New windows make for a more efficient home

The furnace and air conditioner aren’t required to work as hard or run as often

Buying an old house presents some challenges. While we appreciate the hardwood floors, doors and moldings, there are drawbacks. The house is very difficult to heat and cool. Our local temperature swings from the negative digits into the high eighties. We deal with brutal wind chills as well as excessive humidity. Although I love the large windows that allow light into the home, they are a source of drafts and energy losses. When we first moved in, the windows were original to the house. It was easy to feel the cold air wafting in during the winter. The furnace would run constantly and yet various rooms felt overly chilly. I tried putting plastic over the windows and placing rolled up towels on the sill to minimize the influx of outside air. It helped a little. In the summer, we had issues with dust, bugs and pollen and I blamed the outdated windows. Replacing the windows was an expensive and gradual project. We couldn’t afford to buy all new and have them installed. Instead, we purchased a couple of windows every few months. My husband and I learned how to install them ourselves. We were very conscientious about properly insulating and caulking around them. Because we chose low E, thermal pane, Energy Star rated windows, they were especially costly yet more energy efficient. While it has taken a while to replace the abundance of windows, we are enjoying the results. The house stays cleaner and we are able to maintain a more consistent temperature. The furnace and air conditioner aren’t required to work as hard or run as often. Our utility bills are quite a bit lower. Those savings will help to recover the investment into so many new windows.

 

home owner solutions

Buying a house with a boiler

For several years after getting married, my husband and I rented an apartment.

  • When we were ready to start a family, we started looking for a house to buy.

We spent nearly eight months touring various properties. We were quite particular about the size of the yard, square footage of the home and location. By the time we found a house that met all of our criteria, we were getting desperate. I was anxious to move and prepare a nursery. Our only complaint was that the house was equipped with a boiler instead of a furnace. Neither of us had any experience with a boiler heating system and we worried about noise, energy efficiency and its ability to handle severe winter cold. I did a little research and learned that boilers are often recommended for people who suffer from allergies, asthma or dust sensitivities because they are especially clean. Because the system uses water instead of air to convey heat energy, it doesn’t cause issues with insufficient humidity. Boiler operation is virtually silent and with few moving parts, especially reliable. Boilers tend to last a really long time and provide a wonderfully gentle comfort. They easily handle the most severe weather and avoid drafts and stratification. Modern boilers are quite energy efficient and can link to baseboard heaters, radiators, radiant flooring, towel-warmers and snowmelt systems. Plus, there’s the added advantage of zone control. We ended up buying the house and the boiler heating system is one of the best features. We’ve had no complaints with it.

 

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Duct cleaning makes an improvement

I assumed that this would be an invasive and expensive project.

Last winter, I noticed that cooking odors were spreading throughout the entire house and lingering for hours and hours. When we’d head to bed at night, our bedrooms would smell of whatever I’d prepared for dinner. With the outside temperature down into the teens, there was no chance of opening a window and airing out the house. We were running the furnace at maximum capacity. The presence of the cooking odors made me more aware of the amount of dust floating around. I started getting concerned about the health and cleanliness of our indoor breathing air. I finally contacted a local HVAC contractor and asked him to take a look at the heater. The technician inspected the inner workings of the furnace and found no problems. He then tested the ductwork and discovered an alarming amount of debris built-up in the pipes. He said that this accumulation of dust and dirt was absorbing odors and spreading them to every room in the house whenever the furnace operated. Because our breathing air passes through the ductwork multiple times per day, any toxins concealed within the system are a big concern. Mold spores and bacteria can easily become airborne and cause health risks. The technician suggested duct cleaning. I assumed that this would be an invasive and expensive project. Instead, he brought in a machine that resembled an oversized vacuum cleaner, complete with a hose and brush attachment. The brush works to dislodge stubborn contaminants that then get sucked into the hose. The duct cleaning resulted in a significant improvement in the comfort and hygiene of the home. It also increased the efficiency and capacity of the furnace.
ductless mini split

Finally investing into AC install

I held off on the installation of central air conditioning for quite a few years.

A whole-home cooling system simply isn’t a necessity in my local area.

