Preparing for travel

When I take vacations I always try to make sure that the rental home I use has modern appliances. I enjoy getting out of the city and being a bit closer to nature, but I still want to know that I’m going to have some of the comforts of my own home when I travel. So, before booking my home, I always call the property owner to make sure that the HVAC system not only works well but has been maintained over the past few months. Knowing that someone has change the air filters, clean the coils, and attended to any other problems that the cooling system may need gives me a peace of mind before leaving my house. I started doing this a few years ago because I had a bad experience with a rental cabin in the mountains. I arrived at the cabin during the winter to find it there was nothing but a fireplace in the house. My week there was pretty intense because of that. I had to chop a lot of wood so that I could keep the fireplace running, and the whole experience made me realize how dependent I am on my heating system back home. I vowed never again to stay in a place that didn’t have a modern HVAC system, and I don’t see myself ever going back on that promise. I love to travel and get away from my daily routine, but I am unable to relax unless I have some modern amenities. The HVAC system is the most important appliance in any home, and that holds true for when I’m traveling.

The air is damp in here

I grew up in a tiny town on the coast of the Pacific Northwest. And when I say I was on the coast, I mean it. Our neighborhood was near the edge of a steep cliff that lead straight down into a harbor on the coast. I could literally pick up a piece of gravel in my driveway and throw it into the ocean, that’s how close we were. We moved away when I was a kid, but my family never sold the house, which is how I was able to move back there last year. The house was exactly as we had left it, right down to the lack of air conditioning, and a single old wood burning furnace in the corner of the living room. The furnace was so old that it was also designed to be a working stove, but it was still in amazing shape. The weather there is so nice and temperate, with so few heat waves, that I decided to forgo installing a central air conditioning system and just get a window AC unit for my bedroom. With that to cool me off, and the old furnace to keep me warm, I figured that would be all I needed. What I hadn’t considered was all the other features that come with a modern HVAC system, like the air filters to clean the air and the dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the environment. Because of this, I have to battle a lot of mildew and mold in my house, but aside from that I am very happy with the furnace.

HVAC products 

Cool days

At age 44, I can recall very little of high school. This is because of years of actively trying to forget it, as well as more beers than a human being could possibly count. But what I do remember of the old days at school, I don’t recall with any specific fondness. I did okay in school, and was moderately popular, there is just something about high school that made me think of being in jail. Bells ringing, trudging down concrete hallways from one room to the next, terrible food, no freedom, how do people remember it fondly? And just like being in prison, one has no control over the heating and cooling situation at any moment. When I am at home, or even at work, I have access to a thermostat and can adjust the climate control to something that is comfortable. In school, you just have to deal with the temperature controls no matter how they are set. If you are too cold, that’s too bad you can’t turn on the furnace. If you are too hot that’s too bad you cannot access the air conditioner. Of course there was a lot more going on those days, and I probably didn’t even think about the HVAC system very often, but looking back it’s one of the many things I don’t like. When my kids went to high school they complained about the heating over the winter, and I knew how they felt. I told them that I survived not having a good heater in school, and that they would, too.

WM price heating and air 

Is my furnace ready to run?

Many people have a hard time deciding when they should fully turn on their furnace for the winter season. Some like to have their furnace up and running as soon as temperatures drop, while others wait as long as they possibly can to turn on their heat. I am someone who hates the cold, so I try to have my furnace ready to run by the beginning of fall. In order to prepare your house for the winter season, there are certain things that need to be done. For starters, an HVAC professional should look at your HVAC equipment. This will ensure that there is no damage to your HVAC system and if anything needs to be repaired, it will be fixed before you actually need heat. I hire an HVAC provider to clean my system at the end of summer to ensure there are no discrepancies in the system as well as to maintain the cleanliness of the air that will be circulated around my home. Several ventilation systems and ductwork do not get properly cleaned which increases the chance of dust collections and inefficient heating. Those who do not regularly get their heating systems cleaned are at risk for many issues in their homes including common colds. By maintaining heating equipment, you can easily increase the longevity of your furnace as well as the health of your home. So, before you try to decide when you should turn on the furnace, get your system checked by a professional. They can tell you exactly when your system is ready to run for the season.

Talking with my HVAC guy

My neighbor and I get along really well. We go to sporting events together and when the weather is bad, we always get together to watch football and order pizza. He happens to be an HVAC technician and is very handy when things go wrong. I have hired him plenty of times to check my HVAC system when I thought something wasn’t right with it. Since we are so close, he barely charges me anything when he does HVAC work for me. I usually pay him back by having him over for a few beers or ordering food. Recently, however, something terrible happened to my HVAC system. I noticed for a few weeks that my thermostat seemed to not match the temperature in my house, but did not really think it was a big issue. However, one morning I heard my HVAC system try to power on and all I heard was a loud bang come from the vents. I was sure my ductwork had completely broken inside my walls. Nervous that it was a serious issue, I called my neighbor and asked him to come over to look at the HVAC unit. Apparently, one of the ductwork connections had come loose in the wall and needed to be replaced. Normally, an issue like this would cost at least a thousand dollars in HVAC equipment and services. But, since my neighbor is a good friend of mine and does reliable HVAC work, he was able to save my HVAC unit and do the work at half the cost. Thankfully he was able to fix things for me otherwise I would’ve paid a fortune.

