When you work as a professional photographer, shooting outdoors is a nightmare. The weather is rarely perfect, the environment is absolutely out of your control, and the distractions are everywhere. Have you ever seen a photographer outdoors that was smiling as he took pictures? Didn’t think so! Well, let me tell you out of experience that the best decision I made was to rent a garage space as my studio. It’s perfect for photo shoots, because the walls, floor, and ceiling have zero decorations. The garage is climate-controlled, and there’s rarely anyone coming in or out of the facility where the garage is located. My clients love it too, because they can decorate the space to their heart’s content! Or, I can decorate it for them (for a price). Still, the thing my clients love the most about the garage is that it’s always kept cool and comfortable. I was smart to rent this garage out of a facility that has room air conditioners installed in every garage unit! My clients always rave about how they never have to re-do their makeup, hair or change clothes since they don’t sweat a drop while they’re in the garage. Plus, they all say it’s a nice place to relax when the shoot is over, and I don’t mind them hanging around if they’ve paid for my time. Most of my clients are pretty laid back, and for that reason I don’t mind lingering to answer questions or explain pricing when the shoot is over. I have tons of repeat customers, too! Hard to believe that a single garage space can be so useful for a photographer, eh?
It’s not easy being a stay-at-home mom. My husband’s family insisted that this was the best way to raise a child, but I don’t think they realize how hard it is to do in this day and age. Even though I do stay at home with our baby, I still work from home as a contributor for a local newspaper. I also work as a photographer, and I have a small studio setup in our home so I can bring clients in for shoots, all while my baby sleeps the day away in the next room. It’s a challenging life, especially since my husband works long hours at his day job, so we don’t get to see each other as often as we wish. We still make due, and we’re happy to have a family of our own. Unfortunately, we’ve hit a snag recently at home as our air conditioner has been erratic in its function. Sometimes it works really well and keeps the house ice-cold, while other times it won’t work at all. It’s the worst when a client comes over for a photo shoot, and the house has become too warm to get through the shoot! I told my husband that we had to get someone to repair the air conditioning before I start losing my clients, even though we might not have the money for it just yet. Thankfully he had been saving some more money than usual, and could put the funds forward to take care of it. We had an HVAC professional come by the house the following week, and thankfully he showed up right between photo sessions. By the time my next client came to the house, the professional had our air conditioner running just the way it should! I was so excited and happy to have that issue dealt with. When the serviceman gave me the bill, he asked about the cameras and props. When I explained that I was a photographer, he smiled and said he’d be willing to discount the repair if I could give him and his wife a discounted photo session. Naturally I agreed! I mean really, I would’ve given him a session for free just to get the work done today!
Living up north is the best. As someone who grew up in the deep south, people tend to do a double-take when I say that to them, but it’s true! When you live in the deep south, you have fifty weeks of terrible summer heat, and fourteen brief days of “cold” weather. Up here, I have real seasons: autumn brings cool weather, spring brings warm weather, and the summer is warm, but not terribly hot. Winter, on the other hand, can be a bit of a burden. I knew I was going to have to do things I wasn’t used to down south, but one thing I’m glad I learned to do was clean my furnace. Every fall, I go through my ritual to clean out the furnace and make sure it’s ready for the relentless biting chills of winter. After making sure the furnace is off, I’ll open the combustion chamber and power on the furnace to a low setting. If the flames are yellow instead of blue, I know I have to clean them. From there, I cut the power off and shut off the gas line to the furnace, and I begin vacuuming out all the dust and soot I can find. Some people use floor vacuums to do this, but I like using my shop-vac since it has a small attachment to reach small spaces. Once the combustion chamber is cleared out, I’ll remove the air blower and vacuum that out as well. Finally, after I’ve cleared the debris out of the chamber and blower, I’ll replace the air filter and cover everything back up. Just like that, I’m done! It only takes me about half an hour to do this every fall, and it’s allowed me to make sure my furnace runs efficiently through the winter. That’s not to say it will prevent the inevitable though, as my furnace is still showing signs of wear and tear caused by time. I’m not looking forward to replacing my furnace, but I know I’m going to treat it the same way I’ve treated this old furnace and take great care of it!
