Always go with the machine with the highest BTU rating when getting a window a/c

When I bought an LCD screen TV back in 2010 during my first year of college, 1080p screen resolution was considered good, if not top of the line.

It would be another two years before 4k TVs and computer monitors would hit the market.

But nowadays, a 1080p resolution screen is outdated. My mom was ecstatic about a sale on 1080p televisions but I had to remind her that it’s old technology. If you’re going to invest in a new TV or computer monitor in 2021 and beyond, you would be foolish to get anything under 4k resolution. There is even an 8k resolution available now, making 1080p increasingly irrelevant in the whole market. Always look for a machine with better features and stats if you have a choice, and it’s not different for window air conditioners. They all have BTU ratings that measure how much energy it takes for the machine to remove heat from your home or business in the course of an hour. That’s why you should always go with higher BTU air conditioners. Sometimes it’s only a matter of an additional $30 to $50 to get a BTU number that is up to 50% higher. Anyone would be foolish to waste their money like this, especially when there are options for additional window air conditioners on the internet if your local hardware stores or supercenters don’t have a good selection. That’s the route I chose when I purchased my last window air conditioner; to my surprise, the shipping to my house was free. On top of that, it arrived just three days after I made the order with the website online.

 

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Ceiling fans can be reversed in winter to keep heat from rising to the ceiling

I was relieved when I read about reversing a ceiling fan to keep heat low to the floor, because this cabin has two of these fans installed

I’m spending the next two weeks in my dad’s hunting lodge while I finish the book I’m writing. My publisher gave me a strict deadline for my initial draft and I have a few chapters left to finish. Once I get that far, I have to go over the manuscript with a fine-toothed comb to find any issues, mistakes, or story discrepancies. If I have the time, I like to type out a second draft while reading from the original. This gives me the chance to either retain sentences or completely rewrite them as I am going along. This is a trick that I learned working for newspapers when I had two computer monitors to use in tandem. I would display the first draft on one screen while typing out the second draft on the other screen. Unfortunately, I only have my laptop with me while I’m here in my dad’s hunting lodge. But I have more things to worry about than not having my ideal computer setup. I wasn’t expecting how cold it was going to be despite my father’s warnings. Even though I have plenty of firewood, it didn’t seem like the woodstove was adequately warming the small cabin. In a fit of frustration I went on the internet to see what I could do to improve the temperature in the cabin. I was relieved when I read about reversing a ceiling fan to keep heat low to the floor, because this cabin has two of these fans installed. I did what the article suggested and within minutes I had these fans pushing heat back down so it doesn’t all rise into the attic whenever I have a fire burning in the wood stove. That small change made a huge difference in my comfort level here.

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My roommate and I were lucky to get a thermostat in our freshman dorm room

My first year of college was definitely full of ups and downs.

  • I went to a small liberal arts school in my home state.

It was nice to finally be surrounded by other students that share your interests and beliefs, but it was suffocating sometimes. We had a smaller student population than the high school I had just left, and you could feel the social pressure at times. Despite any issues being in college for the first time, I was incredibly lucky with the roommate I was assigned to my freshman year. We were both introverted and loved much of the same music, movies, and TV shows. And since we are both writers, that was another shared trait that we could bond over. The room we were put in was newly renovated as well and had one huge feature that most dorm rooms on that campus lack—an adjustable thermostat for the air conditioner and heating system. Most of the dorm rooms had thermostats that were locked by the administration and controlled remotely from a central location in the administrative building. Ours wasn’t locked, and in retrospect I think this was an oversight on their part. It was great because we could make the room as cold as we wanted in the summer and spring while making it extremely warm and toasty in autumn and winter. That thermostat in our freshman dorm room was an amazing amenity to have as a new college student. We were much more comfortable with our indoor air compared to other students. Sadly, our dorm room in our sophomore year had a locked thermostat.

 

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I have to use a fan whenever I'm performing on stage because of bad a/c

It’s good enough to get me through a set without being too uncomfortable.

