Sitting right on the vents

One of my favorite parts of the winter is the fact that we have a wood-burning stove in our home office, no matter what the HVAC system is set to I still tend to sit in front of it from time to time to get myself extra warm. Most of the time our heater never turns on during the day time because the wood stove keeps the home right around seventy degrees, and this is pretty moderate considering the fact that it is only about ten degrees outside. Occasionally when I want to sit next to the stove I have to make my many pets move over. They each have a small blanket that they sit on next to the stove and there are times they sit their panting because they are so warm. My husband regularly laughs because he walks into the home office and says,” oh I see the pets are roasting themselves again”; It is a joke in our family because it is amazing how they will sit there until they are boiling hot. I wonder what they would do if we ever got rid of the wood stove because they would have no way to get as warm as they do. I guess they would try to sit on top of the vents for the HVAC and try to get the same effect. I agree with them that feels great to sit right in front of the wood stove and feel the intense heat on our back, but I do not think I would sit there long enough to overheat myself the way that they do. The funniest part of this is that in the summer season, they sit on top of the air vents so that they can cool off. They must just actually enjoy to have extreme hot and cold temperatures one way or the other.

HVAC business 

We are a bit hot

One of my favorite parts of the winter season the fact that we have a wood-burning stove in our kitchen. No matter what the heating and cooling system is set to I still tend to kneel in front of it from time to time to get myself extra warm, most of the time our furnace never turns on during the day time because the wood stove keeps the condo right around seventy degrees, but this is pretty overheated, considering the fact that it is only about twelve degrees outside! Sometimes when I want to kneel next to the stove I have to make my many pets move over. They each have a small blanket that they lay on next to the stove and there are times they lay their panting because they are so warm. My husband regularly last because he walks into the kitchen and says,” oh I see the pets are roasting themselves again”, it is a joke in family because it is amazing how they will lay there until they are hot dogs. I wonder what they would do if both of us ever got rid of the wood stove because they would have no way to get warm the way they do. I assume they would try to lay on top of the vents of the HVAC system as well as try and get the same effect. I agree with them that feels wonderful to kneel right in front of the wood stove and feel the intense heat on my back, although I don’t know I would kneel there long enough to overheat myself the way that they do. The funniest thing about this is that in the summertime, they lay on top of the air vents so that they can cool off. They must just really adore to have drastic temperature changes one way or the other.

indoor comfort 

Working on our bathroom

My friend Zac and his wife are buying their very first house. Zac is the youth pastor at my church and he seems to be like a really good guy. He and his wife have a new baby and so the apartment that they’ve been living in was just getting too cramped for the three of them to stay in together comfortably. Yesterday, he told me that they got a really good deal on the new house because one of the bathrooms on the main floor is completely unfinished. It’s just a big empty room with plywood for flooring and sheetrock for walls. Well, Zac said that he plans to do all of the plumbing in the unfinished bathroom himself, even though in the past, he has never done any plumbing work whatsoever. When I mentioned to him that he might want to call a professional plumbing company to come in and at least do the rough plumbing part of the job like the pipes and the traps, he laughed and said that he would be able to handle it. He said that anyone who’s not completely stupid should have no trouble with installing two sinks, a bathtub, a toilet, and a shower stall. I hope that he’s right, because if he does the plumbing installation wrong, then he will have to call a professional plumber to come in and correct the mess that he makes of the bathroom and the plumbing. And honestly, I’m pretty sure that it will cost him more to do that than it would have to just hire a professional plumbing company to do the job in the first place.

