Investing in an air purifier

I continually worry over the integrity of indoor air quality in my home.  I realize that there are sources of contamination in every room. Carpets, furniture, rugs, pesticides, cleaning products, cooking, humidity and temperature fluctuations can result in health hazards.  I have taken every possible precaution to improve the cleanliness of my home. I vacuum several times a week with a HEPA filter, launder bed sheets in hot water, and clean with disinfectant cleaners. I change the air filter in the furnace and air conditioner every month and have invested in a professional maintenance plan.  Twice per year, a licensed HVAC technician comes to the house and thoroughly services the heating and cooling equipment. He removes any buildup of dust, pollen, bacteria, mold or mildew, and verifies the condition of the ductwork. I still wasn’t satisfied with the air quality in my home, and asked the HVAC contractor for a recommendation.  I ended up installing a whole-home air purifier, which has made a huge difference. The air purifier incorporated into the air handler of the heating/cooling system, where impacts the air as it passes through and targets the entire house. As soon as the air purifier was operational, I noticed an improvement in the smell, comfort and cleanliness of the home.  Although it operates silently and requires very little maintenance, it is extremely effective. The air purifier works much like an enhanced filter in that it captures 95% of airborne pollutants too small for the human eye to detect. However, it also uses an electrical charge to kill or inactivate pathogens. The home’s air cycles through the air purifier approximately eight times every hour, handling pollen, dander, smoke, fungus, unpleasant smells and much more.  

heat pump system 

The house smells horrible

I live in an area that is known for its brutal winter weather.  We typically start up the furnace by the end of September, have snow on Halloween, and are still paying a heat bill in April.  I spent a considerable amount of money to install a reliable, powerful and energy efficient gas furnace. Despite the quality of the furnace and conservative thermostat settings, I still devote the majority of my budget to monthly energy bills.  I have taken every precaution to prevent energy waste and continually look for ways to minimize the workload of the furnace. Because my house is very large and very old, it required quite a bit of effort and investment to eliminate leaks and cracks.  I have gradually replaced every single window, and improved the level of insulation in the walls and ceilings. Every year, I inspect the caulk and weatherstripping around exterior doors and windows, and make any necessary repairs. I’ve installed overhead ceiling fans to push the heated air down toward the floor, and hired a professional HVAC contractor to perform duct system sealing and cleaning.  I’ve also enrolled in a maintenance plan which includes an annual tuning, cleaning and troubleshooting of the furnace. One of the most beneficial investments was adding a whole-home humidifier. Over the winter, especially with the furnace running, the air in the home can become overly dry. Since dry air feels much colder, this leads to higher thermostat settings and greater demand on the heating system.  The humidifier introduces necessary moisture, improving the comfort and health of the home, and helping to trim energy usage.

central heater 

Freezing spots

My two brothers and I were entirely raised by our grandparents, and they were wonderful.  My grandma and grandpa saw us through grade school, high school, and college, giving us endless financial and emotional support.  Now that my brothers and I are adults and living on our own, we try to take good care of our grandparents. My oldest brother oversees all of the upkeep around the outside of their house.  Since he owns a landscaping and contracting business, this falls within his area of expertise. He handles the yardwork, gutters, roof, and all of that stuff. My younger brother is basically a combination secretary and chauffeur for my grandparents.  He sets up all of their doctor’s appointments, runs their errands and drives them around. My responsibility is the interior of the house. I make sure the home is clean and all appliances are running properly. To make my job as easy as possible, I’ve hired a maid service and enrolled in an HVAC maintenance program.  The HVAC maintenance includes priority scheduling, no overtime fees for repairs, and two service calls per year. A licensed contractor calls up my grandparents and arranges a time to inspect the furnace or air conditioner. With a thorough cleaning, tuning and troubleshooting, the technician combats any potential malfunctions.  I can be sure that the furnace and air conditioner are operating safely, efficiently and reliably. Plus, if the heating or cooling equipment is nearing the end of its service life, the HVAC contractor lets me know. This way I can be sure that my grandma and grandpa are never left without heating or cooling or faced with a costly repair.  

