Browse Month: February 2018

Ductless HVAC

The master bedroom in my house was originally an exterior sun porch.  We have entirely enclosed the space, added insulation to the walls, installed electrical outlets and lights, and put in Energy Star rated windows.  Unfortunately, there is no access to the central heating and cooling system.  The duct system in the home diddoes not extend to the porch, and there are no supply or return vents.  For the first few years, I was forced to rely on space heaters and heated blankets in the winter, and a portable air conditioner in the summer.  I was not happy with this arrangement.  The space heater and portable air conditioner are unattractive, require extension cords, draw a tremendous amount of energy, and can’t handle severe weather conditions.  My bedroom was often overheated or chilly during the night.  I also worried that the space heater was not safe to operate for long periods of time.  I was hesitant about the security risk of having a window open to accommodate the portable air conditioner.  I was also sacrificing the view from my window, and forced to keep my door closed to contain the heated or cooled air.  When I finally consulted with a local HVAC provider, he recommended I install a ductless heat pump.  This type of temperature control system is permanently mounted on an exterior wall, provides both heating and cooling capacity, and is quite simple to install.  There is an indoor and outdoor unit, which is connected via a conduit that runs through a three inch diameter hole in the wall.  The ductless heat pump is wonderfully compact, fairly attractive, and runs quietly.  Because of something called inverter technology, the heat pump automatically adjusts its capacity to meet the demands of the space, reducing energy usage and maintaining very even comfort.  

The temperature is where we want it

I really hate calling for any type of repair for the appliances or systems in my home.  When there was a leak in the bathroom, I tried my best to figure out where the water was coming from and fix it.  Since I couldn’t manage it, I had no choice but to hire a professional plumber.  Although the plumber was scheduled to arrive anywhere between noon and five o’clock at night, he didn’t show up until six thirty.  He didn’t apologize for keeping me waiting, and he then tracked dirt across my carpet and left a mess in the bathroom for me to clean up.  He managed to repair the leak, but the cost was much higher than the estimate.  The whole job took him less than an hour and he charged me a fortune.  When my furnace started making some strange noises, I was very reluctant to contact an HVAC contractor, and I held off as long as possible.  The screeching noise grew steadily louder, and the furnace began putting out less and less heat.  The heating system was running non stop, my energy bills were ungodly high, and yet my house was downright chilly.  I tried fixing the problem myself, but I am not overly handy.  Beyond changing the air filter and cleaning the accessible components, I’m clueless.  Eventually, the furnace quit altogether, and since the outside temperature was thirty-four degrees, I had no choice but to hire an HVAC contractor.  I was told a repair technician would arrive at my house between ten and two o’clock.  I expected to waste the entire day waiting for the guy, but was surprised when he showed up right at ten o’clock.  He wore shoe coverings and laid down drop cloths to protect my carpet, provided an accurate estimate, and cleaned up all the debris.

temperature control 

I’m always working on the efficiency of the heater

Last January, I noticed that my furnace was running for much longer cycles and yet my house was rather chilly.  I kept turning up the thermostat, and the heating system struggled to maintain comfort.  Whenever the furnace would startup, there was an unpleasant odor, quite a bit of airborne dust, and my family complained of headaches.  I finally contacted a local HVAC dealer for furnace repair.  The technician inspected the furnace, but everything was operating perfectly.  The problem was with the duct system.  Since the duct system was installed prior to my purchasing the house, I have no clue how old it is.  Over the ten years we’d lived in the house, I’d never hired professional cleaning or sealing performed.  The HVAC technician brought in specialized equipment which resembled a giant vacuum cleaner hose with a brush attachment.  The brush is used to scrub away stubborn contaminants, which are then sucked up into the house, without causing a mess in the house.  Apparently, my duct system was harboring a whole bunch of dust, pollen, bugs, and even a dead mouse.  The buildup had blocked necessary airflow, making it very difficult for the furnace to provide sufficient heat and resulting in the longer running times and greater energy use.  Plus, the air supplied into the house was passing through the ductwork and picking up contaminants.  Every time the furnace started up, it was introducing allergens and bacteria into our breathing air.  After the duct cleaning was completed, I noticed a significant difference in the smell, comfort, and cleanliness of my home.  My monthly energy bills were reduced by around twenty percent, which will quickly recover the investment into professional duct cleaning.

