I was so excited for my college graduation. I was the first of four children to earn a four-year degree, and get married – all in the same week. It was a lot to plan for, but I sat in my graduation gown outside the arena with my classmates, smiling as I dwelled on the success from my hard work. We were eventually called into the arena for our grand entrance, but as we walked in, we immediately noticed that it was much warmer inside the arena than we expected. By the time we made it to our seats, I was already using my graduation gown to dab sweat from my brow. I could hear people around me whispering about how hot it was, so I knew it wasn’t just me and my nerves! During the opening speech, the speaker started by addressing the heat, and saying that an HVAC team was working on the issue as he spoke. Towards the end of the opening speech, we all heard the huge air conditioners click on, and the sound of air being blown into the arena made us cheer! Between laughter and cheers, the speaker told us we applauded his speech too soon. Everyone loves a speaker with wit! Anyway, graduation continued as planned from that point, and we thankfully got to walk out of graduation feeling much cooler and calmer about the future.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: I try to be “eco-friendly” as much as I can. I drive a hybrid car that alternates between gasoline and electricity to power the vehicle; I have a flower box outside my apartment window for growing flowers, and use a compost bucket to help those flowers grow. I know my efforts don’t exactly make up for a huge corporation pouring millions of gallons of waste into a river, but at least I’m repurposing my waste! Plus, my hybrid car is actually a major money saver, since my workplace has power outlets for cars in the parking lot. My workplace is also big on eco-friendly actions taken on larger scales, and recently made some adjustments to the building’s HVAC system. We’ve used a heat pump system to help cool or heat the building for years, but the company decided to replace the heat pumps with hybrid pumps. These new pumps alternate between using fuel or electricity, and have special programming that enables them to choose which fuel to use. In doing so, the system can work harder or easier to provide air treatment to the building. I was thrilled when I heard about it, because the heat pumps can be a little slow at getting the building warmed up during the colder Winter months. I’m looking forward to the next winter, and seeing how these new high-efficiency heat pumps work!
My family and I love to go on little trips to towns hidden away, rarely seen on maps of major cities. We tell our friends that it’s because we like visiting the towns no one thinks about, but we really do it in hopes of finding ghosts! Yes, it always seems like paranormal activities happen in little nowhere towns that you pass on the way to a major hub. We rarely have anything particularly unusual happen in our presence, but this last trip broke that chain for good. We traveled to this town about thirty minutes outside of a college town. This little village was notorious for handing out speeding tickets left and right to careless drivers, so we were especially careful. We had mapped out several places to check out, including a local diner and the hotel we planned to sleep in. We went to the diner first, which was certainly creepy, but not haunted. When we went to the hotel, we sensed something eerie about the room as soon as we walked in. Whenever we all stopped talking to each other in the room, we would hear this strange sound, almost like someone whispering through the air vents. Finally, something real for us to investigate! We stayed up half the night listening in, recording the sounds and playing them back with headphones and special sound-editing software. We were so certain we were hearing voices! The next morning, we went to check out as we grinned to the clerk. As we thanked her for the stay, she stopped us to say she was sorry if the furnace kept us up all night. Surprised, I asked what she meant, and apparently the furnace has some air leaks that cause “whisper” sounds while it runs at night. We looked at each other, defeated, and walked back to the car. Well, this was the closest we’ve come so far!
So my buddy and I have been friends since we were in grade school. While I come from a modest family, his parents were rich! His father worked for the NFL for ages, and I think he had some connections in high places. That man brought home all kinds of souvenirs from games that he helped manage, and they were always things from the field itself. One day, I was with my buddy playing video games in his room. As we played, we heard his dad’s truck pulling up outside, and his dad yelling for him and I to come outside. When we came out the front door, we saw his dad standing next to his truck bed, pointing at this gigantic box! It was one of those huge air conditioners you see on either side of the player benches during a game. I knew they made the air cool, but when his dad unloaded the cooler and powered it on in his garage, it quickly made the entire space cold enough to wear a jacket! This thing was awesome, and my buddy’s dad said he would bring it out at the next cookout. It’s funny thinking back to that memory, because my buddy inherited that evaporative cooler from his father when he decided he didn’t need it anymore. Every now and then, my buddy sends me a picture of him outside, standing in front of the cooler as it blows his hair sideways. He’s always grinning ear to ear, and asks me if I think it’s hot out. He thinks he’s so funny!
