The hottest day of the year for my tech

I get very confused when people tell me that summer is their favorite season.

I mean, I understand that when you are a child it signifies a long vacation from school.

Perhaps the escape from societal oppression early in life is the thing that sticks with us and skews our perception of summer time for the rest of our existences. That’s the only way that I can understand anybody preferring the hot and humid air that comes with every summer time. If you ask me, the warm season is one of the worst times of the year. You are continually running a strong, powerful indoor air quality control device just to exist. It gets very expensive to rely on your central cooling system every single day and oftentimes you find that your air conditioning device can’t properly manage your indoor air quality anyways. Then, you have all sorts of issues to deal with when your air conditioning unit breaks down or your house is too hot. Recently I had this exact event take place on one of the hottest days of the summer. At least, I thought it was one of the hottest days of the summer… I can’t imagine how our poor heating, cooling, and air quality control technician felt. When the indoor air quality suddenly started getting way too warm I called our heating and cooling repair company. They sent out an HVAC technician right away. Unfortunately, our AC device is located in the direct sun and it was at least a hundred degrees that day. I washed the HVAC tech sweat through his shirt as he worked on our AC. By the end of the appointment, I bet he didn’t like summer time anymore.

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I haul away the parts

When I was younger my family put a lot of pressure on me to figure out what I was going to do for a career. Honestly, I was never extremely interested in pinpointing a specific job that I would hold for the rest of my life. I figured that I would be able to bounce from position to position, making enough money to survive until the day that I perished. I honestly just didn’t care that much about finding a full-time career to dedicate myself to. I guess that’s why I didn’t become a professional heating, cooling, and air quality control technician like most of the guys that I work with. You see, I work in collaboration with several local indoor air quality control dealerships and heating, cooling, on air quality control repair shop. There are a lot of indoor air quality specialists in this area because our climate is so extreme. We have such hot and cold temperature shift throughout the year that it’s very important to have a well-managed central heating, cooling, and air quality control plan in your house. As such, I realized that there was money to be made with the indoor air quality control industry. Not as a heating and cooling technician… But as a hauler. Whenever a family gets rid of their heating, cooling, and air quality control devices they have to be scrapped. All of the metal and chemicals need to be properly disposed of from the old indoor air temperature control devices. This is where I come in. The HVAC technicians remove the old heating and cooling systems, install the new air quality control devices, and I remove the old junk. I have made quite a career for myself… And I never had to go to HVAC School.

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Mid winter HVAC scare could have been avoided

I live a life that has near instant karma.

This is both a good thing and a bad thing.

It’s good that I don’t have a bunch of accountability hanging over my head for dumb or poor choices. But man, I make a mistake or something and I get the swift reaction. Like this past fall, I kept meaning to call for the HVAC maintenance. Normally, I like to have the HVAC technician come out and do the heating maintenance in October. Turned out that this fall was particularly intense and I let the HVAC service slip through the cracks. And when I did finally remember again after Thanksgiving, I rationalized that we could take a year without HVAC maintenance on the gas furnace. Well, hello karma once again. I was sound asleep during one of the coldest nights of the year. It was just after midnight when I was awakened by a terrible thud in the basement. I knew, probably instinctively, that it was the gas furnace. By the time I got to the basement, I found the furnace shut down and hissing almost because it was so hot. Like I said, it was bitter, bitter cold and no space heater was going to keep the house warm. I had no choice but to call for emergency HVAC service. The HVAC repairman on call was really great actually. He had a super attitude for someone who had been called out on such a wickedly cold night. Turns out, the problem with the furnace would have been caught with normal HVAC maintenance. But it ended up costing me hundreds of dollars that night. This is what I mean by instant karma.

