My parents are crazy trying to live in the deep south without an air conditioner

My parents are both from the north, but they were getting sick of the cold winters after being in that area for their entire lives.

When my mother was hospitalized with a chronic case of pneumonia for two weeks, the doctors urged her to seek warmer weather.

That’s when they sold half of their belongings along with their house so they could purchase a condominium down south. They even found a condo that is walking distance from the local beach. I helped them move out of their house, but I was skeptical of where they were headed when they told me about the impossibly low price they bought the condominium for. While I didn’t want to rain on their parade, I had immense doubts and hesitation towards their new home because of the intensity of the real estate market right now. And that’s even more true for places like beach resort cities along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. I asked them about the age of the HVAC system and they admitted that they hadn’t really asked about the heating and cooling system. When I pressed my parents on the air conditioner and furnace, they said they “assumed everything would be fine” regarding the HVAC equipment inside. Just like I worried, they showed up to their new condo only to discover it doesn’t have an air conditioner of any kind installed. They’re stubbornly trying to live in the deep south without an air conditioner right now and I’m worried they’re both going to die of heat stroke once summer finally rears its ugly head for the first time since they moved from the north. They’re not used to that kind of heat!
Air conditioner tune-up

My neighbors have an extremely noisy HVAC condenser

I like my neighbors for the most part, but I have to admit that often their kids are really loud.

I don’t blame the kids because they’re usually just outside having fun, but I’d be lying if I said it never affected my ability to focus while working in my home office.

Sometimes it breaks my attention and I have to put on music in the background to drown out their voices. I wonder if I’m going to struggle to this degree if I have kids of my own someday soon. I hope that I will grow to have more patience in the future, especially if children of my own are actually on the horizon. I don’t even have a partner right now, so that would have to come first of course. Honestly, I have issues with loud noises in general. I had a job for a long time where the a/c vent would make a ton of noise while the system was running. It drove me insane for the entire time I worked in that office, so much so that I was forced to use ear plugs at the end. Right now my neighbors have a similar problem with their HVAC condenser unit outside. It’s constantly making noise while it runs and it’s also affecting my sense of concentration while I work at my desk in my home office. Thankfully I saw a heating and cooling truck at his house the other day and it appeared that he was getting a quote on a new HVAC system to replace the old one. That might mean a brand new HVAC condenser that doesn’t make a ton of noise like the current one while it runs.

oil heater

I loved working in the campus library because the indoor climate was so comfortable

It was quiet, absent of distractions, and had a pleasantly comfortable indoor climate because the school had good air conditioning in all of its buildings

College was full of both positive and negative experiences, but it’s easy to look back with rose colored glasses and forget about the bad times. Honestly, there were more days spent feeling depressed and downtrodden than there were days where I felt like I was on top of the world. Much of my time was spent studying in one of three places. I either did my work in my dorm room, the local coffee shop, or the campus library. While I liked to party with my friends on the weekends when I was done with my work for the week, that wasn’t the case during the week. Weekdays were hectic and busy, always spent studying in one of my favorite places. The local coffee shop was great for the endless supply of coffee and pastries, but sometimes it was loud and full of people. That isn’t the best place to work if you need to focus and are easily distracted like I am. My dorm room was full of distractions, so more often than not I would work in the campus library. It was quiet, absent of distractions, and had a pleasantly comfortable indoor climate because the school had good air conditioning in all of its buildings. My college is in a southern climate and air conditioning was essential for most of the year outside of some weeks during the winter when it gets a little cold outside at random times. I remember a few times when the library had the heating system running, but usually it was the air conditioner that they had on inside the campus library.

 

Hot water boiler

Being cheap with air conditioning can result in dangerous indoor climate conditions

My brother is the cheapest person I have ever met.

He once drove a car on no oil for 200 miles before his engine nearly exploded on the side of the interstate.