plumbing equipment 

These poor dogs

One of my favorite parts of winter is the fact that we have a wood-burning stove in our living room. No matter what the HVAC system is set out I still tend to stand in front of it from time to time to get myself extra warm. Most of the time our boiler never turns on during the day time because the wood stove keeps the house right around 75 degrees. This is pretty warm considering the fact that it is only about 15 degrees outside. Sometimes when I want to stand next to the stove I have to make my two dogs move over. They each have a small blanket that they lay on next to the stove and there are times they lay their panting because they are so warm. My husband always last because he walks into the living room and says,” oh I see the dogs are roasting themselves again”. It is a joke in our family because it is amazing how he will lay there until they are boiling hot. I wonder what they would do if we ever got rid of the wood stove because they would have no way to get as warm as they do. I suppose they would try to lay on top of the vents for the HVAC system and try and get the same effect. I agree with them that feels good to stand right in front of the wood stove and feel the intense heat on my back, but I don’t think I would stand there long enough to overheat myself the way that they do. The funniest part of this is that in the summertime, they lay on top of the air vents so that they can cool off. They must just really love to have extreme temperatures one way or the other.

climate control 

I don’t mind renting

The other day I went into my bathroom to get ready for work, just like I always do. It was a typical Tuesday morning and had a long commute so I had to hurry because I was running a few minutes late. I’m already on probation at my job for all of my late arrivals, so I was really trying to get there on time. I decided to brush my teeth before I drank my morning coffee for once, but then when I turned the hot water faucet handle on my porcelain pedestal sink, chaos ensued. Suddenly and simultaneously, the faucet handle to the sink broke off and water started spurting everywhere. I was immediately soaked – my hair, my face, my shirt, the front of my pants, everything. Needless to say, this unforeseen plumbing problem did not help with the “running late” situation that I was already dealing with that morning. I figured out how to turn the water off to the pipes in the bathroom fixtures, but I was very puzzled as far as figuring out why in the world the faucet handle had broken off in my hand. And the water squirting out all over my bathroom was a whole other (and bigger) issue that I’d have to deal with! But first things first. I threw some towels down to sop up all of the water from the exploding sink. Then, I changed clothes as fast as I could, towel-dried my hair, and called the plumber from my cell phone once I was on the road to work. If I lose my job for being late again, I’ll never be able to pay for an emergency plumbing maintenance visit when he comes to the house to fix my bathroom sink!

plumbing 

So much snow is piling up

I’ve lived in the northeastern area of the country for my entire life, and I’ve always hated it.  While it is a beautiful area with an abundance of lakes, forests, and mountains, the weather is absolutely horrible.  Our summer season is so short that it would be ridiculous to invest in a central cooling system. We’re lucky if we get two months of hot weather.  However, during those two short months, the outside temperature is likely to climb into the triple digits and the humidity is suffocating. I try to get by with running a whole bunch of box fans and installing a couple of portable air conditioners in the bedroom windows.  My house is normally overheated and sticky, and I sweat non stop. It’s impossible to cool off, relax or get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, I really can’t afford a central cooling system because of the fortune I’ve spent on heating. I need to run my furnace from sometime in September until mid April, and the majority of my budget is devoted to monthly energy bills.  I also pay for maintenance for the heating equipment and the occasional repair. With outside temperatures dropping to twenty below zero and several feet of snow piling up in a single night, the reliability of the furnace is extremely important. We can’t get along without a working heating system. I make sure to change the filter every single month, but even the best heating system doesn’t last forever.  Because of excessive usage and wear and tear, my home’s furnace normally doesn’t last more than eighteen years before needing to be replaced.

electric heater 

This central air will work

Living in the northern region of the country, there is no reason for me to invest in a central cooling system.  For the majority of the year, the weather here is cold, wet and snowy, and I’m forced to run my heating system. I have spent a fortune on purchasing, operating and maintaining the furnace, and I’m unwilling to match that amount for a cooling system.  However, for those short summer months, the outside temperature often climbs up into the nineties with high humidity. Getting by with electric box fans isn’t sufficient, and I’m not a fan of portable air conditioners. Window units tend to be loud, ugly and costly to operate.  To effectively combat the heat, I’ve invested in a ductless multi-split system, which is permanently installed. The ductless system is comprised of a single outdoor unit linked to four indoor air handlers which are installed in each of the bedrooms. The indoor air handlers are extremely compact, lightweight and mount on an exterior wall.  They operate quietly, require little upkeep, and remote control is super convenient. Rather than put a strain on my budget, attempting to cool the entire home, I am able to cool the bedrooms independently. I avoid cooling empty rooms and customize temperature to suit preference. Because the ductless air conditioner uses substantially less energy than a convention cooling system, my monthly bills are manageable.  Plus, the installation process didn’t require any huge, messy tear down and was completed in a single day. It was not an enormous investment, and has greatly improved the comfort of my home.