When the opportunity for a new job, in a warmer climate, came up last year, I jumped at the chance. I decided to move out west which was a huge difference for me as I lived way up north all my life. When I arrived with the moving truck I found that it was really hot and it was rather dry. In my new house I realized that I needed some sort of cooling device. For the short term, I picked up a few window units and set them up in the bedroom and living room. When I was at work one day, I asked what others used in their homes to keep comfortable. This one guy told me about cooling towers. I had never heard of this technology before but he said he knew exactly how to set one up. He said it was a very energy efficient way to keep your property nice and cool. He said that it was something like a chimney that worked in reverse.. The air would be pulled down through chilled water and then flow into the house. Of course, there needed to be a wind to force the air through the system. Thankfully, when you live in a desert like climate, there is normally a wind most of the time. I thought that was brilliant and agreed to let him help me set it up. When we had that cooling tower going, it was marvelous! I still have the window units for emergencies, however the cool air from the cooling tower is much better than wasting the electricity to run them. I may have to resort to using those units from time to time but I hope it isn’t too often.
Just last year, when I decided to move out west, I had to make some major adjustments to my way of thinking. Being raised up north, I had never experienced the type of heat that they have here. It was so hot and dry when I arrived that I needed to consider what type of cooling system would be best in my place. I started out by picking up a portable HVAC unit to keep the bedroom cool. I have met some really great people since that time and one of the locals taught me a really great way to cool my house while saving money on utilities. The guy I met said that a cooling tower was all I needed. It was something like a chimney working in reverse. The air is forced through the tower by the wind and blows across water in a holding tank. The cooled air is expelled into house and it adds extra moisture too. In the dry climate this can make a huge difference in your health too. I thought that was brilliant and agreed to let him help me set it up. When we had that cooling tower going, it was marvelous! When setting it up, I was surprised at how simple a concept it was and yet it was very effective. I thought was much better than wasting the electricity on the portable air conditioner units! Of course, when it wasn’t windy enough, I still occasionally have to resort to using the air conditioner. I was blissful I met this guy and it was great to learn this way of surviving the desert temperatures and I have even shared my new found knowledge with many others.
I love my boyfriend, I really do. He annoys the crap out of me, but deep down I’m his biggest fan. I’m stating this first and foremost, because I’m about to complain deeply about him and his obsessive nature. See, when he gets interested in a new topic, there’s nothing you can do to pull him away from it. He’ll devote endless hours to researching whatever his piqued his interest, and many more to fiddling with it until everything is perfect. He does this with barbeque, coffee, drums, cars, fishing, and the list goes on and on. Most recently, I thought it was going to be a positive development for once when he became consumed with modern HVAC systems. Great, I thought, he’ll be able to optimize our whole heating and cooling system at home! I won’t have to worry about scheduling the routine repairs, because he’ll take that task over! Maybe I won’t even need to pay a professional HVAC technician anymore if he becomes handy enough to repair the central heating and cooling plan on his own! How naive I was. Within a month of suddenly becoming enamored with home air conditioners and furnaces, our whole house was torn apart. Rather than learning how to repair the heating and cooling equipment that we already owned, my boyfriend decided to fully replace our temperature control plan. He found cheap, used air conditioners and furnaces on craigslist and souped them up with all sorts of turbo air injectors and nitrous-run fans. He tore out the old ductwork and started putting in specialized silicone chutes. Now our home is a construction zone, and at this point we have zero indoor temperature control. Thanks a lot, honey.