Needless to say, it was totaled after that little experience and he had to get another used car to abuse following his trip to the dump. All he needed to do was either check the oil once in a while himself and add some if need be, or have the oil changed by a reputable mechanic of some kind. Either way, being cheap and lazy got my brother nowhere in life but through a path of pain and misery. I have two children that I’m struggling to raise on my own and I hate to admit that I use their uncle as a model of a person they do not want to emulate at any cost. It goes even farther than the episode with his car. He does it with his house too. Despite how he comes across, my brother has a good job as the head of maintenance at a university in our county. He makes fairly good money at what he does everyday, so it’s not like he lacks the funds to pay for necessities in life. Why he thought that he could simply go without using indoor climate control in the summer is beyond me. He knows that we have a lot of mold problems in this area and that letting indoor humidity go unabated is a recipe for disaster. I have an air conditioner running for most hours of the day. If I neglected using an air conditioner, I would have poor indoor air quality in my house. It’s one thing to do this to myself, but I have two young children in this house with me.

boiler repair

Temperatures dropped into the 60s today and I took my family to the park

I love my family and relish every single moment I get to spend with my wife and my kids.

My father was busy during the few years I lived in the same house as him and he constantly rebuffed my attempts to play with him after work. I just wanted to throw a ball around and spend time with my dad, but now those days are gone and I’m only left with memories of what things could have been, instead of what they actually were. Instead of following in his footsteps and making the same mistakes, I am making strides to avoid those exact kinds of errors. The last thing I want to do is know I could have done better and still fail to do so in the end. It kills me thinking that I could follow down the same path and feel like I didn’t do enough or didn’t have enough strength or resilience to avoid it. So today for instance, I’ll be taking my family to the park because temperatures outside are going to be comfortable in the 60s instead of another hot summer afternoon in the 80s like last week. It gives the air conditioner a break and a chance for us all to get some fresh air. Our children love playing at the park because there is a lot of playground equipment that is new and upgraded compared to some of the other parks in the city. My wife and I get a chance to catch up and bond with one another as we’re both fairly busy throughout the week. It’s nice to get out of an air conditioned house for a change, especially when the weather outside is cool and comfortable.

 

heating business

My boss is finally upgrading our indoor climate control system at work

I want to say that I love my job because I genuinely do most days out of the month.

The pay is great and the hours are extremely flexible, but the conditions we’re forced to work in aren’t so great.

For one, our former office building had a mold problem and several employees were getting noticeably sick. You might think that it’s great our employers then made the decision to move our operations to a different building far away from the old one. But here are two reasons why that isn’t the case. For one, they moved us into another old building that might have similar problems, but we won’t know for sure until the results from our private air test come back after a few of us chipped in to get it analyzed for fungal spores. Secondly, we warned our boss about the problems with mold in that building a year before he took action. The reason we’re doing an air test in the newer building is because that’s how we finally proved the original building was “sick” and no longer safe for human occupancy. When our boss caught wind of our recent air test effort, he randomly announced an upgrade of our indoor climate control system. That includes the air conditioner, furnace, and the air purification system. I’m happy that our boss is upgrading the HVAC in our office, but it’s not going to be enough if our air test comes back with positive results for toxic mold. You can’t simply put a new air conditioner in a “sick” space if you don’t remove the source of the contamination itself. Sometimes the a/c is the source of the mold, but that is often not the case with indoor spaces that are deemed “sick.”
ductwork cleaning

Sooner or later I’ll have enough money saved to get a heat pump at last

I used to be terrible about saving money when I was a kid.

  • My parents gave me a piggy bank but because it was a reusable one with a removable opening at the bottom, it did not have the intended effect of forcing me to fill it to the brim to get the cash out.

Instead, I’d usually fish out the money after accumulating at most $20 to $30. As anyone can imagine, that’s not particularly conducive towards actually saving large quantities of money. I didn’t learn the exercise very well until the end of my college career when I was finally living in my own apartment for the first time in my life. I suddenly had lots of bills to pay and no choice but to work my tail off to pay them, which involved strict budgeting so I wouldn’t overspend every week. For the first few years, the best thing that I could possibly do was budget enough to make ends meet. That meant living paycheck to paycheck for a good portion of my 20s. Now that I’m a lot older and working a much better job than I was 10 years ago, I’m no longer living paycheck to paycheck. Not only can I set aside money to save for emergencies, I can set aside enough money for two separate savings accounts. That’s what I’m trying to do as a means to afford a new heat pump next year. I’m coming up on my 15 years mark on my central HVAC system and I have decided that I want a heat pump instead of relying on an electric fan-forced furnace. Those heating coils smell disgusting after they sit for a year and the loss of energy efficiency is serious if you plan on using your furnace to heat your house in the autumn and winter seasons.

