Dual Fuel System costs a lot more to install but is worth it –

The weather in the area where I live is a constant concern. We have fairly short summer seasons, but the excessive humidity and high temperatures make it impossible to get by without air conditioning. The winters are long and brutal, with temperatures well below zero and dangerous wind chill. The spring and fall are unpredictable and rarely mild enough to go without either heating or cooling. Because of relying on temperature control nearly all year round, my monthly energy bills are a large part of the budget. To optimize comfort and efficiency, I chose a dual fuel system for my home. A dual fuel system is far more expensive to install than most other types of heating and cooling. However, the equipment has paid for itself in energy savings. A dual fuel system combines a forced air gas furnace with an electric heat pump. During the warmer weather, the heat pump provides air conditioning. It works on the same principle as a refrigerator, simply moving heat from one place to another to create a cooling effect. It is more energy efficient than a conventional air conditioner and achieves superior dehumidification. When the weather starts to cool off, the heat pump reverses direction to bring ambient heat into the house. There is no burning of fossil fuels, eliminating any fear of carbon monoxide poisoning, fumes or hot surfaces. Plus, there’s no greenhouse gas emissions, making the system very environmentally friendly. However, the heat pump can only manage temperatures down to thirty-two degrees. At that point, the furnace automatically starts up and handles comfort for as long as necessary. The combination of the heat pump and furnace lessens wear and tear on both, leading to longer service lives and less chance of malfunction.

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I used my daughter’s allergies as an excuse to invest into central air conditioning –

I went without central air conditioning for a very long time. I live in an area with very long and severe winter weather, and the heating system is a priority. Because of the short summer season, air conditioning isn’t necessary. Most people get by with portable cooling units, open windows and box fans. However, the outside temperature often climbs into the high nineties, and the humidity is ungodly. My house was overheated, sticky and horribly uncomfortable. I hated leaving the windows open because of the security risk. Plus, I didn’t like providing access to bugs, pollen, dust, exhaust fumes and noise. I’d often wake up in the middle of the night because of a barking dog or traffic sounds. I was continuously vacuuming, dusting and battling mold and mildew. When my daughter started having issues with allergies, I used this as my excuse to invest in central cooling. Because I already have a forced air furnace in place, I was able to use the existing ductwork and air handler. I also took advantage of a manufacturer’s rebate to further trim down the installation cost. I really didn’t care how much it cost because I so badly wanted a whole-home cooling system. I now keep the windows closed, adjust the thermostat and enjoy the perfect temperature. The outside heat and humidity make no difference to indoor comfort. The system is quite energy efficient, runs quietly and provides exceptional air filtration. I keep the windows shut and securely locked, and my home remains much cleaner. I start up the central air conditioner at the first sign of spring and keep it running until the very end of fall.

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Candle smell is affecting the whole house-ductless HVAC or air purifier?

My roommate Sharon makes candles. Her main business is fundraisers for schools. So she makes hundreds of candles at a time and a whole range of scents. The smell in my house is horrible when she is in the school season. The conflicting scents give me a headache. I tried trapping Sharon in one room with her scents. Unfortunately I have a central heating and air system. The scents waft right into the ductwork and the HVAC system ensures that all rooms in the house get the smell. I want to block off the air duct in Sharon’s room but she begged me not to. The candle making process is a warm one and she wants air conditioning. In the winter not having any heating would kind of stink too. What she suggested is a ductless mini split for her room. The air duct could be blocked off and she would still have HVAC. The ductless mini split would provide heating and air and only affect her room. That would be a really expensive thing to do though. I am thinking more along the lines of an air purifier. I could install an air purification system that cleans the smells from the air quality as she makes the candles. It is a quarter of the cost and I think I will make my roommate pay the cost too. She is the whole reason I would need an air cleaner anyway. She is not going to like that though. She really would prefer me to buy her a ductless mini split complete with a smart thermostat.

