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

Considering a new radiator

I heat my home with a boiler system, and I’m very happy with it.  The boiler is installed in the basement and linked to radiators throughout the house.  Although the system is quite old, it has never given me any problems. The boiler operates silently and efficiently, and provides a very clean and gentle heating.  My only complaint is the look of those ancient radiators. They are unattractive and take up valuable space. They also tend to get quite hot, which makes them a safety concern.  I have looked into the possibility of replacing the radiators, but can’t decide on the best option. I could simply have new and improved radiators installed, which would be the least expensive choice.  Updated radiators are smaller, not hideous to look at, and offer better safety features. I have also considered the possibility of replacing the radiators with baseboard heaters. These are far more attractive and streamlined, and would run around the perimeter of the room.  The spread of heat would be far better, improving the overall comfort of the home. The most expensive option is to install radiant flooring throughout the house. To accomplish this, I would need to tear up all of the floors. It would be a huge, messy, and costly project but deliver the most benefits from the investment.  The radiant system would be entirely concealed beneath the floors, taking up no living space. The heat would be evenly distributed from corner to corner, and rise slowly, avoiding uncomfortable temperature fluctuations. This would allow me to set the thermostat a bit lower and save money on heating bills.

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My puppy loves the flooring

When I met my dog I knew that I had found my soulmate. He’s a little rough looking on the outside and has a tough guy demeanor when you first meet him. He’s very socially awkward around his peers and often lashes out at them defensively because he’s insecure. He’s secretly a big sweet heart, and will crawl right into your lap for cuddles once he feels comfortable enough to trust you. He also tends to be cold, and loves to snuggle up in piles of blankets, just like me. In fact, this dog will seek out just about any heat source and wrap his big body around it.

            I understand entirely, because I am naturally cold in every environment. The struggle is real. Last year when my furnace was continually breaking down, I realized that it was time to make a big home improvement. I wanted to finally get myself high quality heating equipment so that I could be warm and comfortable in my own home for once. I looked at several highly rated energy efficient furnaces, but I knew what I could expect from them; uneven temperatures and inefficient temperature delivery. After that, I decided I wanted radiant heated floors so I could deliver the exact warmth that I desired directly beneath the space where I needed it. I had my whole home outfitted with radiant heated flooring, and I can tell you that I’ve never been warmer or happier with my home temperature control system in my life!

             The only hiccup I’ve run into is constantly tripping over my dog. These days, there’s no way to keep him from laying splayed open on the wonderfully heated floors.

effective air 

Finding my boyfriend

Sometimes I am reminded that my boyfriend is a bit of an obsessive freak. He definitely gets riled up and consumed with certain topics, and it’s very difficult to pull him back into reality. This has certainly been the case with our recent home renovations. When we were talking about home heating and cooling solutions, though, I never would have guessed that his most recent obsession would become our brand new smart thermostat.

             The trouble all started when we called a local HVAC agent out to the house to discuss available heating and cooling plans on the market. He recommended some energy star rated furnaces and air conditioning units, and also highly touted their newest smart thermostat option. He said that the new thermostat allowed the user to have complete control over their home heating and cooling system, even from thousands of miles away. We were sold. When the thermostat and ventilation plan was fully installed, my boyfriend got right to work tinkering with the settings. He wanted to optimize the energy usage, set a highly detailed temperature control plan, and set service reminders within moments of powering the thermostat on. The only trouble is, it’s been 3 weeks and he hasn’t stopped tinkering.

           Everyday he’s hunched over the smart thermostat, diligently checking all of our home energy statistics and tweeking the program by single degrees. I can’t pull him away from the stupid thing! Anytime I can’t find my boyfriend when I need help with something, you’d better believe that he’s poking at the smart thermostat. Yes, I wanted to reduce our energy expenditure, but not at the cost of losing my boyfriend.

central heater 

Traveling by plane

When my husband and I purchased our home, fifteen years ago, the furnace was already in place.  Although the heating system was in great shape, it was not brand new at the time. Over the years, I’ve made sure to have the heating equipment professionally serviced every fall.  It’s been necessary to replace a few parts due to wear and tear, but the furnace has proven exceptionally reliable. In the area where we live, the winter weather is long and brutal.  The furnace has managed a heavy workload without any major malfunctions. I realize, however, that the furnace won’t last forever and is most likely nearing the end of its lifespan. I’ve noticed that it is starting to struggle to maintain a perfectly warm and even temperature on especially cold nights.  My energy bills are a bit higher every year, and the operational sounds are growing gradually louder. While I am reluctant to take on the huge expense of replacing the furnace, I need to be prepared. I would rather tackle a replacement project during the summer than in the middle of a winter blizzard. I’ve done some research into modern furnaces and I am surprised by the innovations in technology.  There are now heating systems on the market which achieve 98% AFUE, which would significantly reduce my monthly energy bills. These systems feature adaptable speed technology, allowing the heating equipment to automatically alter capacity in one percent increments to meet demand. By running longer, at much lower speeds, the furnace conserves energy and promotes more evenly distributed temperature. I have already gotten an estimate from an HVAC contractor and plan to upgrade my heating system this summer.

forced air heating