Check your cooling system frequently, there is always gross stuff in it. A cooling system is a dark, moist place. This makes the air conditioner the perfect host to mold, mildew, and fungi. All sorts of bacteria grows in an air conditioner system and thrives. Then the homeowner turns on their air conditioner in the Summer. The cold air is blown over the contaminated spores and pollutes your indoor air quality. Do you get sick in the Summer? Is your home not cooled to where you want it? The bacteria is probably blocking air flow and ruining the air quality at the same time. That is why once a month the AC should be thoroughly cleaned. I have to clean the A/C device top to bottom. I start with getting a new air filter since the old one fills with dust in that timeframe. Next I check out the cooling coil. It usually is coated in mold so I scrub it all off. Then I carefully dust off the fan blades that have dirt, grime and other debris all over it. Next the fan motor should be cleaned and the belt lubricated. Finally, check out your condensate drain. If you notice any leakage with your AC, blame the drainage. The condensate drain frequently gets clogged with algae. I don’t mind cleaning the cooling system once a month, but if you don’t want to, check out UV lights. Ultraviolet lights clean the AC system and the air quality before the homeowner breathes it in. It will save you a lot of time on cleaning.
Older homes are just not set up right for most HVAC systems. Ductwork installation is especially hard on a home’s structural framework. So, with new home installation, ductwork is figured right in the process. A HVAC contractor comes in and sets up the air ducts while the house is being built. That way the home is able to support the HVAC ducts. Also the ductwork is less likely to experience cracks and leaks in the seams. Older homes that don’t have air ducts already in place, should not experiment and get HVAC ducts. If you are desperate to have ductwork in your older home though, look into high velocity AC. This type of air conditioning does in fact use air conditioning, however the air ducts are smaller. The air ducts are about half the size and are bendy. The little air ducts are able to fit into the slats of the home easier. It is less intensive on the home and the HVAC contractor has to tear down less of the walls. The air conditioning also works better for the older home. The air conditioner system is way more powerful and quickly whips cooling through the little ducts. It is called high velocity due to the speed and power the AC comes out. In a matter of minutes the house can be called due to the aggressive AC power going on. So if you are desperate to have ductwork for central cooling, look into high velocity AC. It is your best chance of having ductwork and AC in an older home.
I know a few people who genuinely have a hard time controlling their impulses. They are prone to stuffing their faces with terrible food, lounging around lazily rather than getting work done, and making so many misinformed purchases. It’s all really quite stressful to hear about. One of my distant friends has the very worst impulse control out of everyone, though. He proved it to us just recently when we went out and bought radiant heated flooring on a whim. The trouble all began when he was watching Desperate Housewives and they had extravagant radiant heated flooring installed throughout their entire mansion. Of course, these upscale ladies had marble put in to cover the hydronic heating pipes, and the result was so beautiful that my friend couldn’t stop thinking about the new heating method. In the episode they talked profusely about how warm and perfectly comfortable the new heated flooring felt. Apparently it was incredibly evenly heated and there were no cold pockets of air in the house whatsoever. Well, all of this information was too enticing for my buddy to handle. Next thing we knew, he had called everyone up to brag about his new alternative heating method. Apparently, he had called the nearest HVAC company and immediately purchased all the equipment necessary for high end radiant heated flooring when the episode of Real Housewives had finished. He was bragging up and down, telling everyone who would listen about how comfortable and amazingly comfortable his home would be once the heater was installed. There was one problem though. He had maxed out his credit cards on the radiant heated flooring that day, but forgot to pay for the cost of installation.
My stupid husband really kills me sometimes. I shouldn’t speak that way, because I love him dearly, but he really misses the mark at times. I feel like we live in two different worlds, and communicating between them is often impossible. That’s why we have ridiculous mishaps at home on occasion, such as the day that he “accidentally” got us an inground pool. It started last summer, when I was complaining left and right about the climate where we live. Every single day the air was hot and humid, and I was really growing tired of sweating 24/7. Even when I was inside, I told him, the air conditioning did not adequately cool the entire home. I was constantly finding warm pockets of air inside the house, and growing hot and sweaty even when I was relaxing indoors. I continually complained about the damn AC unit, hoping that my husband would get the hint and buy us a brand new, more powerful and efficient cooling system. It seemed like he was getting the point. He started to mention how nice it would be to cool down quickly when he got home at night. He said a few sentiments about chilling out, laying in wonderfully cool and refreshing surroundings and watching the sun set. When I saw the utility truck pull up to our driveway a few weeks later I thought I had done it! We were finally getting an efficient new air conditioning system! Instead, a crew of men came out and started tearing up our backyard. That’s when my husband told me he had picked up on my hints and bought us a new pool.