The right a/c for your location

Living in the deep south with super hot weather is always frustrating for me.

I was born and raised in the north.

I spent the better part of 3 decades with the four seasons year. Although the gas prices were constantly high, I remember getting through hard Winter seasons with just a propane oil furnace and a wood stove in the kitchen. The mild summer seasons were spent with windows open and strategically placed portable a/c units to keep a cross breeze going at all times. Not only were air cooling systems considered a luxury in my hometown, but many of my friends growing up never even owned one. A lot of businesses went without owning an air conditioner too. It simply doesn’t get hot enough in the north to warrant consistent a/c use. Ours was an older window air conditioner that sat nestled in one of the windows in our small kitchen. That thing genuinely got us through even the warmest summer seasons. But these days, our current temperature sees normal highs in the upper 80s throughout the year with 100 degree weather through the most severe summer season heat waves. By contrast to where I came from, air cooling systems are an absolute necessity here. Anyone who doesn’t already have a central air conditioner more than likely owns a window AC, a portable AC, ductless mini split, or some combination of them all. Unfortunately, finding the right air conditioner that will survive the heat of the southern summers is not an easy task.

Electric heat pump

Can’t get a deal on that though

I have been trying to get as many holiday deals as I can.

  • I will buy three to get one free.

I want half off of everything in the store. I will come early on a wednesday to get a product for a portion of the cost. Tell me what I need to do and I will do it. Although, this is limited to gifts and necessities only. For example, I needed a new Kindle since the late summer season, but I waited to buy it. During the holiday season, I got it $200 less because I waited a few months for a good sale to come around. If I randomly saw a pair of slippers I didn’t need for 50% off, there is nothing in the world that will get me to make the buy unless the ones I own suddenly burst into flames. When you start finding these amazing sales for gifts that you were already planning to buy for friends and loved ones, it’s an amazing thing. 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 considerable trouble finding the right set of insulated curtains for the bedroom. Initially it started as wanting to block out the sunlight. The sun rises so early and wakes me up. But, then I started to think about finding curtains that were also thermal insulated to increase the R value of our home. In other words, I wanted to find curtains that kept warm or cool air escaping through the caulked windows depending on the season. A year later, I’m still looking for the right set of curtains, always seeing just regular blinds available. Finding similar sets with thermal foam padding already attached to the back surface of each curtain is hard.

 

a/c rep

Should have fixed the a/c

My experience with landlords has been hit and miss. On the one hand, I have had as many as 3 wonderful landlords that were all simple sweet and wonderful people. If I had a problem in our unit, I never feared calling my landlord and getting a run down over basic necessities and amenities. But, on the other hand, I have had even more terrible landlords over the course of my long rental history. One thing that seems to be shared among terrible owners is a total lack of respect and tact when it came to personal privacy. In other words, I didn’t like the landlords who barge into my place. It is a direct show of power. There was one recognizably embarrassing moment when I had my lady over and our landlord at the time decided to open our front door without even knocking. He simply wanted to let in would-be customers as the loft had been put up for sale at that point. But, the most horrid experience I have in our rental history is the time our landlord replaced the HVAC temperature control to hide not fixing the a/c device. My air conditioner was always shutting down during cooling cycles and I had to essentially beg him to do something about it. It was getting real close to summer season so I knew I entirely needed an air conditioner fast. Unfortunately for me, our landlord thought it would be decent to simply swap out our temperature control in the house instead.

Ductless heat pump

Renovation disaster

Instead of being a practical and affordable way to become homeowners in our early 50s, it entirely turned into a harrowing learning experience from beginning to finish.

