Got smart thermostat because I forgot to turn off AC all of the time

How many times have you left the house and realized the AC was still running? More instances than you can count, I’m sure. I have a tendency to wake up late in the morning, so setting the thermostat is the last thing on my mind when I’m rushing to prepare for work. You can imagine how my utility bills can climb, especially power bills, when the hot summer months or frigid winter months come through. I used to try setting the thermostat at a reasonably high temperature all the time, but it proved too hot at night for me to bear it. Then I started setting the thermostat, and telling myself to remember to adjust it before I left the house, but obviously my memory wasn’t so great. After a few insanely high electric bills, I sought advice from a friend who works for an HVAC company as a contractor. “Pick up a smart thermostat”, he suggested, “so you can fix the thermostat while you’re at work”. It sounded like some kind of futuristic technology, but the reality of it was simple in application. So, I followed his advice and bought a smart thermostat that links up to the wifi installed in my house. By doing this, I can remotely control the thermostat, which makes a huge difference in my electric bill without causing unnecessary discomfort. Now I’m saving money and becoming more efficient!

climate control

Bathtubs and Radiant Flooring

I never ever used to be a bathtub type of person, it just wasn’t my thing sitting in water. And I am always cold, I mean seriously cold. I don’t like to be cold and the thought of getting out of the tub into the cold air? Not for me. But, then I had children and it became a luxurious escape at the end of the night when I was exhausted. I still didn’t like being cold, but I needed the hot release. Well, my husband came home one day wanting to do a total upgrade on our heating and air conditioning system for the house and we would be re-installing a new and better system said to be more cost and energy efficient when it came to heat mostly. Living in the mountains this sounded like a great idea! I met the HVAC technician that next day and he proceeded to tell me what he thought would work for our house. The term Radiant Flooring came up and I was intrigued. Apparently, it is installed through the floorboards with a piping system that warmed up the water thus turning into heat and rising very slowly to the ceiling. I was told that heat sits and stays longer in the air, thus making it way more efficient. Then, he said the magic words, it would make my bathtub experience a whole new love! Stepping out onto a toasty warm floor and to have the heat rising? Oh. my goodness, this sounded too good to be true. I think I will be having nightly and maybe even daily baths from now on!

heated floors

Infant and AC Issues

I am a new mom as of one month ago. I was a nanny for over 20 years, so I really felt prepared on most levels for the birth of my own child. Then she came. She came out crying. She has not stopped crying. I have never in all of my years ever met a child that cried so much, but worse a child that could not be comforted. Nothing works for her. We wrap her tight in a swaddle she still cries. I breastfeed her for an hour, she keeps crying. My husband feed her the bottle instead and crying. Nothing can get this baby to stop crying. We had a doctor’s appointment for her to just check on basic growth and she cried the entire car ride. When we got in the building it was absolutely freezing. I commented to my husband that someone was seriously over zealous with the air conditioning system that day since it felt like the North Pole! He laughed, but then he realized that the baby had stopped crying! She didn’t make one peep the entire appointment, so we couldn’t even explain it to the pediatrician. We thought maybe we were done with the tears when we went to leave and the second we got in the car she started up. My husband said he had an idea and took her out of her seat and brought her back in the building. I wasn’t sure what his plan was but she stopped crying and we both looked at each other with this lightning bolt of knowledge. It was the air conditioning, she liked to be cold! We put her in the car and turned up the AC, she stopped crying. We got in the house and turned up the AC and no tears! So, we instantly called our local HVAC technician to set up zone control for her room to have her own personal air conditioning! We were so excited we were about to finally get some sleep and quiet!

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Humidifiers

In the cold winter months, running the heat can make the air feel “dry” in my house. I don’t like running the heat because it makes me feel “stuffy.” It was explained to me that there was a lack of humidity in the house, during the winter months, with the heat on. To test this theory, we set-up a little tabletop humidifier that you can get at any store. Most people pick them up at “drug stores” when they are feeling sick and stuffy. By morning, we noticed a difference in the “dry” air feeling. We decided to look into larger units to cover more of our home.Speaking with an HVAC contractor, they told us that humidifiers were available for our HVAC unit. The humidifier unit would sense the humidity level flowing through the HVAC unit. It would cycle on and off a “water vapor” that would travel through with the air flow. The sensor would keep the humidity at the correct level depending on what we had the room temperature set at. This would make things more comfortable. We knew that in the summer months, high humidity made us sweaty and uncomfortable. We didn’t realize what the lack of humidity does. According to our contractor, not only does humidity affect people, it also affect our wood flooring, our wood furniture, and other personal mementos. Lack of humidity causes them to “dry out.” He also explained that the “dry out” from lack of humidity was the reason for bloody noses, cracked lips and skin, and other issues. We are looking forward to adding a little humidity to our house.

heating tune up

Revolutionary Smart App

My wife is the most forgetful person on the face of this earth. She must leave the house a half a dozen times to her car and go back into the house for she forgot something. First her keys, then her sun glasses, oh wait don’t forget my purse! Wow, it is just such a sight to see on any given day, but worse when you are the one who is going out with her, or I should say trying to go out with her. I can handle it for the most part on any day, but when it comes to more serious things like when she leaves the central cooling and heating system on regularly and our bill shoots up higher and higher each month, look out, then my patience is totally lost. I know I ask her every time if she has turned it off or even just down and she will swear by it. But, I come home and the air conditioning is blasting away at full speed to cool down a house with no one in it! I did a little research and discovered they had an amazing new app for people just like her for the HVAC system in homes or offices. It’s called a Smart App and the way it works is that you download to it to your phone while the other half is installed into your actual thermostat and HVAC system. Now, I can monitor whether she has turned the HVAC unit off or on and what temperature it is set out, so I don’t have to constantly ask her, which makes her upset and now I can just remedy the temperature and air conditioning system on my own which won’t make me upset, it’s totally revolutionary!