air purifier plan

No AC and bad air quality in the video store

The worst job I ever had was working in a video store. The job itself was not too bad. I love movies and talking about new films with people. I did not mind stocking the shelves, cleaning the store or the people I worked with. The only reason I hated the job was the lack of cooling and the air quality. Working in the store during the winter was amazing. There was more business so that meant I worked a shift with three other people. We had better movies to talk about and sell to people. Also, the store heating system was great. I could wear dress pants and a shirt. I was the perfect temperature and my eight hour shift flew by. The store in the summer was a whole new animal. The store did not have any sort of air conditioning. All we had was overhead fans. The fans did not do much and I was usually a sweaty beast after an eight hour shift. The store was slow so I worked alone and was irritated by the end. The worst was that the fans were dirty when they turned on. Nobody cleaned the overhead fans to my knowledge. So that meant the dust from the blades went into the indoor air quality. After a shift I was not only hot, but my eyes hurt. They would turn red and water due to the dusty indoor air conditions. It honestly looked like I was high off drugs after my shift was over. The drive home was almost dangerous by how bad my eyes hurt.

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Can’t sell my house with my old heater in it

I am in the process of being a full time southern resident. I have a house in the north that I am hoping to sell. I already have my southern home bought, set up and ready to roll. I have the electric, plumbing and HVAC all set to go. The northern home is the only issue. The main reason the house is not selling is that my furnace system is over 12 years old. Nobody wants to invest in a house that has poor heating. The people who bought my house would need to replace the furnace after a year, maybe two if they are lucky. My real estate agent recommended that I buy a new heating system for the house. She said the house would sell better and quicker with a new heater. I am sure someone would like a brand new heating device in the home. I am not going to buy one for them. I just bought both heating and air conditioning for my southern home. I don’t want to buy a heater device for a home that I won’t live in. What kind of heater would I even buy? I would definitely want to skimp and buy a too small heater for the house. Nobody would want a home with poor heating. I feel it is better to have a good heater, but an older one instead. I am hopeful there is some family that is willing to take my house and take a gamble on the heating equipment. Who knows, it could live another 5 years.

heater worker

Zone control at work-grouped by temperature preferences

I work in a cubicle like setting. A lot of people are not cut out for the cubicle life. I have to say, I like having my own little space. I have decorated it, hid snacks in my drawers and I have a playlist on my computer. The work day could be so much worse. What is nice is that the office has upgraded to a HVAC zone control system. We used to have central heating and air. This meant the whole office had to agree on one centralized temperature. Nobody was happy in that situation. The older women going through menopause would alter the thermostat for heavy AC. The younger guys at the company would change the setting one hour later to heating. It was bad for the equipment and creating bad vibes in the office. Zone control is having a ductless mini split in certain rooms of the office. Each room gets their own equipment and thermostat. How the office broke us up is in groups of four and by temperature preferences. We had to take a survey all about temperature control. How much AC in the summer and how much heating in the winter? Would you rather be too hot or too cold? We then were put in a group of people that have similar temperature needs. What is neat is my group of four is all from different departments. I got to make new friends and I am finally the right temperature at work. Zone control is saving the office money too since none of the groups hardly touch the thermostat anymore.

zone control

Placement of the ductwork is bad

The placement of my air ducts is just horrible. I want to find the HVAC contractor that set up the ductwork and shake him. The ductwork travels through the ceiling of the house and releases from an air vent. The placement of the air vents are no good. One of the air vents is right above my stove. So anytime I fry something on a burner, the steam and odor gets sucked up into the ductwork. The whole house then reeks of what I am cooking. Next, the steam and grease frequently ruin the air vent. I swear I have to take off the vent and clean that portion of ductwork every month. Another air vent is right above the shower. The steam from the shower then creates condensation in the vent when the cooling system is on. I am always battling mold in that section of the HVAC ducts. The last horrible placement is right above my bed. You would think having air blowing directly on you at night would be great. I hate it. I frequently wake up because I am too hot or too cold. It is almost like the HVAC is working too well since I am placed so perfectly. Additionally, the air quality is naturally dry. So having dry air blow on me for hours is no good. I frequently am battling chapped lips, bloody noses and dry skin. I hate my central HVAC so much that I honestly want it all gone. I might be happier with a ductless HVAC option. It seems to be the only solution.