I bought an older home to renovate with my friend Pat. We could have never guessed the degree of work that would be needed to get this house back in business. My friend and eventual roommate assured me that we had the time. Pat had know-how, and tools to finish the job. We did not need to get outside help. But, even with Pat’s experience in construction, he eventually admitted that he was not as qualified as he thought for the level of job. When all of us discovered the ungrounded wiring throughout the house, all of us were less upset about it not being up to code and more concerned with the fatality concerns. Then came the terrible plumbing that was eventually fixed up from scratch after the many of us cracked the water main going into the house. The “project” ended up costing as much as buying an office or a little shed in the backyard. Instead of being a practical and affordable way to become homeowners in our early 50s, it entirely turned into a harrowing learning experience from beginning to finish. On top of all else, the loft had an uninsulated attic with shoddy ductwork. Anytime all of us ran the oil furnace, at least half of the heat would escape into the cold air above. In fairness, that number is absolutely a guess, since it rarely feels warm even if the oil furnace is left on for many hours at a time. Trying to warm up and cool this newly renovated loft was a frustrating feat that all of us only partially remedied by installing 4 ductless mini splits.

furnace filter

Hard to have heating in our area

For the longest time, I have struggled with locating efficient ways to keep our southern loft warm in our crazy winter season.

Sometimes it gets as cold as 45 degrees during the night hours and the low 50s in the days.

But, a week of cold weather can precede a week of nice warmer weather with highs in the mid to upper 80s. With this in your brain, it can seem simple enough to handle separate from indoor heat right before getting slammed with a big frosty snap. Generally saying, I have usually owned properties where an electric oil furnace was installed and essentially nothing else. Although these gas heaters might seem effective enough, one problem arises when the oil furnace is left off for most of the year. The microbial and dirt buildup inside is heated when the oil furnace is fired up again each Autumn season, creating a nasty and stinky smell. For people with dust sensitivities like myself, this can be a deal breaker when it takes satisfactory burn-in time to get the odor out of the oil furnace every subsequent year. Some people use geo heat pumps that harvest ambient heat in temperatures above 40 degrees, allowing for satisfactory ac and warming at a fraction of the cost. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to swap out to a geo heat pump yet, so I have resorted to using a little heater. Thankfully, our little heating system has an emergency shut off switch on the bottom of the unit that is engaged the moment it starts to tip over if you bump into it unknowingly.

Air conditioning technician

Features on smart HVAC

I am genuinely shocked by new technology. When I bought our 1st touchscreen unit about 8 years back, I was immediately floored by the ease of use and the slew of features built into such a small and handy machine. Having access to the internet, on the go, wherever I happen to be, was a game changing addition to my life. Some days I know that I couldn’t live separate from our smartphone, and i’m recognizably thankful for it when I’m lost trying to find a friend’s house or some other important destination. Those GPS features are a real help if you’re already strapped for time. With the great experiences across the board with our initial smart devices, it didn’t take long for me to warm up to the idea of a smart temperature control for a residential heating and cooling device. Really, you connect the temperature control to your home’s wireless network so that it can connect to an application that you access with your PC or phone. Starting off, this permits full control of the device, remotely, from somewhere your PC can get a signal. But, since the unit is constantly using wifi, that also means that it can do things enjoy check nearby weather conditions and meteorological patterns to tailor particular cooling and heating cycles that ups energy efficiency for your particular loft and needs. Since it also keeps track of your usage of the basic temperature control controls, such as your general temperature preferences and whether your home or away, this data will also factor into whatever automatic setting your smart temperature control picks.

 

Company

A more practical gift

My grandparents often send me odd or untraditional presents for my birthday each year.

One example is the digital printer I have only used a handful of times since they gifted it to me 5 years ago.