Although I always expected to keep music as a fun hobby, I’ve been playing live a lot more as time goes on. Nowadays you can use looper pedals and computers to create accompanying parts and instrumental overdubs. That way I can play covers in bars and clubs as a one-man-band. This is a lot of fun even if I don’t get paid nor make any tip money while I’m performing. Sometimes a friend of mine will sit in with me on bass guitar, drums, or keyboards. As much as I enjoy performing live, the venues where I perform are not all equal in quality and amenities. For instance, some of these places have actual stages while others have a glorified corner in the dining room where the speakers and equipment is set up. One of the worst disadvantages to playing in some of these places is the abysmal air conditioning inside. I have to bring a fan with me whenever I’m performing so I’m not dripping in sweat the entire time. I wish these places all had good air conditioning but I guess that is too much to ask for. At least the fan I use can be adjusted for both speed and direction. It’s good enough to get me through a set without being too uncomfortable. The worst part is when there are overly bright incandescent lights because they create considerable heat that can be felt when you’re standing beneath them. This is nice if it’s cold outside and the venue isn’t running the heating system, but otherwise I hate the bright stage lights. Sadly, my fan isn’t enough to compensate whenever I’m in a situation like this.

 

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Geothermal heat pumps could be the future of indoor heating

By contrast, the electricity needed to initiate the refrigerant cycle in a heat pump is a mere fraction compared to the fuel burned in an oil or gas powered furnace.

I think that we need to start making serious efforts to address climate change, and we need to do it one way or another. When I say this, I’m not suggesting that we completely ban plastic and other environmentally detrimental products unless they can easily be replaced by something else. Bottles are a perfect example—in many situations we should be using glass instead of plastic. However, if you’ve ever worked in health care or taken care of sick relatives, you know that plastic gloves cannot be phased out because a biodegradable alternative wouldn’t be resistant to liquids and fluids. There are just some applications of plastic that are essential to the health and safety of people who are sick or getting procedures after injuries. However, we can lead people away from environmentally detrimental heating and cooling methods. That means no wasteful portable air conditioners, nor any oil burning furnaces. Oil will continue to be a scarce resource and producing and burning it harms the environment in a very real way. By contrast, the electricity needed to initiate the refrigerant cycle in a heat pump is a mere fraction compared to the fuel burned in an oil or gas powered furnace. And if you are harvesting your heat from outside air, underground earth, or a water source—it solves half of the problem associated with indoor heat. Geothermal heat pumps are expensive but some state and local governments give out tax and rebate incentives to anyone looking to install a geothermal heat pump. If all of the people who use indoor heat were switched to geothermal heat pumps, it could have a sizable impact on the future of climate change.

 

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Inflation is making it harder for me to afford heating and cooling equipment

As the economy starts its slow and gradual rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are finally seeing the effects of inflation that has been ramping up for the last two to three years at least.

Many falsely assume that gas prices skyrocketed in early 2021, when in fact they started rising in the summer of 2020.

Regardless of the exact time frame, the repercussions are nearly the same. Many of us are going to struggle affording basic goods and services in this country as their costs rise and our incomes stay static. It’s no secret that the rising cost of living is completely disproportionate with what the average job pays from one end of the country to the next. When I needed to get a new central air conditioner and furnace recently, the increased cost for both machines took me by surprise. The previous time I checked the price was only two years prior, and the increase since was around 30% of the original price. After calling several HVAC suppliers looking for better deals and coming up empty, I finally found a company offering a rebate price on a new heating and cooling system if I bought an air conditioner and furnace together. This led me to get a heat pump, which takes care of both my heating and cooling needs all in one machine. I’m also spending considerably less on energy costs to heat my home in the winter and I couldn’t be happier. When inflation affects everything, it’s important to find good deals wherever you can.

 

 

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My best friend told me about the wonders of heat pumps for winter heating

I love trying out new technology that I have never gotten my hands on yet.

One such example is when I discovered ceramic coated fry pans.