 

air conditioning business

The hotel gave us a free upgrade when our room’s a/c stopped working at night

My husband and I have been wanting to go on a vacation since the beginning of the pandemic, but we both had to wait for both financial and personal reasons.

Thankfully this year things seemed to change when my husband’s job moved him to remote work and I landed a new job doing something similar.

Then we just had to find the right time to schedule a plane trip to take advantage of reduced rates. I think this has largely changed since gas prices increased, but we got a really good deal on our plane tickets because of our timing. This was following months of the airline industry getting hosed by the unintended consequences of the pandemic surging at full speed. Not to mention our hotel room came with a small discount as well. We thought everything was going to be perfect until we started unpacking and realized that the room felt fairly warm compared to the hallway we had just entered from. After trying and failing to get the air conditioner started, we called the front desk and they offered to give us a free upgrade on our room for the inconvenience of forcing us to move to a different room. Instead of a standard one bedroom room, we were upgraded to a suite just because the air conditioner in the original room was broken and the hotel staff didn’t realize it before renting the room to us. We had a lot of fun on our trip, in no small part due to our amazing hotel room upgrade to a suite instead of a single.

Heat pump repair

All of the rooms in the local ER have isolate air systems in them

The old hospital in my city has been around for the past six decades.

A lot of the construction is obviously old despite their unsuccessful attempts to modernize the campus over the years. For one thing, there was a mold problem affecting several wings of the old hospital so they had to tear down that section and rebuild. The problem is that the air going through those sections of the hospital were on shared air systems with the rest of the hospital. So in actuality, the remaining wings of the hospital were potentially exposed to mold spores from the section that was torn out and rebuilt. I can still smell the mildew odor on that hospital, and this is years after the supposed “repairs” were made to the then affected wings of the hospital. I assume the whole hospital is affected at this point. Thankfully, a brand new hospital was built on the opposite side of the city over the past two years and it’s finally open. This new hospital had the benefit of being designed and built after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic so they created rooms and wings that have isolated air by design. Even the individual rooms in the emergency room all have isolated air systems in them. If a single patient has COVID-19, the isolated heating and cooling systems will prevent that virus from easily spreading to other patients. That’s unfortunately what happens in nursing homes that lack isolated ventilation systems for their air conditioners and furnaces. I feel much safer being in the new hospital as opposed to the old one, especially when I think back to the mold problems from before and never wanting to get exposed to that again willingly.

Wifi thermostat

It’s really nice having a new air conditioner with a higher SEER rating

My old car had the worst gas mileage out of any vehicle I’ve owned.

I don’t know what possessed me to purchase an SUV, other than being sick of looking for preowned cars and thinking I had discovered a great deal.

In reality, the car needed work and the gasoline required to get it from point A to point B was insanely expensive. I owned this car during periods of both expensive and cheap gasoline, and it never occurred to me that the car was cheaper to drive during periods of lower fuel costs. It always felt like a gas guzzler regardless of the average cost of oil in my country. When I finally broke down and sought out a new car via dealership financing, I was happy to trade in my old SUV to get a car with better gas mileage for a change. It feels amazing driving a car everyday that makes me feel as if I’m getting a considerable deal on transportation expenses. That’s how I felt after getting a new air conditioner and experiencing the diminished cost of cooling my house compared to the old one. I asked for an air conditioner with a higher SEER this time around and the HVAC supplier sold me a system that far exceeded my expectations. Now that I have a new air conditioner that is much more energy efficient, I don’t feel like I’m killing myself anymore just trying to afford keeping my house cool. After I save enough money I’m going to get a new heating system with better energy efficiency as well.

 

HVAC maintenance