Who needs more cooling

Living in the deep south with super sizzling weather is always worrisome for me.

I was born and raised in the northern eastern portions and spent the better part of three years with different seasons and temperatures rotating.

It was easy to decide from heating to cooling. I just followed the season. Although the gas prices were always insanely high, I remember getting through harsh winters with just a propane furnace and a wood stove in the home office. The mild summers were spent with windows cracked and strategically placed fans to keep a cross breeze going at all times. Not only were ac systems considered an optional fixture in daily life in our hometown, but several of our buddies growing up never even had one in their homes. Ours was an older window cooling system that sat tucked in one of the windows in our small home office. That thing really got us through even the warmest of summers. But these days, our current weather conditions sees typical highs in the upper 72s throughout the year with 100 degree weather through the most harsh Summer heat waves. By contrast to where I came from, a/c systems are an absolute necessity now. Anyone who doesn’t already have a central cooling system more than likely owns a window AC, a portable AC, or ductless mini split, or sometimes owns all three of them. But, finding the right cooling system that will survive the most amount of use with steady performance is not as simple as you think.

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Bad landlords handling a/c

My experience with landlords in the past has been kind of hit and miss.

On the one hand, I have had many landlords that were all amazing and dependable people. If I had a problem in the apartment, I never feared calling them and getting help with some basic necessities and amenities. But, on the other hand, I have had even more disappointing landlords over the course of my renting history One thing that seems to be shared among several of the bad landlords was this total lack of respect and care when it comes to personal privacy. In other words, I didn’t like the landlords who purposefully came in unannounced on a daily basis as a direct show of their ownership of my place. There was one particularly embarrassing moment when I had my partner over and our landlord at the time decided to open my front door separate from even knocking. He simply to let in would-be buyers as the current home had been put up for sale at that point. But, the most horrible experience I have in my rental history is the time my landlord replaced the Heating and Air Conditioning control component to conceal not touching the cooling system itself. My machine was always shutting down during ac cycles and I had to essentially beg him to do something about it. It was getting super close to Summer so I knew I needed an air conditioner system as soon as possible. Unfortunately for me, my landlord thought it would be adequate to simply swap out our thermostat.

furnace filter

I can’t find the black out curtains

I have made some leaps and strides this year to take advantage of as several holiday sales as possible.

Although, this is limited to presents and necessities only. For instance, I needed a current iPad since the late summer, but I got the model I wanted for a few hundred less because I waited a few weeks for a pre-holiday sale to begin. If I randomly saw a pair of speakers I didn’t need for half off, there is nothing in the world that will make me do the purchase unless the ones I own die on the spot. When you start finding these great sales for gifts that you were already planning to buy for buddies and loved ones, it’s an amazing feeling. I’ll start saving a quarter of the cash that I initially expected to spend. Despite these sales from so many different stores, I am having lots of trouble finding the right set of insulated curtains for our home office. Initially it started as hoping to block out more sunshine since my window faces the east and is blasted with sun as early as 6 am on most days. But, after that I started to think about finding curtains that were also thermal crafted to increase the R value of our home. In other words, I wanted to find blinds that kept warm or cool air escaping through the drafty windows depending on the season. A year after this, I’m still looking for the right set of curtains, always seeing blinds in stock, but rarely finding similar sets with thermal foam padding already attached to the back surface of each curtain.

a/c worker

What the smart thermostat can do

I am really impressed by new tech. When I purchased our first touchscreen device about 8 months ago, I was right away floored by the ease of use and the number of features built into such a little gadget and ergonomic machine. Having access to wireless internet, on the fly, wherever I go, was a game increasing addition to our life. Some days I think that I couldn’t live separate from our smartphone… I’m particularly thankful for it when I’m lost trying to find a restaurant, office or some other current destination. Those GPS features are a lifesaver if you’re already jammed for time. With the great experiences across the board with our initial smart devices, it didn’t take long for myself and others to warm up to the thought of a smart control component for a residential heating and cooling system. Really, you connect the control component to your home’s wifi network so that it can link to an application that you access with your PC or ipad. Starting off, this allows total control of the device, anywhere, from all over the world your PC can get a signal. But, since the device is always using wifi, that also means that it can do things like check local weather conditions and scan your home to tailor particular cooling and heating cycles that maximize energy efficiency for your particular apartment and wants. Since it also monitors your usage of the thermostat, such as your general temperature preferences and whether your home or away, this data will also factor into whatever automatic setting your smart control component picks to do.

 

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Can’t afford a heat pump yet

The bacteria and dirt buildup inside is heated when the furnace is fired up again each autumn season, creating a gross and foul smell.

For the longest time, I have struggled with locating efficient ways to keep our southern apartment hot in our on again, off again cold weather. Some weeks it gets as freezing as the low 40s during the night hours and the low 50s in the day time hours. But, a month of cold weather can quickly follow a month of contrasting warmer weather with highs in the mid to upper 72s. With this in your head, it can seem straight-forward enough to deal with heat right before getting slammed with a big cold snap. Generally saying, I have usually owned properties where an electric furnace was used and essentially nothing else. Although these furnaces might seem effective enough, one issue arises when the furnace is left off for most of the year. The bacteria and dirt buildup inside is heated when the furnace is fired up again each autumn season, creating a gross and foul smell. For people with dust irritations like myself, this can be a deal breaker when it takes a decent burn-in time to get the smell out of the furnace every subsequent year. Some people use ductless heat pumps that harvest ambient heat in hot and cold temperatures above 40 degrees, allowing for adequate cooling and warming at a portion of the cost. Sadly, I can’t afford to upgrade to a ductless heat pump yet, so I have resorted to using a space heater instead. Thankfully, our space furnace has an emergency shut off dial on the bottom of the device.