oil heater 

A comfortable home year round

When my husband, Roy and I decided to convert our garage into extra living space, we had quite a bit of work to do.  To make the space airtight, energy efficient and free of drafts, we needed to insulate the walls and ceiling and replace the windows.  We also removed the overhead doors, updated the wiring, and installed carpeting. One of the biggest challenges was figuring out a way to heat and cool the room.  While our home is maintained with a forced air furnace and central cooling system, we were reluctant to extend the duct system. Adding to the existing ducts would have been a very costly, messy and time-consuming project.  Plus, the duct system would have taken up a great deal of space in our room and placed additional demand on our furnace and air conditioner. We weren’t sure the existing heating/cooling component could keep up with the added square footage.  Looking for a fairly inexpensive, compact and easily-installed solution, we consulted with a local HVAC contractor. He recommended a ductless heat pump, which turned out to be perfect for us. The ductless mini split is comprised of an outdoor and indoor component, which are linked through a conduit.  The conduit requires only a three-inch hole in an exterior wall, and the whole system was installed within a few hours. The indoor air handler is lightweight, mounted up high on the wall, and fairly attractive. It operates quietly, is wonderfully energy efficient and provides both heating and cooling capability.  Because it heats and cools only that single room, we only operate the heat pump when the space is occupied. It is powerful enough to achieve ideal temperature within a few minutes and even offers programmable operation.

new HVAC 

Hoping to not repair the cooling

There seems to be a delay between having Heating and Air Conditioning repairs scheduled, and when they’re actually done, over the Summer. This is obviously due to the mass of a/c breakdowns happening over the Summer due to hot weather! I mean, it makes perfect sense. Most people use their A/C more when it’s overwhelmingly hot outside, so I’m sure that leads to breakdowns happening more often. I’ve had a couple of instances where I needed a talented Heating and Air Conditioning worker to come out and maintenance the unit, and those events typically came during the worst and hottest times of the year! One time in particular was especially dire, all because I had to wait a full week without a/c for the mechanic to make it out to our house. My only way to cope was by opening the windows and keeping the ceiling fans running non-stop. It was pretty hard, getting sleep at night when I was so accustomed to running the A/C. I was so relieved when the repair was complete and over! I vowed to myself that I would have an annual inspection done going forward! Having that done during the Spring has been a good way for me to scope out any small issues before allowing the system to completely give out. It’s not convenient to have to have these done, but believe me, they are well worth the effort! I wouldn’t even suppose of not having that done now. My hope is that these inspections will allow me to prolong the life of our a/c until it needs to be substituted altogether.

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The a/c being turned up

I cannot tell you just how many times that I’ve left the apartment in the morning in a mad rush, too occupied mentally by the time to turn off my A/C. Usually I will adjust the thermostat up a few degrees while I’m at work, just so the a/c doesn’t come on and cool an empty house. Instead of allowing the a/c to continue running at full blast, even though only the dog plus dog are home, I’m sure to leave the A/C set to a semi-cool temperature. However, I’m sick of coming home to a stinking hot house! After doing a little internet research, I’ve decided to install a smart thermostat. When I forget to adjust the thermostat, now I simply do so from my phone. So if you are a lot like yours truly, do your research and get yourself the latest smart thermostat for your Heating and Air Conditioning system. A smartphone with the app for the thermostat is all you need, and you can control your thermostat settings from anywhere, at any time! As for me, I can’t wait until 5:00pm, so I can get back and remove that fatigued, old thermostat to replace it with this fancy new smart one. I will admit – the only real downside to a smart thermostat is the upfront cost, but you make that back in savings, I’m telling you!

wireless thermostat

HVAC filter criteria

When you go to the hardware shop, you see this insane surplus of a/c filters to choose from. While it’s imperative to always have superb air conditioning, it is equally crucial to know what’s satisfactory as an accessory part for the unit. Why does it matter? That air filter will make your HVAC system last longer and improve the air quality of your home, that’s why! The one that works best with your HVAC system will greatly improve air quality at home, and you want that air to be the freshest it can be. With that, the choice of air filters is important! Shopping by price alone. The least overpriced air filters on the market don’t always do the best job in regards to keeping dust, mold and pollen out of the home. If you can see through the air filter at the store, just keep shopping! Transparent filters won’t pull out the mold spores or dander or that kind of nasty stuff, and instead it will be circulating around your home unseen. Once you locate the size filter that you need, find one that is thick but not so thick that it won’t fit your system. The more space required for air to pass through, the more dander, pollen and other particulates are trapped. You will thank yourself later for taking the initiative to get a quality air filter like this, I promise!