ductless heating 

I bake all the time

When my husband, Reggie and I decided to build a home from the ground up, we debated over what type of heating and cooling system to install.  After a great deal of research, we decided to make the bigger investment into a geothermal heat pump. A geothermal heat pump combines heating and cooling capacity to maintain year round comfort.  While the excavation for the underground loop system adds up to a significant cost, we’ll spend fifty percent less on our monthly utility bills. We’ll also help to protect our planet at the same time.  When completed, our house encompasses a little over two thousand square foot of living space, and we manage year round temperature for about a dollar a day. Plus, the geothermal heat pump supplements our water heater, saving us around thirty percent from our annual water heating costs.  The geothermal heat pump uses only minimal amounts of electricity to transfer heat from the ground to our home. It produces an average of four units of energy for every one unit of electricity it needs to power the system. From our calculations, the savings on our energy bills should recover the initial investment into the system within five years.  While Reggie and I are thrilled with reducing demands on our budget, we are also concerned with our carbon footprint. The US Environmental Protection Agency recommends geothermal systems as the most environmentally-friendly, cost effective means of temperature control on the market. Installing a geothermal heat pump delivers the same benefits of planting 750 trees or removing two cars from the road.  

geothermal HVAC 

A highly efficient system

I’ve never been much of an activist in any way. I know it’s the wrong mentality to have, but I honestly don’t feel like I can make much of a difference in huge global issues. I’m incredibly saddened and concerned for any number of modern problems in our world, but what can I realistically do to make an impact? Well, recently I found a cause that I actually feel like I can contribute to in our local Homeowners Rights Association. See, I live in the deep south, where the temperatures get well above 100 degrees every day for 6 months on end. As such, it is completely necessary to have a highly efficient and powerful method of AC for your home, especially if you are not the healthiest human being. I recently found out that over 35% of the residents in our town are living without adequate cooling systems at home! I was completely appalled to hear this figure, and even more enraged when it came to light that the majority of these households without proper AC are rental units! That means these poor people are at the mercy of their landlords for proper air temperature control equipment all year round. They are undoubtedly being taken advantage of by greedy rental companies that don’t bother to provide modern indoor temperature control! When I heard about all of these hot, sweaty people without a strong enough voice to speak up for their living conditions, I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. I joined the HRA immediately, and have been campaigning for rental air conditioner reform ever since.

HVAC installer 

I’m considering a mini split

My boyfriend is quite the handy guy, which I absolutely love. I’ve never been with someone before who was so capable of handling machinery and electrical equipment. To be honest, it’s a big turn on. I love to watch him working on our cars in the garage, all covered in oil and dirt. He gets really intense and focused, which is incredibly attractive to me. That may or may not be one of the reasons that I’m having the entire garage remodeled. I figured he should have a great place to work, and I should be comfortable while I watch him. That’s why I had the garage floors and windows replaced, more storage and seating added, and installed a brilliant new mini-split ductless HVAC system to the space! I’m the most proud of the new temperature control system, to be honest with you. I really had no clue what I was going to do about heating and cooling this satellite space, since I couldn’t attach it to the main home’s central HVAC system easily. I spoke to a reputable HVAC technician from down the road, and he recommended I have a mini-split ductless HVAC unit installed. These little systems are perfect for small spaces with dynamic temperature needs, meaning it can readily adjust the indoor air temperature for any changes in air condition. This is ideal, since the garage easily changes from cold to hot when work is being conducted inside. Best of all, the little system is out of the way, highly efficient, and even has a remote control! Now I can sit back, relax, and watch my man do all his handy work in supreme indoor comfort.