My central cooling system is approximately eighteen years old, and no longer functioning at peak capacity. Living in the southern part of the country, I rely on the air conditioner for about eight months per year. With temperatures often in the triple digits, and brutal humidity, the cooling unit carries a heavy workload. Although I’ve been conscientious about regular filter replacements and professional maintenance every year, components are simply wearing out. Every few months, I’m faced with another minor repair. It seems I’m always paying to recharge the refrigerant or replace a belt or fan blade. While these repairs are not all that expensive, they’ve begun to add up. Plus, the cost of running the air conditioner continues to rise. Every month, my electric bill is a bit higher. This is definitely because the system no longer puts out as much cool air, forcing it to run for much longer cycles. I’ve raised the thermostat setting by several degrees, hoping to minimize energy use, expense and the strain on components. Unfortunately, this means that my home is no longer as comfortable. I’m also suspicious that the cooling system is polluting my indoor air quality. I’ve noticed a more significant buildup of dust on the surfaces of furniture. I’m forced to vacuum and dust far more often. I’ve also been battling condensation on my windows and mold growth. This is caused by high humidity levels, since my air conditioner is not handling the excess moisture. I’m having trouble sleeping at night due to the hot and sticky conditions. I’m not happy about paying super high electric bills and yet feeling uncomfortable. I’ve begun looking into a new cooling system, but I’m reluctant to deal with the expense and upheaval to my home.
My wife, Edith, and I have been married for nearly six years. For the most part, we get along extremely well. We rarely have any major arguments, and we share a lot of the same interests. We enjoy traveling by motorcycle, attending professional hockey games, hiking, reading and home remodeling. Over the years, our relationships has continued to grow closer and stronger. However, there is one thing we simply can’t come to terms on. Edith and I strongly disagree over the temperature setting for our master bedroom. While I prefer to keep the room a bit warmer and sleep with a light blanket, she prefers the room much colder. It’s so uncomfortable that I’ve considered sleeping in the guestroom. Edith is simply overheated at all times, and insists on blasting the air conditioner at maximum capacity. I wouldn’t mind the air conditioner during the hot and humid summer months. I’d be fine with grabbing an extra blanket or dressing in warmer pajamas. Unfortunately, Edith wants to operate the air conditioner all year round. Even when the outside temperature drops down below freezing, she’s still relying on the air conditioner. Although I pile blankets on top of me, I always wake up shivering Just about every night, I crawl out of bed and turn the air conditioner off. Then Edith wakes up and starts complaining about how overheated the bedroom feels. We have tried compromising on the thermostat setting. We’ve tried just running some box fans during the colder seasons. Nothing makes us both happy and comfortable. We’re also spending a fortune on our monthly electric bills, because of the overuse of the air conditioner.