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The HVAC was more than we wanted to deal with

When I purchased a home built in the 40s to renovate, I could have never guessed the degree of work that would be needed to get this locale back in business.

My best friend and soon to be roommate assured me that we had the time, comprehension, and tools to finish everything.

We did not need to hire any outside help. But, even with his experience in construction, he eventually told me that he bit off more than he could chew. When we discovered the ungrounded wiring throughout the home, every one of us were less concerned about it not being up to code and more worried about getting electrocuted. Then came the horrible plumbing that was eventually taken out and done from scratch after my roommate and I cracked the water valve going into the house. The construction project ended up costing as much as a small office in our immediate area. Instead of being a practical and cheap way to become homeowners in our early years, it actually turned into a harrowing learning experience from start to finish. On top of everything too, the home had an uninsulated attic with uninsulated air vent. Anytime we ran the furnace, at least half of the heat would escape into the cold air above. In fairness, that number is really a small estimate, since it rarely feels cold even if the furnace is left on for multiple hours at a time. Trying to heat or cool this newly renovated home was a frustrating conundrum that we only partially remedied by installing a few mini splits at multiple locations inside.

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Weird gift turned out to be helpful

My mother and father often send myself and others unusual or non traditional presents for our birthday each year.

One example is the digital label printer I have only used a handful of times since they gifted it to me when I was a kid Recently they purchased me a weird toaster adapter to toast miniature pieces of bread separate from getting them stuck when pulling them out.

Another year they bought me dance lessons, despite me never showing an interest in the sport whatsoever. But, occasionally their interesting gifts turn out to be big plus sides to our day to day life. There is a gel that you put onto the inside surfaces of your car windows to prevent them from fogging up when it snows or drops in temperature. Ever since they purchased myself that accessory pack with this product inside, I have been using it religiously on a weekly basis with brand new coats each time. This year, they purchased me sun hiding curtains for our apartment. They knew I had a lot of light head in from the cheap curtains that came with the apartment when I moved in. But, what I didn’t realize when I received them was how much they would help with keeping our windows from leaking excessive heat out. We get a lot of cold Wintertide weather in our northern region, making any additional insulation well worth the effort and the cost! Now I can sleep during daytime hours if I need a break, while also having the comfort of knowing our energy waste has extremely lowered.

Air quality systems

Installing a/c was not that bad

Sometimes my stress gets the best of me, particularly when I have a tough or awful chore to accomplish.

Even the idea of raking the yard after the first sign of leaves dropping each year is enough to raise my heart rate and get the blood moving.

Although, once the grueling process is completed with, it never ceases to amaze me how good I feel to have something so unsettling finished at last. Cleaning the outside of our home really took multiple or 6 weekends in a row to get from start to finish. The entire time I kept worrying over every last detail and the daunting reality of knowing how much work I had ahead of me. Then I was completely finished. I don’t think the realization that I was done with the difficult chore set in until a day afterward. I was leaving for work and admired the clean outside of the house from the road while I pulled out of our driveway. Despite this, I got overly concerned when I purchased a current portable cooling system and slowly noticed the upgrade process wouldn’t be as simple and seamless as I had initially thought it would be. In actuality, my minimal experience in the setup process with window cooling systems barely crossed over into the realm of the installation process with portable units. I pressed on, and at last I found a useful video online detailing every step of the process so I could learn it easily.

Air conditioning expert

A package HVAC unit

My best friend Mark has been living in the same current home for the last 4 years.

It’s a ground floor home with no levels above or below, only one to the right side since he happens to live in the end home The whole building was built sometime in the late 70s, but it has stood the test of time miraculously well.

Mark and I were told the plumbing was re-piped a few years back and current roofs had been set up only weeks prior to our friend Mark signing his very first lease there. The condition of the apartments was due in part to how meticulous the property managers are with maintenance and care all year long, no matter the season or weather conditions. Even the lawn is kept mowed about once a month through the wet season. As far as the main heating and cooling systems are concerned, the property managers recently installed package Heating and Air Conditioning systems for each little apartment. Unlike traditional split-style systems that separate, or cut the cool air handler from the sizzling condenser, these style of systems are exactly what the name suggests. Both portions of the cooling system are housed in a single metal casing, allowing for easy access for maintenance and service. Also, there is less energy loss compared to some mini systems where the refrigerant has to travel farther to go back and forth between the many components. If they’re packaged together, the length of travel is completely done away with.

Quality AC service

Adding curb appeal

I spent the better part of yesterday fixing up the appeal of my yard.

Aside from our normal turf and weed maintenance, I decide to cut back several of the trees in front of our home that are out of control from years of abuse. My buddy complimented the current look which set myself on a path of more curb appeal. In place of the worn walking path that sits between our front porch and our paved driveway, I decided to set up these big stone pavers. This way it would look like a brand new sidewalk leading between the home and the driveway where I park our cars. But, most pressing of all, I have always been unhappy with how ugly our cooling system condenser component looks as it affixes along the side of our house. One of our friends has flowers planted around his condenser, although I was distraught that thick flowers like that could possibly inhibit the air flow of the big fan inside. Rather, I came up with the method of building a small custom wooden surround going around the machine, about a few away on each side of it. In place of traditional fencing material, I opted to purchase wood lattice board that allows for almost total uninhibited air flow for the big a/c device. To make it look even nicer, I dug out an older can of exterior paint that I used on the outdoor portion of our home years back. In the end, I had a beautiful white fence wrapping around our once ugly cooling system.

 

Adding curb appeal