actually went out and we were only down to one. It on its own could not run the entire building and as a result we were not able to work and many people had to go home. I have to admit that it made some people happy. We have fans that cool the building and since there was no power then they could not operate and so it got hotter than it already was. The break room had power, though, and so there were some people that huddled in there because it was one of the few places that had air conditioning. Air conditioning is a beautiful thing and I am very grateful for it and especially for that night so that I and others could get cool when it was so hot. Our HVAC needs were met that night despite all the chaos.air vent

The winter weather and heating equipment

Ever wonder why people move south? Me too. I love winter time. I don’t know if it’s because I was born in the north east or because I have skin paler than milk, but I just love chilly afternoons during football season. One of the things I love the most about living in a colder climate is not having to run an air conditioner. As a frugal homeowner, I know that 50% of my entire electric bill goes towards heating or cooling my house, so I try to make sure that those numbers are as low as possible. The climate I live in is cold most of the year, so I do not really ever have to run the a/c and I can save money there. As far as heating the house goes, I employ a lot of methods to save some dollars. For one thing, I have all of the HVAC ducts in my house sealed and insulated. This prevents any heat loss through the non-conditioned attic spaces in the home. Another thing I do is to use the sun’s energy to heat my floors and walls with the greenhouse effect. With a properly sealed building envelope and interior drywall, insulated outlet covers, and nicely sealed doors and windows, it can be fairly easy to keep heat loss to a minimum. Finally, but also very important, I always make sure that my outside heat pump an a/c unit is in direct sunlight. In colder climates, it is more efficient to have the outside unit in direct sunlight so that it can more easily absorb the heat from the outside air and bring it inside your home.

HVAC repair