Working on the heat pump

When I moved down south, I bought a house that is equipped with a heat pump.  The heat pump is a single unit that ifeatures both heating and cooling capability.  The unit is installed outside, right up against the house, and is linked to vents in all of the rooms.  For the first two years I lived in the house, I had no complaints with the heat pump.  I made sure to clean the filter every couple of months, and I scheduled professional cleaning and service every year.  For the majority of the time, I run the heat pump in cooling mode.  It is able to combat extremely high outside temperatures, and is excellent at handling excess humidity.  I simply adjust the thermostat to my comfort level and the heat pump keeps the home perfectly cool.  My electric bill, however, can be a tremendous strain on my budget.  I try to be conservative with thermostat settings, and only operate the heat pump when necessary.  In the winter, when the weather turns cooler, I switch the heat pump to heating mode.  The system reverses operation, drawing ambient heat from outside air, and pumping it inside.  Since I live in an area with a very moderate climate, this process is usually effective.  Just last winter, however, we experienced record breaking temperatures.  The outside temperature dropped into the lower thirties, and the heat pump struggled to keep up with demand.  Several times, I discovered that the outdoor unit was completely iced over, and I didn’t dare run it.  I ended up purchasing a couple of space heaters to help keep the bedrooms warm during the night.  

air vent cleaning 

Living as a scholar

Not too long ago, I got involved with this book reading group. It was something that my wife was into and she got me into it as well. I was surprised because it was actually very enjoyable. We would all read certain books every month and then have discussions about the book. We had some very in depth discussions and it was really refreshing. It also really made you think about things that you may not have thought of without the discussions. We would all rotate hosting the get togethers. This last month, it was our turn to host the book club. We were all there just talking about this fascinating book we had just read, and about halfway through, our HVAC system died on us. It was incredibly embarrassing and I went to check the thermostat immediately. No matter what I tried, I was not able to get the A/C going again. I called my friend who happened to be a skilled HVAC technician. He was not busy and came over right away. He was able to get our A/C working again in no time. Everyone was so relieved when that cool air came flowing from the air ducts. When my friend asked about the book we were talking about, it actually was a book he had read before. He had some very in depth views about it and we all got to talking. I was surprised because not only was my good friend a skilled HVAC technician, but was a scholar as well. The man was brilliant!

HVAC business 

I hope to make a difference in the community

We recently moved to a new area. When we enrolled our son in this new school, we were surprised at what was going on. Our son told us that the school was entirely overheated. He explained that they didn’t have a decent working A/C system. He actually asked his teachers about the HVAC system, and if they could modify the settings on the thermostat, but they were unable to oblige. We had a talk with the principal of the school after that. The principal was saying that they had a very limited budget and they could not afford to update their A/C system in the school. We actually made a big deal about it and were saying that this was unacceptable for the students, especially for our son. We would not sit around and tolerate this. How was our son supposed to learn in such a brutally hot environment? We spoke to many of the other parents and we arranged a meeting with the school board. There were a lot of arguments made that a more current HVAC system would be a great deal more energy efficient and would actually save the school money in the long run with utility costs. This was a very effective argument, as it was actually the truth. They finally gave in and decided to upgrade the HVAC system in the school. It was roughly a week later when the upgrades were done. Our son was saying how much happier everyone was, including the teachers. It was the difference between night and day and it was so much easier to focus on learning inside of a comfortable environment. We were happy to have made such an important difference in the community.

air conditioning