When I was much younger, we really only had a few options for stovetop cookware. Most manufacturers either made steel or teflon coated fry pans, and if you wanted traditional cast iron you often had to get them from a specialty cookware store. Ceramic coated fry pans give you a stick-resistant cooking surface without using any harmful chemicals The food has a good flavor but it doesn’t impart any of this on the pots and pans, nor do I struggle to get them clean like I do with my glass pyrex dishes and my stainless steel cookware. The most recent example of me finding new technology to try and love was when my best friend was telling me about his new heat pump. He told me that it’s like an air conditioner on one hand, because it uses the refrigerant cycle to pull heat energy out of the house and expel it outdoors. But when the weather outside gets cold, the heat pump can reverse the process, harvesting ambient heat from outdoor air or from a ground or water source. This way you’re not expelling all of this energy into burning a gas or oil fuel to simply heat water sent throughout the house or air inside a ventilation system. You can use electricity to run a heat pump and it will never present the same kind of costs associated with an electric fan-forced furnace for instance.

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Creating cooling schedules on my thermostat before leaving for vacation

My wife and I have been planning our vacation for the last six months.

Neither of us could travel in 2020, and the prospects of a vacation earlier this year were slim to none.

Although I work remotely and could take my job anywhere if I wanted, she had to ask for time off from her job months in advance. When she finally got the confirmation, we were both ecstatic with joy. To keep costs down, we decided to vacation at a resort on the opposite side of the state so we could drive there without days on the highway and multiple gas tank fill-ups. Since this was the first time the two of us would be leaving our house empty for an extended period of time, I was stressed trying to finish all of the preparations ahead of our trip. One of my primary concerns was the heating and cooling system. We weren’t going to be around to set the thermostat to different temperatures depending on the time of day, and I worried if it would be safe to leave it running at the same temperature while we’re gone. As I was mulling this over, I remembered that our digital thermostat has a scheduling feature built inside. Many forget that a lot of old digital thermostats are easily capable of being programmed to follow cooling and heating schedules. It allows you to set the temperature on a half-hour basis during all hours of the day and all seven days of the week. This way we can leave for vacations without worrying if our air conditioner is running too much or too little.

 

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My doctor told me that I can improve my asthma symptoms by improving my indoor air

I was surprised when my doctor recently diagnosed me with asthma.

I only had on and off breathing and sinus issues over the years, and I always assumed that it was only due to seasonal allergies.

My symptoms would get worse in spring and autumn due to pollen and leaf mold respectively, but they obviously got worse in recent years. I explained to my doctor that I was having problems catching my breath and going up and down staircases, so he ran a few tests. That’s when I found out that I have asthma and have probably had it most of my life. Aside from prescribing me an inhaler to use whenever I have problems with my breathing, he told me that I need to think about improving the air quality in my house. At the time, I didn’t even know that air quality could affect someone’s health. That may seem foolish, but I had never experienced these issues enough to think that I had anything but seasonal allergy problems. The first thing I did to improve my air quality was purchasing an air purifier for my living room. It has a charcoal filter, HEPA filter, and UV-C lights inside for added air sanitization. I didn’t realize how much dust was floating in my indoor air until replacing the filters on my air purifier following months of daily use. Between the air purifier and upgrading the filters that I use in my central furnace, I made a lot of headway with improving my health and my asthma symptoms. At least I’m functioning a lot better at home without constantly coughing and sneezing like before.

 

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Two-hose portable air conditioners solve a crucial design flaw in the original machines

Then the air is pushed outside as heat

Some technology that costs more money isn’t necessarily better or improved over their cheaper counterparts. I learned this fairly quickly as I kept upgrading my smartphones year after year. The phone manufacturers convince you that the new model is necessary with a handful of various upgrades over the previous iteration. But time and time again, I found that each new phone would lose some of the things that I liked about the previous one. Once I finally realized that these “improvements” are just minimal changes to justify rereleasing the same device at a higher price each consecutive year, I quit upgrading my cell phones until something happened to make them quit working. These issues abound in other industries as well. Many people will tell you that you need to upgrade your window air conditioner to a portable unit if you haven’t already. They see the higher price for portable air conditioners and their ease of use as two factors proving their superiority over window units. Sadly, this is borderline smoke and mirrors when you compare it to other misleading attempts at marketing. A portable air conditioner in its original form is inefficient because it needs to pull cool air from your home and use it to cool its internal compressor. Then the air is pushed outside as heat. Window air conditioners already have their compressors outside the window, so this is a self-inflicted design flaw. Two-hose portable a/cs are better because the air used to cool the compressor is pulled in from outside, but it doesn’t remove their inefficiency completely.

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