We are far more concerned about the winter weather and effective heating. We run the furnace for approximately 8 months out of the year. I had no interest in switching from paying a huge natural gas bill to facing a high electric bill. For our brief and sometimes chilly and rainy summer season, we were able to manage with opening windows, running box fans and window air conditioners in the bedroom. The house would sometimes get overly hot and sticky. The screens of the windows let in quite a bit of dust, pollen, bugs and fumes. We were bothered by the noise of traffic, road construction and barking dogs. It wasn’t until we needed to replace the furnace that I finally invested into central cooling. The HVAC company was offering a special and there was a rebate from the manufacturer. Purchasing heating and cooling equipment at the same time actually saved me money. I was able to upgrade to a better efficiency furnace and an air conditioner with an impressive SEER rating. I didn’t expect to run the air conditioner all that often. Instead, I’ve found that I enjoy operating the fan feature of the cooling system even when the weather is mild. It works to circulate and filter contaminants out of the air. The house feels fresher, cleaner and more comfortable. One those especially hot and humid days, we can lower the thermostat and enjoy the perfect temperature. The air conditioner helps to combat excess humidity. We sleep better at night and enjoy greater productivity during the day.

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HVAC maintenance is so worth the money

I’ve had a bit of a good natured feud going with a neighbor.

We’re not actually buddies as we see the world from vastly dissimilar perspectives.

But we try to be good neighbors nonetheless. However, he’s always telling me what a chump I am for getting HVAC maintenance from the HVAC professionals at the HVAC company. He’s just that sort of guy. The man really doesn’t have any sort of social filter on his mouth. I’d probably avoid him at all costs if I didn’t know that he was actually harmless and could actually be kind at times. So he thinks that stuff like HVAC maintenance is just all made up. He gave me this long speech once about how HVAC equipment is already built to last for at least two decades. The HVAC company is just conning me and taking my money. I asked him for the source of this information and of course, he couldn’t produce it. I know full well that HVAC maintenance is so worth the money. Not only does the HVAC unit operate at peak efficiency but an HVAC unit receiving consistent HVAC maintenance lasts about 7 years longer. So it was with great but subtle joy that I walked over to his house while an HVAC company was ripping out his heating and cooling equipment he’d only had for about 15 years. It was garbage now and he had to totally replace the whole HVAC. I couldn’t help but ask what the problem was. While he was in no mood for getting hassled, he did sort of smirk at me when I suggested maybe getting some HVAC maintenance this time around.

 

 

ductwork sealing

Putting in air conditioning in the garage is awesome

I’m so happy I pulled the trigger and put some heating and cooling inside my garage.

This idea was spawned by a neighboring house.

This place is a few streets over and was a custom build. I would watch the progress each day when I was on my walks. While it’s not exactly palatial this place, it’s not far off. The size isn’t too much but man, it has everything. That includes a four car garage that has it’s own central air conditioning system. I walked over and talked to the HVAC professionals as they were putting it in. The garage had shiny floors and came with all sorts of other amenities and even a separate bath and shower. Apparently, the owner planned to spend a lot of time in his garage. That got me to thinking since I have a work bench in my garage but sort of got forced out of there. We just ended up packing the garage with so much gear and junk. But that new house inspired me to actually utilize the space in my garage. I gave my family fair warning and then I tore through the garage and got rid of all the junk. Then, I spent some time organizing our gear properly and the result was I had plenty of room to do my thing at my work bench. That’s when I decided I’d take it all to the next level and put in a ductless heat pump. Having heating and cooling outside in the garage is just the best and I would highly recommend it to anyone who’s asking.

Commercial air conditioning

Changing my perspective changed my HVAC cooling bill

When I walked into my house and the thermostat was set in the lower 80’s, it felt cool, crisp and comfortable to me

I guess I should have gone to the source right away. Instead, when I moved down here, I just went all out on the air conditioning as I really didn’t know what else to do. It was so hot and I was from the north where the summers could get hot but they never stayed hot. This place stays near a hundred degrees for like four months straight. So of course, the only thing I knew to do to manage was to crank the HVAC cooling. And it cost me a bunch of money for the first two years I was here. I mean a bunch of money. So last year, I finally went to a friend in the office who is a native of the region and asked him how he did HVAC cooling in his place. I told him what I was averaging on monthly HVAC cooling costs and he almost fainted. We chatted about it a bit and I realized that I was going about this air conditioning thing all wrong. For me, when the temperatures hit 75 or so, I flipped the thermostat over to HVAC cooling. That was my mistake. My local friend advised me that it’s best if I allow my body to acclimate to the heat during the spring. So that’s what I did last spring. Instead of cranking the air conditioning right away, I simply opened the windows and turned on fans. So by the time the real heat hit in June, I was sort of accustomed to the heat. When I walked into my house and the thermostat was set in the lower 80’s, it felt cool, crisp and comfortable to me. And believe me, I cut my HVAC cooling costs so dramatically that I took a really nice vacation in the fall.

multi split air conditioning

Decked out our office with ductless HVAC

I don’t think I’ve ever seen that sort of smile on Sheila’s face.

