Air conditioner maintenance:

If you have a newer and larger home, you no doubt have an air conditioning unit sitting outside your house. If you are like most people, you also have not looked into how to maintain it. However, good maintenance on your AC unit will save you a lot of money in the end. While it will, of course, saves you on your energy bill, it will also save you from having to replace your HVAC unit as well. It might not be too hard to imagine that your home’s HVAC system has several parts. Whether you use an AC and furnace combination or a heat pump, your system will have both an interior unit and an exterior unit. The exterior unit in your homes heating and cooling system has both a condenser coil and compressor. Likewise the interior unit in your homes HVAC system has both an evaporator and blower. Before we start doing any maintenance on either of these, be sure to cut the power off to the HVAC unit through both the homes breaker switch and the shut-off switch near the unit outside your home. Starting with the external unit, you need to clean the inside of the heating and cooling unit. Wipe down the fins around the outside of the unit and make sure any bent fins are straightened. Then clean the debris around your external unit, make sure it is level, and finally clean the evaporator coil. While it is a lot of work, it is definitely a good investment in keeping your heating and cooling system running efficiently for a long time.

Boiler maintenance:

As with most things, good maintenance is important. You can, of course, spend 10’s of thousands of dollars and buy a new car, but of course if you don’t keep up with changing the oil, it’s going to break down on you in no time. Could you imagine flying in an airplane that never gets any kind of maintenance? Well I am sure it would be downright terrifying considering how old those things are. A home is no different either. Since a house is so big and has so many different things to keep up, it can be a chore if you are unprepared. For those who have boilers, we are going to discuss some important tips for keeping your device operating effectively and efficiently throughout the winter. The first thing you want to check for your boiler is your air vents. Dirt may aggregate in vents, especially in gas boilers, so it is important to inspect and clean your vents and your flue regularly. If you have a boiler, you know how important it is to keep up with your water levels. A boiler can quickly become damaged irreparably if the water level is too low. The right amount of time to check the water level of your boiler is about every 3 weeks. So be sure to put it on your calendar. If you find your water level is lower than usual, you need to check your plumbing. Gas leaks may also occur in your boiler system, so be sure to check for damaged or worn out parts. It’s also a good idea to speak to a certified service technician if you want to ensure your system is in ideal condition.

heating

Like a fish out of water

After only a few months living up in the north, I see now why people are envious of the people who live in the south their whole lives. I also see why so many people travel down to the south during the winter. It’s freezing up here! Last month I was sent here on a work trip, and it has been a tough time to say the very least. It’s always super cold, people seem to be in a bad mood (most likely because it’s so damn cold), and I feel like the town I live in is always under a blizzard warning! We are surrounded by feet of snow, and breaking the ice off my SUV and driveway is just terrible. The people up north do have one thing that I have started to fall in love with however, which is radiant heated flooring. I get why it’s not popular at all down in the southern part of the country, but radiant heated floors are the only reason I have been able to stick around up here. As soon as I get home from work, I can lay down on the floor with my puppy and snuggle up while watching some television. It’s also super eco friendly and cheap to have! Heated floors have no ductwork, so they’re low maintenance too; you don’t need to buy air filters at all. As long as I’m still living somewhere with some proper radiant heated floors and some fun things to do on the weekend, I think I can stick it out up here.

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Family of eight

There is just something about growing up in a big family that most people just won’t understand. Back in the day when I was a little kid, we had to share everything! If you can name it, my brothers and I had to share it. All the way from clothes, to video games, to backpacks. Whenever I see my friends kids walking around with their very own iPhone or gameboy, I feel a bit jealous that I couldn’t do that when I was a kid. Growing up in my parents house, the worst part about sharing was during the summer. We all lived in a pretty broken down house in the middle of the country, so cool air was hard to come by. All we had to keep us warm was this super small air cooling system that was only strong enough to cool about half of a room. Due to the fact that there were six of us, it didn’t work very well. To substitute the lack of air conditioning, we would do crazy things. Sometimes we would spray water through the standing fans, but that often got to messy. We asked our parents if they would call over a nearby HVAC service install man to come and end our misery, but they said that the lack of air conditioning would make us tougher when we became adults. Now that I am in my thirties, I can tell you that was not true! If anything, it made me more of a baby whenever I am somewhere without strong and chilly a/c!

Sick of work, literally.

I have worked at the same warehouse for the past ten years.  My job is really great and I consider many of my coworkers to be family.  I work third shift so we are a pretty close group. We don’t have clients coming and going at that time so production is our primary focus.   I started having some respiratory issues about three months ago and so did some of my coworkers. We all just thought is was a bad cold that was going around and it would eventually run its course. When the sickness hung around we began to suspect that is was something in the air at the  warehouse. None of our family members were sick so whatever it was had to be there. I decided to talk to management and see if they knew of any changes that had taken place. They said that the only thing that was different was the new air handler that was replaced on the HVAC unit. That was supposed to improve the air quality, not make it worse.  They contacted the HVAC dealer that had done the installation and upon investigation,they found that the updated air handler was more powerful and it was pushing dust and debris through the ductwork that had been undisturbed by the old unit. The air quality in the warehouse was worse and the filter was almost completely clogged. Our manager arranged for a complete cleaning of the ductwork and after that it was much better. We are all glad that it was a fixable problem because no one wanted to have to find a different job.  It is hard to find a group of people who work as well together as we do.

ductwork

Haunted HVAC system

I don’t believe in haunted houses, well not anymore I don’t. When I was a little girl the situation was far different, and I could have sworn I heard things moving in the attic late at night. My dad told me it was probably just rats, which wasn’t as comforting as he thought. I am actually not sure if I prefer rats over ghosts, both of them make my skin crawl. Like many things, as I have grown older I have come to understand the fears of my youth and what caused them. Any old fears I might have had have been dispelled by working in the HVAC industry. Sounds silly, maybe, that being an HVAC technician would help me put old ghosts to bed, so to speak, but it’s true. By working with ductwork, old furnaces, and water heaters I have learned about all the different “weird” things they can be responsible for. The low moaning of ghosts I heard as a kid was no doubt just a crack in one of the air ducts, allowing outside wind to whistle through the ductwork. The strange cold spots in our house, which I used to think indicated a spectral presence, were probably the result of coolant leaks from the air conditioner. The sudden blast of heating from the air vents whenever the furnace kicked on would blow around the drapes, making it look like they were moving on their own. All those strange little things I remember have all been proven to be totally natural by my HVAC work experiences.