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The outdoor element to HVAC

I’ve found in my time as an HVAC contractor, that most people and businesses fail to understand what a compressor does for air conditioning. An outdoor compressor unit needs acceptable air flow, so be sure & leave at least 2-3 feet of area between your plants or structures, and the compressor. Also keep in mind that you’ll need area for repair workers to get in there and repair the device as well, so abide by those spacing rules when adding plants & fencing around your yard. All new homeowners should be made to sit in on these common sense practices before moving in! Choosing their favorite plants and laying them all over their yard is lovely and fine, but my pet peeve is when the outdoor compressor is surrounded by plants. The machine needs to breathe! I’ve been in the business for several years now, and I can’t tell you how many rose bushes I’ve trampled while trying to get to an outdoor unit. I feel bad for the homeowners when this stuff happens, I really do – but come on! That’s like lining the bathroom toilet with floral arrangements. Sure, it’ll spruce up the bathroom, but one day someone will have to fix something in that toilet and those poor flowers will be destroyed! All I ask of people when they’re trying to camouflage their outdoor air handling equipment, is that they imagine someone having to crawl around the unit and account for the space that would take.

our heater picking today to quit

I recently had to go through our own personal version of an armageddon. I literally had virtually everything in our life just fall apart all at 1 time. I lost our task so our bank account was overdrawn, in addition to our best gal dumping me, in addition to getting kicked out of our apartment. I thought I had caught a little break there for a minute when our mom let me transport back in with her, although I swiftly learned that was not at all the case. I became the chores guy… Fix the dishwasher, clean, cook, in addition to then the old gas furnace broke. So on top of everything else, I had to deal with the gas furnace. My mom booked an appointment with her Heating as well as A/C guy to come over in addition to take a look at it. I was the 1 who had to be there, of course. In the meantime, as I was waiting for him to arrive that afternoon, I had to hang out in a chilly house, wearing the last threadbare overcoat I had to our name. I was still cold. He showed up on time, which was a relief, in addition to went directly up the attic to take a look at the Heating as well as A/C system ducts. The repair was larger in addition to cost more than expected, in addition to but I wasn’t exactly the one paying for it, I knew I was going to be dealing with it all the same. On the bright side, we had heat working again in addition to the heating plan would likely not have any more problems in the near future! On the not so great side, our mom insisted on penny pinching from that moment on which included her famously delicious lunches…

heating dealer

Getting a new HVAC system

Several months ago, I experienced a major event happen to me that has affected our life ever since… My Heating as well as A/C stopped working. I know, this is not as serious as some other problems people often have, however it sure was devastating to me. I couldn’t afford to spend the money to replace the whole system, in addition to yet that’s precisely  what I had to do. I had no options. I had to drum up the money to cover the new Heating as well as A/C system. Let me tell you, it wasn’t going to be cheap either! I got behind on almost all of our bills after that. I still haven’t caught up. I remember how I enjoyed the Heating as well as A/C repair people bringing the new plan into the house. I had to take off work to be there… More money lost. On the way in, the men broke our wife’s favorite vase. I was thinking it couldn’t possibly get any worse. I was wrong. The actual replacement itself took almost all afternoon, in addition to the boys kept coming up for cigarette breaks. I was being billed minutely for the work, so how come I was paying for them to smoke every fifteen or 20 minutes? When I finally said something about it they got genuinely nasty in addition to tried to convince me that I was being a (insert word of choice here.) I tried to explain that I was already ticked off because I was having to pay money that I didn’t have, that I wanted this to be over and done with because I only had 1 afternoon off work, in addition to instead of listening to my concerns in addition to being understanding, they were just exhausting to me. I went so far as to call up the business in addition to speak to a manager about their foul behavior directed toward me in addition to their lack of progress on our Heating as well as A/C system. This manager was much more understanding, however the PC call didn’t really seem to do much to help the situation at our house. In the end, they boys did finish installing the whole system, in addition to it was done well at least. I just would never use that business or recommend it, and now I’m still trying to reclaim from this unexpected situation that ate up so much of our savings that I needed for other things.

HVAC tune up