She’s been with me now for more than a decade and I still don’t remember her smiling quite that big.

But when she came back from vacation this winter and saw the ductless heat pump, she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was worth every penny I spent having the HVAC company install that ductless heat pump just to see her face. I own a landscaping company and I hired Sheila to run the office more than 10 years ago. Without her holding down the phones, the schedule and all the other stuff she does, I wouldn’t be still in business. And she did all that without any sort of real residential HVAC. Our office is really just part of a sort of warehouse where I store all my equipment. There is a sort of reception area where she is and a small office where I work. But most of the time, I’m out either onsite or bidding a job. I would try to throw a window air conditioner in the part of the office where she was for the summer. And we had a space heater for the rest of the time since our winter isn’t all that tough. But this summer, my dear assistant is going to be in total comfort with the ductless heat pump. I know she is just thrilled at the prospect of not having to dread the summer heat. I even replaced the furniture in that part of the office and got her a brand new chair and computer. Coming back from vacation never felt so good is what she told me.

smart hvac

Every one of us are going camping with a gas furnace plus a generator

I think that sounds terrible, however if I don’t fake being sick, then I’m going to end up entirely being sick after staying out in the chilly overnight for a whole weekend! I would much rather stay home with our cozy central heating plan running in our house

Every one of us are supposed to be going camping this weekend with a gas furnace plus a generator, because my partner thinks that it will be a fun adventure. Occasionally I have to admit that I question my partner’s sense of logic, but he comes up with some crazy ideas plus most of the time I just follow along to keep the peace, i just don’t think about going camping this weekend, though, but the weather entirely has not started warming up all that much around here yet, then even though it’s technically Spring, it’s still pretty chilly outside. The temperature yeahterday was only 45 plus that was during the warmest section of the day. I told my partner that I guess that we’re going to be way too chilly out there in the woods however he seems to guess that the people I was with and I will be fine. He says that with his little heating equipment plus our generator, the people I was with and I will be perfectly hot plus cozy. I have to admit that I have my doubts about that, though. I guess that the people I was with and I are all going to be freezing to death overnight out there in the woods in our tent with its tiny little space heater. I just don’t think if it’s a superb idea or not. I am entirely thinking about pretending to be sick or something so that I don’t have to go. I think that sounds terrible, however if I don’t fake being sick, then I’m going to end up entirely being sick after staying out in the chilly overnight for a whole weekend! I would much rather stay home with our cozy central heating plan running in our house. I can build a fire in the fireplace instead of in a firepit plus entirely like my weekend.

HVAC

The two of us are going camping with a furnace plus a generator

The two of us are supposed to be going camping this weekend with a furnace plus a generator, because my fiance thinks that it will be a fun adventure.

Occasionally I have to disclose that I question my fiance’s sense of logic, however she comes up with some ridiculous ideas plus most of the time I just follow along to keep the peace, then i just don’t suppose about going camping this weekend, though.

The weather really has not started warming up all that much around here yet, even though it’s technically Spring, it’s still pretty cold outside. The temperature yeahterday was only 45 plus that was during the warmest section of the day. I told my fiance that I guess that we’re going to be way too cold out there in the woods but she seems to guess that the people I was with and I will be fine. She says that with her little heating unit plus our generator, the people I was with and I will be perfectly warm plus cozy. I have to disclose that I have my doubts about that, though. I guess that the people I was with and I are all going to be cold to death overnight out there in the woods in our tent with its tiny little space heater. I just don’t suppose if it’s a wonderful idea or not. I am legitimately thinking about pretending to be sick or something so that I don’t have to go. I suppose that sounds terrible, but if I don’t fake being sick, then I’m going to end up legitimately being sick after staying out in the cold overnight for a whole weekend! I would much rather stay apartment with our cozy central heating plan running in our house. I can build a fire in the fireplace instead of in a firepit plus legitimately enjoy my weekend.

 

Zone control