Air conditioning filter

New apartment has excellent HVAC

When I lived in apartments, and I lived in a lot of them, one of my biggest problems was the HVAC. The HVAC equipment was rarely sized for the air volume of where I was living. So the heating and cooling capacity was already overwhelmed. And on top of that, I can’t remember one place where I rented that had any sort of consistent HVAC maintenance. Plus, whenever there was a real problem with the heating and cooling, which was often, there was never an HVAC professional addressing it. There was always the handyman who came along, tinkered around to get some heating and cooling then left. So when I helped my dad turn his basement into an apartment, I told him to make the HVAC unit a priority. Dad and mom are retired and they could certainly use some wiggle room on their finances. While they have all the equity in their home they chose not to tap that quite yet. Instead, they are sitting on a gold mine of a space. Hence the finishing off the basement into a very nice two bedroom apartment. It has its own entrance and now has state of the art HVAC technology. Dad had the HVAC company come out to install a great ductless heat pump. This thing produces the best temperature in the new apartment. I wasn’t sure that just one would do it but I was so wrong. The new apartment has the most even and inviting heating and cooling. It’s far, far better than any apartment HVAC I ever experienced. And Dad will for sure have the HVAC technician out for proper HVAC service.


Getting good heating and cooling during our vacations

There are little signs in our lives that we are inching our way back to normal after the last year and dealing with Covid.

Unlike many that I see, I simply couldn’t ignore the threat from the virus and the pandemic.

Both my age and health put me at a high risk for severe infection. So, it was inside the heating and cooling comfort of my home for the year. And unless I left the HVAC for a walk or to go to the grocery store, I was inside the air conditioning. But it turned out to have been worth it as I didn’t get infected and I’m now fully vaccinated. That was such a relief. My wife and I are now sort of incrementally doing some of the things we haven’t done in over a year. For one, we went to a restaurant. I never thought I would enjoy a meal inside an air conditioned restaurant as much as I did. Yet one of our true loves is back on the docket for us. We are traveling again. This is something that we wanted to focus on during our retirement. So the year off spent inside with the heating and cooling equipment running has really gotten us excited about vacations and travel. But we are foregoing air travel for the zone controlled HVAC of our car. And we have found that our best bet when it comes to heating and cooling comfort on the road is rather straight forward. We simply look for the mid tier hotels which have the HVAC units that poke through the wall to the outside.


Additional tips for adding to summer HVAC savings

I think most of us who live in this region fully understand the most fundamental strategies out there for mitigating the high cost of HVAC cooling in the summer. If you live around here, HVAC cooling during the summer months are for sure the most expensive of the year. Our winter is thankfully quite mild. The heating costs are a mere shadow of what we pay for air conditioning. So it’s not a surprise to anybody that making sure the thermostat is reasonably set and keeping the house tight are very important. Those two actions are the foundation for anyone attempting to significantly cut the cost of the air conditioning during the summer. That said, there are plenty of other cost cutting strategies when it comes to dealing with HVAC cooling. For one, make sure the drapes are pulled to negate the effect of direct sunlight heating. Then there are fans. Fans use less than one tenth the amount of energy that the air conditioning uses. And they really work to trick the skin into feeling cooler. Cooking outdoors is yet another costs saving trick. Don’t add to the heat inside the house by using the stove or the oven when at all possible. Cooking on the grill and then preparing cold sides are the way to go in the summer. Also, replace the old bulbs with modern light bulbs. The difference in heat emitted is staggering. And maybe hang out the wash instead of using a dryer during the day. Again, why add to the heat and use that electricity when you don’t have to. Being creative with cost saving measures really adds up.

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Tightening up my HVAC habits

There is no reason to spend good money on bad habits.

I don’t know if that makes sense but I know I’m sort of tired of doing that very thing in my life.

For example, I’m really sick of spending the money I do on heating and cooling costs. For one, I don’t spend my entire day at home. Yet, I’m paying for heating and cooling my home while it’s empty. That is an example of the bad habits that I am talking about. But that’s not where it stops. The over heating and over cooling of my home when it’s empty is really just the beginning of some bad habits. Another bad HVAC habit of mine is not doing the simple little things for my HVAC equipment. Like I’m not at all consistent when it comes to changing the HVAC air filter in my house. I do my best but there are often entire months where I simply don’t remember. Or if I do remember to change the HVAC air filter, I feel like I don’t have time and hope to get to it later. Not a good way to treat the HVAC equipment. And then there is the HVAC maintenance. At least that’s a bad habit I finally did something about. I was so inconsistent with having the HVAC maintenance done each year. Luckily, the HVAC company took that off me when they offered an HVAC service plan. Now, they simply make the appointment for HVAC service and I confirm online. That works out a whole lot better. Now, I just need to get better about all the rest of it.


