Spending time outside

 I have been living in the southwest for ten years now. I love being here because it’s absolutely beautiful, and I live in a wonderful community. The one thing that I learned early on is that the weather here is much different from how people think it’s going to be. Most people imagine it as being hot here year-round, but that’s not the case. We experience some pretty frigid winters, and that’s why I have to make sure my heating system stays in good shape.

           My house has baseboard furnaces. I like that I have them because I don’t have to worry about getting air ducts cleaned, as they don’t need them. However, I do have to make sure that I clean the dust and dirt out of them at the end of each winter. One way I do this is by using the vacuum. The vacuum lets me get most of the dust and dirt. When I finish with that, I take a rag that has been drenched in cleaning solution and give it a good wipe down. Finally, I have to cover the baseboard heaters when I’m not using them so they don’t accumulate more dust and dirt while they aren’t being used. \

            By doing all of this, I am ensuring that my baseboard heaters will stay in good shape for a long time. That’s good news because I would hate to have to replace them too often. Unlike what most people think, winters in the southwest can get chilly. We experience snow and sleet, and I become really dependent on my heaters then!

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Gas heating technology

 I think that I am going to have to start looking for a new apartment soon. When I moved in, I had no idea that my air vents were connected to my neighbor’s apartment. We have separate HVAC units, so this wouldn’t be a problem if he wasn’t a heavy smoker. The smoke smell somehow gets into my apartment, and it is constantly giving me a headache. I can’t stand the smell of cigarettes. I have tried to remedy the problem by adding an air purifier onto my cooling system, but it is just not doing the job. I thought that the air purifier would up the air quality and keep the smoke smell out, but it can’t.

           If the landlord isn’t able to do something about this soon, I’m going to have to break my lease and move somewhere else. I realize that there’s not a no-smoking policy, so they can’t keep him from smoking in the apartment. However, I really wish he would be more considerate and only smoke outside. If there was a way to rig up the air vents of our HVAC unit so that they weren’t connected, that would probably solve all of our issues. I just don’t know if it’s possible to retroactively do that.

           I’m going to give this about a month’s time, and if nothing changes, I’ll start looking for a new place to stay. The first question I will ask the new property owners is whether or not their HVAC units are connected through the air vents. I just can’t handle the smoke!

HVAC contractor 

Struggling with a repair

This is the last day of my break from school and I only had one goal, to relax before heading back to class. I made sure I was fully packed yesterday so I had little to do today.  I wanted to just stay at home and binge watch mindless television, eat whatever I want, and stay in my pajamas.  Instead, I have spent the day arguing with the with admissions office over an email they supposedly sent but I didn’t receive.  I have been having trouble with my internet for a while so I needed to contact my service provider about that too. To top everything off, my furnace started making a weird smell.  Thankfully, that just meant a call to the landlord because he was responsible for fixing that. He said that he would send the building maintenance person over to check it out. When he got there, I was still on the phone with the cable company  so I just let him in to look at the unit. My cable provider was less than helpful about my problem and only stated that they were having service problems and would resolve them as soon as they could. As for the heat, it was fixed in just a few hours so at least I can head to class tomorrow and know that I will come home to a warm and cozy apartment.  I just hope the other issue gets fixed as I do most of my schoolwork online. I didn’t get my relaxing day and feel as though I was robbed.  Maybe I will try and skip class one day to make up for it.

heater repair 

I want my bedding cleaner

While making the bed last week, I realized that the top of the bedspread was covered in fur from our little angel that sleeps with us each night.  I realized that it needed to be washed but didn’t know how to do that. I looked on the care tag and noticed that the directions said dry clean only. While grocery shopping, I noticed that the cleaners next door displayed that they would any size blankets or spreads at 50% off. This was too good to pass up so I abruptly dropped off the groceries and then picked up the bedspread. I went back to the cleaners and handed over the bedspread happy to know that it would be clean and fur free. I was told that I could pick it up on Wednesday and thought that wasn’t too bad.  That was until I realized they meant the following Wednesday.  That night, just before bed, I told my fiance that we would have to do without our bedspread for the next week. He just rolled his eyes and then right away turned up the thermostat for the HVAC system. We have had some really cold weather and he wondered why I couldn’t have waited a week or two before taking in the much needed blanket. I told him about the special pricing and that I wanted to save money on the cleaning. I was glad that we had already had our annual HVAC checkup and we could be confident that our system was working well.  Our central heating and a couple of space heaters kept us warm and toasty for the entire week.  I was still glad when the day came to pick up the spread again.  I even put a sheet over the top of it this time to avoid the fur accumulating on it again.

HVAC business 

This control unit does what it should

I can’t remember the last time that the weather outside was so cold. It has really started to take a toll on the elderly in our community. Our normal temperatures are closer to 40 or 50 degrees, this time of the year, but lately they are hovering around the mid 20”s. My grandparents are having a really hard time staying warm and when I was visiting they said that something must be wrong the the HVAC system.  I  checked the thermostat and found that they had it turned up to 74 degrees. The house definitely didn’t feel that warm and I worried that they might get ill in the cold temperatures. When I sat down to talk with them about this they said that many of their friends and neighbors were in the same predicament.  I could just be the fact that many homes were not insulated enough but I think in my grandparents case, it had more to do the the aging HVAC system that they have in their home. It feels so chilly inside of the house, and it doesn’t feel comfortable to me either. I asked my grandfather for the name of the HVAC dealer that they normally used and gave them a call. I was going to be staying a few days anyway and wanted to see if there was a way I could help with the situation. The HVAC dealer came out to look things over and discovered some issues with the ductwork but other than that, the system was fine.  I am hoping that the weather improves soon because they can not stand being cold all the time and the cost of keeping the temperatures up that high is going to cut into their budget.

climate control products 

The thermostat is giving us issues

I can’t remember the last time that the weather outside was so cold. The normal temperatures are closer to 40 or 50 degrees, during this time of the year. Last night’s cold temperatures were closer to the freezing mark. I’ve already adjusted the thermostat, and changed it to the heating setting. For the first time in three years, we actually have to use the heating system. I normally keep the thermostat set to 72 degrees, but I turned on the heat to 74 degrees. Every time I walk by the thermostat, I find myself wanting to adjust the heating system. It feels so cold inside of the house, and it doesn’t feel much warmer outside either. My wife and I have been arguing about the thermostat settings, because she wants to keep our thermostat set to 75 degrees. At 75 degrees, the house feels like an oven, and that isn’t very comfortable to me at all. I would prefer the outdoor temperatures to stay around 60 degrees throughout the entire year. That would make me very happy. My wife and I compromise, by keeping the heating system set to 72 degrees during the day. At night, my wife keeps a heating blanket on our bed. I can barely sleep through the night, because it is so hot in the bedroom. Unfortunately, it’s the only way that my wife can sleep comfortably. She tends to get cold very easily, so we have to keep the bedroom warm and toasty. The cold temperatures are suppose to last another week or two, and then we will be back to our normal humid environment.  

temperature control 

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