HVAC installation 

An historic home

My younger sister just bought a historic home in a prime neighborhood of our little town. She just received a promotion at work, and since she has no plans of getting married anytime soon, she decided to put the extra money into something she has always wanted to do: restore a historic home. She bought the house for a really good deal, and while at first it seemed that the house would not need a lot of work, she is now finding out that things are in a worse shape than she thought. The major problem is modernizing the house without getting rid of its antique charm. The house does not even have central air conditioning or heating! The four previous owners of the house just made do with some window air conditioning units, but my sister thinks that these are unsightly and inefficient. She would like to get a brand new, energy efficient HVAC system installed. Unfortunately, because it is a historic homes, there are a lot of hoops that she has to jump through to get that new HVAC unit installed. First of all, she has to get quotes from a couple of different HVAC companies to determine the best way to install ductwork without destroying the historical integrity of the home. Then, she has to get those plans approved by the local government. The whole process could take months and will be very expensive! Having HVAC will be really wonderful, but my sister is now seriously doubting whether or not it is worth it to get central air conditioning and heating installed!

air and heat 

This involved a lot of human error

There used to be a lot human error with buildings and companies. There was an individual person who handles the heating and cooling settings. Also another person handled the lighting system. Not everyone is perfect. People forget, lights get left on. HVAC systems are set not properly. A lot of energy is wasted and that means unnecessary high energy bills. Did you know there is a way to take the human component out of your company? Look for commercial building automation. The building automation system is set up in any corporate building, school, church, college, whatever you want. It is like having a smart building, all major technology is run through its own automation system. The building runs the heating and cooling program. The lights are set at the right time, amount and section. This takes zone control to a whole new level. Why do you want to invest in building automation installation? Because it saves you so much money in the long run. You can save almost 30% in energy using this type of system. It also reduces the negative impact on the environment. You are using all the energy you need. Additionally for security purposes, getting more involved with technology is a good thing. You rely on the automation system, not a person. Nothing gets forgotten or wasted with building automation.  There also is less service, repairs and maintenance involved with this system. Again, there is no individual person making mistakes and ruining the system prematurely. Take human error out of HVAC, electric and energy. Save some money in the long run.

Energy efficiency projects 

Radon sneaks in

My girlfriend Karen is a huge hypochondriac. Karen worries nonstop that she is going to die or that the house is unsafe. Karen visits the doctor about once a month complaining over something. She has the gas furnace cleaned about every couple of months. She extremely concerned about monoxide poisoning. The furnace might release combustion byproducts and become a safety hazard. We have gotten real friendly with our HVAC guy.  Karen recently went online and read all about radon. Radon is a radioactive gas which has been linked to cancer. It is similar to carbon monoxide.  It is also odorless, tasteless and colorless. The radon can be a problem without anyone realizing it until it’s too late.  You can get sick because of radon poisoning. So Karen is of course extremely concerned about possibly dying due to high levels  of radon in our home. I decided to set her mind at ease and hired a company that specializes in radon detection, as well as removal. They came to the house and tested the radon levels. No matter what they find, I am suspicious they would try to sell me radon equipment for the home. I bought the radon testing kit, and figured that was good enough.   While I want to alleviate Karen’s concerns, I’m not going to waste a bunch of money on radon removal when it isn’t even a problem at our house.  After the test was analyzed, we had proof that radon was not a concern for us.  Now Karen can move on to her next crazy fear.

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Radon sneaks in

There are a lot of sneaky things in life. I feel that Snape from Harry Potter was quite sneaky. He constantly popped up in places you did not expect him. He constantly had you wondering if he was good or bad. Also cream cheese is pretty sneaky in my opinion. Cream cheese is in a ton of dishes, making it better but way more fattening. You can’t taste it, but you certainly notice in your waistline after a ton of time spent eating it. What also is sneaky is radon. Radon leaks into your home without you knowing. Radon has great natural defenses too. You can’t use any of your five senses to find this gas. It has no color, no taste and no smell. How can you find this gas in your home? You need a special radon detector. But, radon is even tricker than its defenses. Most people assume that radon is in certain types of homes and that they are clear. Nope, radon can pop up in any type of home. Nobody is safe from bad radon levels. Also radon can be literally anywhere in your home. This gas can hitch a ride with anything basically. The radon can be in rock or soil. The radon also can be in water. Finally, radon can even sneak into your home through the air. So the basement all the way up to the attic could have this gas. It is really tricky to detect and get rid of. At least Snape came clean in the end and cream cheese is written on recipes. You just don’t know when it comes to radon.

radon testing kit 

Going on a date night

Last night, my husband and I went on a little date night. Normally, I let my husband plan things, but for this one, I had a specific idea. I wanted to go try out a pizza place that had recently opened, drive down a street along the river that had some beautiful houses, and get some frozen custard for dessert. We reached the pizza place at about 5:45, expecting it to be a slow time. The restaurant was busier than expected, so we had to sit outside. As long as the sun was up, this was fine, but at 6:15, when the sun started to set, it began to get chilly. After seeing me look longingly at all of the cozy people indoors in the central heating, my husband suggested that we box up our pizza and garlic knots and take them to the truck to finish eating. He turned the heat on in the truck, and we were quite comfortable. We ate the pizza as quickly as possible, so that we could go see some houses before it got dark. As we drove around, looking at houses, many of which were already decorated for Christmas, I was overwhelmed with how perfect my life was, at that very moment. We were warm inside the truck with the heater, we were full of delicious pizza, and we were together. After we finished looking at houses, we stopped by the frozen custard place. Again, it was too busy for us to eat indoors in the climate control, so we went to the truck again to use the heater, then headed home. Thanks to the truck’s excellent temperature control, we were comfortable all evening.

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