It may seem silly to some people, but I really think that my husband should get rid of our vaulted ceiling, and put in a floor about ten feet above the kitchen floor. I would have an extra room for storage, or as a spare bedroom. I would also have a kitchen that was warmer in the winter. I think our energy bills would be much lower in the winter, because my heat wouldn’t all be going to the ceiling. Then my furnace wouldn’t be running all of the time, trying to heat the living space from the twenty foot ceiling down. I just think that the whole vaulted ceiling idea was just wasting space. I also don’t like trying to clean the corners of that ceiling, when Spring comes. I get all kinds of cobwebs and kitchen grime that goes up to the ceiling, and I can’t reach it. I need to bring the big ladder in, and then climb to the top, and hold my dusting mop high over my head. I am getting older, and I’m not liking being unsteady. It is ten to fifteen degrees hotter up there, and then I start to sweat. I guess the vaulted ceiling is great for summer, because the heat rises as the air conditioning cools the lower air. I do have an air conditioner in the loft room, and I find myself turning it on, and letting the cool air comes down to us, but I can’t use that room in the winter. All of my heating goes into that room and it is unbearably hot up there, all year round. I think that lowering the ceiling is the best way to keep the heating and air conditioning under control
I couldn’t believe it when I woke up this morning, and I could hear the birds singing. Winter has been long and hard this year, and I finally open the windows and feel the cool air, without shivering. We have been waiting a long time finally say it is Spring. The only thing I don’t like about Spring, is that I have to start cleaning. All of the little things I left out through the Winter, is now staring at me. I couldn’t see the cobwebs, or the dust that had gathered up near the ceiling. Now I am amazed at how much dirt there is, and the ceiling suddenly seems so far away. I got out a ladder and my telescoping dust mop, and crawled up to the top. I think it was about ten degrees warmer up there. If I could have got that heat to the floor during the Winter, I wouldn’t have needed all those extra sweaters. We have ceiling fans, which are supposed to be able to force the heat down. During the summer, the high ceiling is great. The heat will still be rising, but the cooler air will be staying on the floor. I opened the door to the loft during the summer. Unfortunately, my office is in there, and then all of the heat was trapped inside. My husband put an air conditioner into the loft, and it is great because the cool air comes out of the loft and it heads downstairs. My husband said we had to do something to keep the heat downstairs during the summer. I suggested we put a floor where the open beams are, and then not only does the heat not rise up, but I have extra storage space.
Today, I was able to open the windows and enjoy the feel of the crisp clean air. It has been a while since we were able to do this, and I am revelling in the coolness. It has been a very long winter, and we have been waiting for spring. Along with spring, however, comes the necessity to rid the house of the cobwebs that I see hanging in the peak of my kitchen ceiling. I am amazed at how warm it can get when I reach up there. The ceiling is about fifteen feet high at the peak, and though it may be cool on the floor, up there it is about ten degrees warmer. It’s too bad we couldn’t get that heat to the floor, when it was still winter. In spite of the ceiling fans, we always have a draft on the floor. When I opened the door to the loft, you could feel the heat swishing past and going upstairs. For summer, we installed an air conditioner in the loft. With the door open, we can effectively cool, not just the loft, but the kitchen, also. It’s a pretty heft air conditioner, and unless the temperatures are in the nineties, it can have the downstairs air quite cool. We have air conditioners in both of the main floor bedrooms, and it is always deliciously cool back there. Now we just need to figure out how to get more of the heating to not go up to the ceiling. I told my husband that we could put down a floor across the beams, and that would lower the ceiling to about ten feet. The extra five feet would make a great area for storage.
Everytime I walk into our apartment, I recall the funny story about how we came to have our air conditioner. For the longest time, my roommate had been complaining that we needed an air conditioner. Now, we had no way of affording even a small window unit so I told her that we just had to suffer with the heat and put fans in the window. Every once in a while we could open the windows and sometimes catch a nice breeze, however oftentimes it was just too hot outside. One morning, she noticed there was something that looked like a portable air conditioning unit next to a dumpster. She decided to pick it up and bring it back to the house. I told my roommate if it was sitting by a dumpster, it was more than likely broken. We decided to hook it up in the living room and when we turned it on, it started up and blew cold air. But, we soon learned why it was by the dumpster, we noticed there was a foul odor coming from the unit. I opened up the door where the filter was and found there was mold inside the unit! It was great to have a little bit of cooling relief, but there was no way we were going to live with mold in the house. My roommate said that maybe we could clean it out with bleach or something. I looked online to see if there were any recommendations on how to fix the problem. First we needed to get a new filer from the hardware store and then we needed to clean the unit as best we could. It was a lot work, however we had that air conditioner pretty clean after a couple of hours. We replaced the filter and once everything else was dry turned it back on. We have enjoyed the portable air conditioner ever since.