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.

The neighbor has some skills

I love the random connections that you make in life. You never know who you’re going to meet when you walk out the door each morning, or what special skills that person might have. Often times, you’ll encounter someone who has a valuable expertise which might be beneficial to your existence later on. This has been my experience in my new working class neighborhood, especially. Since moving into this town, I have a new contact for plumbing, construction, and even HVAC repair. Apparently there is a major trades school down the road, so the best and brightest tradesmen reside right on my street! My closest neighbor, Jim, is actually the top instructor for their heating and cooling ventilation certification program. He’s basically an HVAC wizard. Several times, I have had to call Jim for an emergency problem with my central heating and cooling systems, and he has never disappointed. From the moment he steps foot in my house, he’s diagnosing the HVAC system without saying a word. It’s as if he can talk directly to the ventilation system and simply asks the temperature control equipment where the problem lies. He silently slinks around the house for maybe 10 minutes, before pinpointing the exact HVAC complication, deducing a plan for action, and finally breaking out his tools. At this point he’s saved me well over $3,000 in emergency HVAC repairs, by my estimates. I don’t know how he can tell exactly where the mechanical failure lies, and he isn’t about to give up his secret. He truly is the HVAC whisperer.

HVAC products 

Burning the fossil fuels

My husband, Rodney and I are in the process of building a home from the ground up.  We bought the land nearly ten years ago and have been planning our dream home ever since. It is our goal to create a comfortable, safe, and environmentally friendly haven.  We have done a great deal of research into the best means of handling our HVAC requirements. Rodney and I are prepared to invest more money in order to minimize our carbon footprint. We are convinced the initial startup costs will quickly be recovered in energy savings. After consulting with a local HVAC contractor we are all set to install a geothermal heat pump and solar panels. The geothermal heat pump takes advantage of the relatively stable underground temperature and draws from this free energy source.  An underground HVAC system in the backyard will link to an electric heat pump located inside the house. The HVAC system can be expected to last upwards of fifty years. Because the heat pump is protected from the elements it should provide a minimum of twenty years of service. The heat pump works by moving heat from one location to another. There is no burning of fossil fuel, no combustion process, and no greenhouse gas emissions. The heat pump requires only a minimal amount of electricity which will be entirely supplied by the solar panels.  Our home will generate far more energy than we could ever use. I am eager to complete the installation process and move into our home. Then we can enjoy the benefits of our investment.

Leaving the door open

Due to the fact that I handle my job entirely online, I can complete my workload from anywhere with internet access. When I first made this arrangement, I looked forward to taking my laptop to various coffee shops, restaurants, and the park. I figured it would be enjoyable to get out of the house and try out new locations. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out as planned  and I now spend every day at my desk in my home office. When I sat up my laptop at the local coffee shop I couldn’t tolerate the air conditioning. I switched tables four times but couldn’t escape the blast of freezing cold air. Since the outside temperature was 84 degrees, I was dressed in shorts and a tank top. The coffee shop had the air conditioner running so much that I needed a winter parka to keep warm. I next tried a small local diner that serves homemade muffins and free coffee in the morning. While the air conditioner was set to a reasonable temperature, every time the outside door opened  I got hit with a blast of humid air. It was so distracting that I couldn’t get any work done. I then switched to sitting at a picnic table in a shady section of the park. Between the heat and humidity along with traffic noises and bugs I got nothing accomplished. I’ve now realized that to be more productive I need control over the thermostat. Since I have a smart thermostat installed in my home, I don’t need to leave my desk to make adjustments to temperature. My HVAC system maintains perfect comfort and helps keep a clean and healthy indoor environment.

programmable thermostat 

My furnace is really not that old

I am not happy with my current gas furnace.  The heating unit is about ten years old and still operating quite reliably, but I would like to replace it.  Technology has come a long way since I first purchased the furnace, and I also have more money to invest. The current furnace is a single stage model.  This means that it only operates at a single speed, which is maximum capacity. The furnace turns on, blasts at the highest speed until it achieves the thermostat setting and then it shuts down completely.  The constant on and off is aggravating and creates uncomfortable temperature fluctuation. It also requires a great deal of energy, which translates into super high monthly heating bills. The heating system is also rather noisy, which is disruptive.  Although I am diligent about cleaning the air filter, the furnace spreads a great deal of contaminants through the house. Whenever it starts up, I notice an influx of dust and I often start sneezing. I blame my frequent headaches, sore throats and runny nose on the furnace contaminating indoor air quality.  I have done some research into the furnaces that are currently on the market. There are now heating systems which feature adaptable speed technology. The furnace is able to automatically adjust capacity anywhere between forty and one hundred percent. Instead of the frequent cycles, the heater simply runs consistently at very low speed.  This maintains more even temperatures, reduces sound levels and requires less energy to operate. Despite the cost of upgrading to a new furnace, I would definitely save enough money every month to quickly recover the investment.

furnace