Winter is the worst time of the year when you live in the northeast. The months drag on and time goes by unbelievably slow. Unlike summer, winter lasts for almost half of the year due to the mess it leaves behind come spring.  Keeping warm is a constant hassle because a furnace takes time to turn on and circulate heat throughout the entire house. Second story homes, like mine, are too big to circulate heat regularly during the winter months. Most of the time, people close the doors leading to the upstairs in order keep the heat locked in the first floor for entertaining. Unfortunately, this causes the upstairs bedrooms to have limited amount of circulated heat.  It is a wonder why heat bills rise so high when an entire home can barely be completely heated. Sleeping becomes a chore because I am forced to wear several layers to create my own personal heating system. Wearing socks is often the best solution to keep warm, although it is rather uncomfortable to sleep with multiple pairs on.  There must be some way to adjust the furnace to give of more heat in the winter, but I am afraid it will cost more than I can afford. Heating systems in small houses seem to be more efficient but I do not want to give up my huge space. Our two-story home is the best living for my big family because we are all able to have our own space and enjoy the family history behind it. I am curious if there are any suggestions that will solve my heating issue or if I am expected to simply move to a warmer climate.HVAC

The summer is the best time of the year if you ask me. Since I live in a tropical climate, most people think I’m crazy for saying so. But there really is no better time. In the winter months, when most people are happiest with the weather down here, we are plagued by tourists and snowbirds. Honestly, nothing gets me heated, stressed, and sweating more than dealing with those people, regardless of the temperature or the weather. They never know where they’re going, they clog up the roads, and they make it so there’s a wait in every public place. No, I’ll take the scorching temperatures of the summer over that busy mess any day. Also, what about air conditioning? It exists for a reason! I have to say, whenever I’m too warm, in the car or at home, the A/C always makes me feel better within minutes. If this was 100 years ago, I would fully understand, but HVAC technology is so advanced at this point that complaining because of temperatures, in spite of climate control, is totally silly. Not to mention, even every single public place has air conditioning these days. Whether you’re at the post office, the dmv, or at a restaurant, the A/C is always pumping out nice cool air when it’s hot out. Sometimes actually, those places will run air conditioning all year round, making it too cold in the winter. If it’s 75 degrees outside, the thermostat should be set to 75. But I suppose they’re just trying to use the air conditioning to appease all of the tourists.

thermostat

I have many friends who collect physical things but personally I like to collect my thoughts. For years, I have been keeping journals of my thoughts and experiences every day. When I look back at my childhood and try to think of all the good times I had, the only reason I can somewhat remember those memories is because my mom video taped them all. If it weren’t for that, I really have no recollection of my childhood. I am afraid that when I get even older than I am now, I am going to forget a lot of the things that I did and experienced everyday and I want to somehow remember these things. Earlier I decided to read some entries of a journal I had from 10 years ago. One of the entries I wrote all about the new HVAC unit that I had installed that day. I was so excited and I wrote about how efficient and useful it was. Today, I still feel the same way. I love my heating and cooling unit. In the entry I wrote down a reminder to myself to always get the HVAC unit serviced when I need to and to change the filters often. I am glad I wrote that down because it just reminded me to call an HVAC technician this afternoon. I have been good at getting the unit checked out all these years but sometimes I need a reminder. If I keep my HVAC unit in good shape, I won’t need to get a new one for a very long time.

HVAC service plan

As a child, the homes nearby never had access to central cooling systems. Back in the day, farmhouses were not constructed to withstand anything other than the cool breeze coming through the windows. Our homes were not built to provide air conditioning units. Instead, they solely relied on Mother Nature’s cooling ability. The only places near my childhood home that had any sort of air conditioning were restaurants, theaters and grocers, all of which were a 15-minute drive. Even if my parents had wanted to invest in an air conditioner for our home, it would have been nearly impossible to afford to hire an HVAC technician for installation or repairs. Rural areas lack the need for air conditioning services, which would force us to hire an expensive HVAC technician from the city. It is too costly to pay additional labor costs and out of town transportation fees in the event that we’d need an HVAC repair. My parents decided to install fans and keep our windows open during the warm months to avoid any extra costs that were deemed unnecessary. Central cooling seemed to be one of these “unnecessary” costs in our farm home.  Sadly, the fans and opened windows did not keep me and my siblings cool throughout the hot summer evenings. We spent countless nights tossing and turning in our beds due to the unbearable heat. Often times I had contemplated driving into the city to stay with a friend’s family who had central cooling just to relieve myself. It is sad to say that I have now grown to envy those who are lucky enough to have the systems in their homes.

cooling

At my house, we rely on well water, and it is very hard.  It is full of rust and other minerals, and causes a great deal of damage.  I frequently need to replace faucets and fixtures.  Drains are often slow-moving or clogged.  My tubs and stinks get stained.  A water heater that should last at least ten years, only survives for about three years at my house.  A new water heater used to cost around a hundred dollars.  Now, a new hot water tanks costs over four hundred dollars.  We are trying to figure out a way to fix our water heater problem.  We have tried water softeners, and they can’t begin to solve the hard water issue.  We have even tried digging a new water well.  Nothing has worked.  We are now looking into a boiler system.  A small boiler, installed in the basement, would heat a sufficient amount of water for our household needs.  The boiler could also supply hydronic heat.  We are hoping to install pipes beneath the floor in the kitchen and bathroom.  The floor is accessible from the basement.  The pipes would be installed in a zigzag pattern, and hot water would travel through them.  The hot water would transfer heat to the floor.  We would need to insulate these pipes so that the heat was not allowed to escape into the basement.  I don’t think our hard water would be a problem, because the pipes would be made out of propylene.  Adding hydronic heat to the kitchen and bathroom would not only make the house much more comfortable, but lower our monthly heating costs as well.

I vacuum my house continually.  I have a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.  It is bagless and has a canister that I need to empty.  I am always disgusted by the amount of dust, hair, and debris in the canister.  I don’t like to think about all of the pollutants that are swirling around in my house.  In the winter, the outside temperature is far too cold to open a window.  The same, stale air is trapped indoors and circulated by the furnace.  My family is breathing that dirty air.  It’s no wonder we all cough, sneeze, and get sick all winter long.  Sources of contamination are everywhere.  Our dog is a walking source of contamination.  I find his fur all over the place.  Cooking, pesticides, and cleaning products are bad for indoor air quality.  With the furnace running all of the time, the heated air becomes very dry.  Lack of humidity can cause health problems and damage to furnishings.  I would like to improve my indoor air quality.  There are so many air quality products on the market, that I don’t know what to buy.  They all incorporate into the existing HVAC system.  They all work quietly and are low maintenance.  A ventilator would bring fresh air into the house, even during the winter.  If I invested in a heat recovery ventilator, it would help lower the cost of heating the house.  I could choose to have a humidifier installed.  A whole-home humidifier maintains proper moisture levels, which would let me set the thermostat a bit lower.  This would also save money on my heating bills.

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