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Quality indoor air for better health

Now, I have the best indoor air quality possible

I honestly had no idea just how important and what an impact quality indoor air makes on a person’s health. Sure, I knew about air pollution and what a problem that has been and continues to be. But to me, bad air was outside. Good air was inside in the air conditioning. That’s just how my head worked when it came to the different types of air we breathe. So I was a bit shocked to find that poor indoor air quality is on the EPA’s list of worst health hazards that we face. Again, I thought that any air that went through the HVAC unit was in good shape but that was far from the case. Those HVAC air filters that I purchased over and over again were not helping my health at all. Instead, those paper air filter that are so cheap are only protecting the health of the HVAC unit. If you want air filters for the HVAC that actually promote good health, then you want HEPA air filters. And those are much more expensive than the cheap kind I had been buying. But once I learned that our overall and particularly our immune health could be significantly improved with good indoor air quality, I was in. It just made sense to spend money on something that is so good for us. So I called the HVAC company to inquire about getting a whole house air purification system. I’m so glad I made that call to the HVAC company. Now, I have the best indoor air quality possible. And the air is so breathable, smells great and is doing my respiratory system some good.


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Got through the summer with less air conditioning

I’ve always like and appreciated where I live.

My wife and I are lucky to have the sort of house that is a sanctuary and a haven.

That was particularly good when we spent nearly all our time inside that house during the pandemic. Both of us were stopped from going to work in our downtown offices. The company wanted us to work from home and didn’t open up those perfectly HVAC controlled offices until just a few short months ago. So we spent a hot summer inside the air conditioning at home instead of at the office. But we didn’t change our thermostat discipline because we were working from home. We maintained our normal thermostat programming which allowed the indoor temperature to rise to 80 degrees or just above during the heat of the day. This was easily the warmest work days my wife and I have ever experienced. However, there was an upside to less air conditioning. Since we weren’t in the office, we could work in shorts and t-shirts. Even when we had meetings online, we’d put on dress shirts but leave on our shorts and flip flops. We also used fans to help feel cooler when it was hot during the peak heating hours of the day. I was actually sort of surprised by how quickly we were able to acclimate to such a warmer working environment. But that worked out good for us as well. In the morning and the evening, my wife and I would get out of the air conditioning and go for walks. And living with a warmer house during the day helped us be much more comfortable with the outside temperatures.

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Learning about the heat pump the hard way

My wife and I are recent transplants to the land of the heat pump. Well, I suppose there are many other regions which rely on a heat pump to provide quality heating and air. But we live in a region where the heat pump is pretty exclusively used for the HVAC cooling process. While there is a bit of winter here, it simply doesn’t qualify as anything that we were accustomed to in our old region. We lived year in and year out with a gas furnace running night and day during the deep cold of the winter months. I don’t think even a heat pump would have been up to the job quite the way the gas furnace was. But thankfully, that is all behind us now and we enjoy the type of mild winter that brief periods of heating from the heat pump take care of. But it has taken some getting accustomed to having a heat pump. Our only air conditioning needed way up north was a few window air conditioners that I put in for the worst midday summer heat. And that wasn’t all that anyway. There just wasn’t that much call for air conditioning of any kind up there. So when we got down here, the HVAC cabinet on the outside of the house was not exactly recognizable to my wife. And she ended up using it as a bit of a shelf or table while gardening one day. She covered up the HVAC cabinet so much that it nearly choked out the heat pump due to air flow restriction. It wasn’t the best situation but at least we both learned that the HVAC cabinet outside has to be totally obstruction free.

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