It’s almost time to quit

Every year I go through a dire transition. As the days of summer time begin to fade, the days get shorter plus darker, plus the air temperature begins to decrease with each passing day, I begin a true metamorphosis into a brand new, cold creature. It starts with a cool breeze passing by when I open the door in the morning, or maybe a cold chill when I wake up in the morning plus assess the air conditions outside of my thick, moderate blankets. Suddenly, my perspective changes. My body plus brain begin to settle into an untypical pattern of continual layering plus snuggling. My outlook becomes sad, nervous, plus bored. And my wardrobe changes immediately, from short sleeved band shirts plus jeans to more than 2 jackets plus thick tights hidden under my pants. This was exactly how my day began this week, in fact. There was a cool breeze from the drafty window behind me as I opened my eyup this morning, setting the tone for an immediate transition into wool jackets plus long underwear. As I headed into work, I confidently congratulated myself on my excellent judgement plus protection from the terrible weather. When I reached my work, though, it wasn’t long before I became aware of a new fact. The office where I work is severely moderate when the heat is turned on. It dawned on me in that moment that I had not worked in the building last winter, when the central heating idea was running each day. I had no clue how moderate the office would be when I dressed for the coming arctic storm, plus now I was suffocating as my body warm. As I settled into the sweatiest day of my life, I wondered if I was possibly too dramatic about the season change.

radiant flooring 

Cooling down the cell phone tower

I work for a cell phone company, but not in the way you think. I can’t imagine being one of those salespeople, or even worse working in the corporate office pushing papers around. I am out in the field, helping to set up new cell towers. Sometimes we even do good works for people who need it, which is why a crew of us went down to the storm-damaged islands to help restore the communications systems. The place got beat up badly, and having no working cell phones wasn’t helping matters. The problem was so bad our short trip ended up taking multiple weeks. We were sleeping in tents on the worksites, with no running water or air conditioning, and it was rough going for a while. I know that not having AC was a pretty low priority compared to the damage all around me. Still, it was harder and harder to get through the hot days knowing that there would be no cooling for us until we went back to our home country. Then our company surprised us with a shipment of small, portable air conditioners, and a generator specifically designed to power them. They were not much to look at, and very weak, but definitely good enough for cooling off the inside of a tent. There were no air filters in them, so they didn’t help with air quality or humidity, but we didn’t care. Having a little AC to look forward to at the end of a hard day made all the difference to our morale, and helped us work harder.

cooling

I’d love a break

Every year I go through a drastic transition. As the days of summer begin to fade, the days get shorter and darker, and the air temperature begins to decrease with each passing day, I begin a true metamorphosis into a brand new, chilly creature. It starts with a cool breeze passing by when I open the door in the morning, or maybe a cold chill when I wake up in the morning and assess the air conditions outside of my thick, warm blankets. Suddenly, my perspective changes. My body and brain begin to settle into an unfamiliar pattern of continual layering and snuggling. My outlook becomes sad, nervous, and bored. And my wardrobe changes immediately, from short sleeved band shirts and jeans to several sweaters and thick tights hidden under my pants. This was exactly how my day began today, in fact. There was a cool breeze from the drafty window behind me as I opened my eyes this morning, setting the tone for an immediate transition into wool sweaters and long underwear. As I headed into work, I confidently congratulated myself on my excellent judgement and protection from the terrible weather. When I reached my work, though, it wasn’t long before I became aware of a new fact. The office where I work is extremely warm when the heat is turned on. It dawned on me in that moment that I had not worked in the building last winter, when the central heating system was running each day. I had no clue how hot the office would be when I dressed for the coming arctic storm, and now I was suffocating as my body overheated. As I settled into the sweatiest day of my life, I wondered if I was possibly too dramatic about the season change.

cool and heat 

Geothermal business basics

As a business owner, I am always on the lookout for ways in which to improve the way in which by company conducts business. I have been the owner of the company for several years now, and we have come a long way with regard to certain processes and procedures–business bottom line-related and otherwise. Recently, several of my employees complained that they had gotten sick lately and they believed that their symptoms were due to the HVAC system in the buildings in which they worked. Concerned but a bit skeptical at first, I encouraged them to get checked out by their respective doctors, and thereby get second, official opinions on the matter. When the results came back, it seemed that the HVAC unit was in fact to blame. As a result, I decided to act upon a somewhat overdue hunch and called our go-to heating and cooling folks to come take a look at our system. Within the first hour or so of them doing so, they confirmed that our geothermal energy heat pump was indeed in need of servicing. Therefore, getting to work right away, they focused on the elements of the system that dealt primarily with the below ground aspects–the ground heat exchanger (GHE) and the heat pump unit (HPU) to be specific. After a few hours of servicing and cleaning them up, the team conducted a few trial runs of the system to confirm that all was well. Apparently things were back up to snuff as my employees’ allergy-related issues seemed to have dissipated within just a matter of days after the unit cleanup had taken place.

HVAC unit