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Allergies and Pure Air Systems

I have been battling pretty severe allergies for as long as I can remember in childhood. It is the curse of my family, since we all actually have the same problem. Some of my family members have gone to the extreme of moving somewhere with a cleaner air and way of life, but I don’t want to sacrifice my whole life just because of my allergies. So, I have been doing research on finding a better purification and air filtering system for my home that will work through my heating and air conditioning unit that I have installed. They say pure air systems are supposed to be ideal to keep your allergens contained, air clean and in turn will be a better breathing experience for you. Well, I am here to say that’s is totally incorrect. I haven’t seen any change in the way the air smells, feels or reacts in my system. In fact some days I feel like my allergies are worse than before we even installed this new system.  I thought since the company came out with their own electrician that there were sure to be no problems, but it just goes to show you that you should always double check credentials. We called out the local HVAC technician in the area to look at our system and he was floored the their poor work in the installation process. He has to strip out all the filtering system that he had installed and replace the vents and filters before he could do anything else. We started to see a big difference just when he did that simple task, so we were hopeful he would get us on track.

air filter

Teaching in the Heat

I work as a teacher in a very hot city. The HVAC system in my school is atrocious, and the air conditioning barely works. This means I have a classroom full of kids that are sweltering hot for the last two months of school. This year, the heat was particularly awful. We live in the south, and everything you have ever heard about the southern heat is absolutely true. It is hot, humid and just feels thick. With no air conditioning in the school, it makes it hard to even teach. I cannot imagine being a kid and having to sit in the hot classroom trying to actually learn anything. It would be truly unbearable for me. The teachers have petitioned many times to try and get a better air conditioning system in the building, but the school just does not have enough money. It is so hot here that sometimes, we have to have recess for the kids inside because it is just too hot to be outside during the middle of the day–and there is awful air conditioning in these conditions! It is unbelievable to me. I am looking to get a job in a different school, in a different area of the country as well. I do not like living in the south for the sole reason that it is just too hot! Especially without access to air conditioning while I am at work, I just do not think I could do it again after this year.

cooling company

Camping in the Winter

My dad is a very outdoorsy guy. He works in forest management, which just means he spends all day, every day, hiking and marking trees. His entire existence is spent in nature–it is his favorite place to be. Going to work with him growing up, I can see why. There is some sort of immense release just being able to be alone in the woods all day, and it is beautiful to boot. His birthday is in February, and this year, my present to him was a weekend camping trip in one of his favorite mountain ranges. Just the two of us, backpacks, cooking equipment, snowshoes and a tent. He loves the winter just because it is not hot. We had everything we needed for this trip, and it was a blast. However, I wish we could have somehow carried some kind of heater out there! While of course we were in no real danger, I was absolutely freezing! I did not tell my dad this, obviously, but it was extremely cold. Which I knew it would be, but still, nothing can really prepare you for this kind of cold! I have to say, getting back to the truck on Sunday and turning on the heat was a very good reward after an entire weekend of hiking in the freezing cold weather. I took off my boots and put my freezing cold feet right over the heating vent, happy to be back in the world of HVAC systems. Regardless, it was a great weekend that I will never forget.

heating and air conditioning

Cooking in the Heat

I live in a small apartment with three other girls. We are all flat broke, which means we cook a lot of our own food. Groceries are simply cheaper than going out for a meal. The summer makes this pretty challenging for us. Our apartment is very old, and while we had the option of paying for air conditioning this summer, we simply could not afford the extra charge. This means we are forced to just use fans and our apartment feels like a sauna. The worst part is cooking. Some nights, it is just too hot to cook. This means, we just go hungry, which is awful as well. But the stove generates far too much heat and without air conditioning to cool the place down, it just keeps the apartment that much hotter and we cannot even bear to be in there. We have started eating a lot of salads and fruit, but sometimes it is just not enough. Perhaps we should have paid for the air conditioning, but it is just so expensive! Some of my friends have apartments where the A/C is included in the rent cost, which is what I am hoping to find soon. If I had known how bad the summers would be in this city, I would have never forsaken the air conditioning–it is certainly worth the extra expense. Next year, I think I will take an extra job during the summer to pay for the air conditioning fee, because I cannot last another summer without it.

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Life at the Gym

Fortunately, I work at a gym. This job comes with a few important benefits for me. The first is that I get to work out for free, which is awesome. I can go whenever I want, obviously just not when I am actually working. Paying for a gym membership before was always annoying and cost me a lot of extra money, so this is perfect. Secondly and perhaps most importantly, I get to sit in the air conditioning all day long through the hot summers. This, for me, is even better than the first reason. It gets insanely hot where I live during the summer. Usually, because I cannot afford a gym membership, I workout outside. This becomes impossible in the summer because of the insane weather. However, now that I work at the gym, I can workout indoors and in the air conditioning. It is a dream job for me. The gym is really close to my apartment, so sometimes I will do a warm up run to the gym before I work out. In the unbearable heat, there is no better feeling than finishing a run by ending at the gym, and feeling that blast of air conditioning as soon as I walk through the doors. It is amazing. I hate to leave the gym because it means I have to walk outside into the heat, which is awful for me. However, I know that I always get to come back the next day, and that is the best part for me!

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