HVAC worker

Storing my brother’s guitars and keeping the air quality perfect

My brother is a wanderer and a hippie at heart. He frequently will travel to a new location with his backpack and one guitar. He then will squat on someone’s couch, play music and work an easy part time job. An ideal hippie would only own a few items. My brother just can’t part with his vast guitar collection. Since he has no real or stable home, I store the guitars for him. I have to say, I like the look of the guitars. If he ever gets short on money, I plan to buy and keep them. I have a whole room set up for his collection. Each guitar has its own shelf with a built in padded stand. I then have a separate ductless HVAC unit for just that room. You can’t let the guitars have no heating or air. It would totally mess up the wood. Air quality is really the biggest issue with the guitars though. If the indoor air quality gets too dry, the wood could split. If the air conditions are too moist, the wood swells. I don’t want messed up guitars because I am not watching the air quality. So not only do I own ductless HVAC, but I have a dehumidifier and humidifier for the room. In the winter I run the heater with the humidifier and the summer has cooling and a dehumidifier working. The guitars are in perfect condition. They actually look better now in my opinion. I get them cleaned and tuned once a year. I like to think the guitars are happier living with me than my brother.

indoor air quality

Dehumidifier in basement

This past winter, my family and I moved into a new house. Almost everything in the house is newly redone and finished. There were brand new hardwood floors, a top of the line heating and cooling system, freshly renovated granite countertops, and my favorite–the master bedroom and bathroom. While most of the house was nice and new, the basement was unfinished. I didn’t mind this because it was simply used as a laundry room. I didn’t think it mattered if we kept the concrete and unfinished look, since we would hardly be down there anyways. However, when the summer rolled around, I noticed that the concrete floor and walls would sweat and the air was sticky. Even going down just to run some loads of laundry, I felt gross and damp. After a little online research, I realized that the humidity in the basement was high. The rest of our house is heated and cooled by a central system that includes a dehumidifier, but the vents don’t extend down to the unfinished basement. I didn’t feel like it was a good idea to leave a dark, warm, and wet space in our home. It seemed like the perfect conditions for some type of strange mold or animal to thrive in. I worried that we might have issues healthwise if we left this problem as is. Luckily, I was able to purchase a sort of box unit style dehumidifier. Unlike the ones that attach to your heating and cooling unit, this dehumidifier stands alone. Quite frankly, it has made a huge difference. There is never any noticeable excess of moisture in the air now. Not to mention, the basement actually feels cooler now, too. Even though we didn’t implement any air conditioning, the moisture in the air was making the room feel warmer than it actually was.

HVAC

Outside air conditioning component

Lately, my wife pointed out that the air quality in our home seemed to be poor. I am not very attentive and don’t notice small details like that. To me, air is air, or at least I thought. However, she was insisting on finding the root of the problem. After looking things up online, cleaning and dusting every surface, and venting with friends, my wife finally called a heating and cooling company to ask their thoughts. They asked if there was an outdoor component to the heating and cooling unit that might need to be cleaned. Sure enough, we had a component that coordinated with our heating and cooling system just outside of the garage. Lucky for me, my wife passed the job onto me. She asked me to clean the outside component because she didn’t want to pay for the HVAC service if it was something we could do on our own. I got some cleaning supplies together and put on some old clothes and made my way into the yard. Sure enough, the component was filthy. There was mud caked all over the outside surfaces. Debris built up inside any place that was visible to the outdoors. I pulled out everything from leaves to sticks. It took me a solid two hours to get the whole unit clean. I sprayed it down with the house, scrubbed it by hand, and used the broom to sweep things around and underneath it. Sure enough, my wife noticed an immediate difference in air quality. Even I couldn’t deny that the house just felt fresher and cleaner. Now I know, I will have to keep an eye on this outdoor component. In order to keep high air quality, I will have to make sure that it’s clean!

air quality