Recently they bought me a neat toaster adapter to toast miniature pieces of bread separate from getting them stuck when you pull them out. Another year they bought me diving lessons on a whim, despite me never showing any interest in diving whatsoever. But, occasionally their weird gifts turn out to be sizable good things to my monthly life. There is a gel that you wipe onto the inside surfaces of your car. This stops the windows from fogging up in any temperature or weather condition. Ever since they bought me an accessory pack with this product inside, I have been using it a bunch on a biweekly basis with new coats each time. This year, they bought me sun blocking curtains for our apartment. They knew I had a lot of light bleed from the cheap curtains that came with the location when I moved in. But, what I didn’t realize when I got them was how much they would help with caring for our windows from leaking excessive heat. The two of us deal with a lot of frosty Winter season weather in our northern region, making any additional insulation well worth the effort. Now I can rest during daytime hours if I need a break, while also having the comfort of knowing our energy waste has extremely lowered. It seems that more often than not, our parents are wonderful at finding practical presents, even if they’re things you’d never expect to receive as a holiday present.
ductwork cleaning

What the name suggests

My pal has been living in the same tiny loft for the last 5 months.

It’s a ground floor component with no people above or below, only one person lives to the north end.

This is because my pal happens to live in an end unit. The whole building was built sometime in the late 2000s, however it has stood the test of time miraculously great. The two of us were told the plumbing was re-piped a couple of years back and new ceilings had been installed only months prior to my pal signing her first lease there. The condition of the apartments was due in part to how meticulous the property employers are with maintenance and care all year long, no matter the season or weather conditions. Even the lawn is kept cared for about once a week through the rainy season. As far as the central heating and ac systems are considered, the property employers recently set up package HVAC systems for each individual apartment. Unlike traditional split-style systems that separate, or “split,” the chilly air handler from the hot condenser, package systems are exactly what the name tells you. Both portions of the air conditioner are housed in a single metal unit, allowing for simple access for service and care. Next, there is less energy loss compared to typical split systems where the refrigerant has to travel a long way to go back and forth between the many components. If they’re packaged together, the length of time is completely less.

climate control

Installing a/c was not that bad

Sometimes my stress gets the best of me, really when I have a tough or stressful chore to deal with.

Even the idea of raking the leaves up each fall season is worrisome and raises my blood pressure and gets my heart pumping.

Although, once the grueling process is completed, it never ceases to amaze me how nice I feel to have something so horrible finished at last. Painting the outside of our house genuinely took a few months from beginning to finish. The entire time I kept worrying over every last detail and the daunting thought of knowing how much work I had ahead of me until I was almost completely done for. I didn’t get relieved until the whole task was completed. I was leaving for work and admired the job from the road while I pulled out of our driveway. In spite of this, I got overly worked up when I bought a new portable air cooling machine and slowly realized the replacement process wouldn’t be as simple and easy as I had initially assumed. In reality, our small experience in the setup process with window air conditioners barely crossed over into the realm of the updatement process with portable units. I pressed on, and at last I found a great video online detailing every step of the process so I could learn it visually. In no time at all, I was finally ready to set up our portable heating and cooling system. I just wish I had resources enjoy this a few years ago, knowing all of the times I quit something in frustration from not understanding written directions.

 

Air conditioning workman

Putting a fence around the a/c

I spent a long part of last week improving the look of my flower gardens.

Aside from my normal wedding and hedging, I decided to cut back a few of the bushes in front of the house.

They had gotten out of control from years of neglect. My acquaintance complimented the new garden which set me on a path of more gardens around the house. In place of the worn footpath that sits between our front porch and our paved driveway, I decided to set up sizable pots filled with bulbs. This way it would look like a pretty nice house and cute footpath leading between the loft and the driveway where I park our truck. However, most important of all, I had constantly been unhappy with how ugly our air conditioner condenser looks as it sits along the side of our house. One of our pals has bushes planted around his condenser, but I was worried that thick plants like that could possibly hurt the air flow of the sizable fan inside. Instead, I came up with the plan of setting up a small custom wooden fence going around the device, about 4 feet away on each side of it. In place of traditional fencing, I opted to buy wood lattice board that allows for almost total unrestricted air flow for the bigger machine. To make it look even prettier, I dug out an older can of white paint that I used on the outside of our house years back. In the end, I had a very pretty lattice fence wrapping around our once ugly air conditioner condenser.

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