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The Good (indoor) Life.

A couple of years ago we decided to invest in a new heating and cooling system. Until then we had the old clunky forced steam burners in the basement with a hot water tank nearby.

In the summer I’d schlep the AC’s up from the basement and mount them into various windows throughout the house. I usually put it off for as long as I could, which meant it all happened on the first really hot day of the summer. Half way through the ordeal, I’d be dripping in sweat, aggravated, and looking for foam strips and duct tape to seal off the cracks before the bugs found a new home. The rest of the family would quickly find a movie they’ve all been dying to see and leave the house – they knew better.

Occasionally, in the winter, we’d come home to a freezing house and I’d have to go downstairs and fill the tank from the water main until the unit clicked into life. I got used to spending a couple of hours draining the tank every year just to get clean water in there.

That’s all behind me now. I occasionally get a sickening feeling in my gut when I think of summer coming, but I quickly realize that I won’t be lugging AC units up stairways anytime soon and that puts a smile back on my face.

We’ve joined the 21st century and have a system that heats our house in the winter and cools it in the summer with little to no hassle. We have different zones throughout the house that are controlled independently and can be programmed. My wife and kids don’t have to listen to me during the colder months telling them to put on a sweater. They can watch TV, read in bed, and do their thing in a warm room, while I can work in my office where I like it just a little cooler – it helps me think. The ability to program the temperatures is nice too. The thermostat automatically lowers the temperature during the day when everyone is out of the house and goes back up about 30 minutes before everyone comes home in the evening. I even drop the temperature a few degrees at night after everyone’s asleep and set it back before they get up. No one has noticed so far and I’m saving a ton of money.

As for the AC, I hate to say it, but it’s a breeze. Nice and cool and saving money. No more forgetting to turn off the unit when we leave the house. No more coming home to an oven after a day at the beach and no more gigantic electric bills because someone thinks the house needs to be 30 degrees when it’s 80 degrees outside.

One pleasant surprise I had never considered or appreciated was my windows. I can use them now. At night, when it’s not too hot and there’s a cool breeze I can take advantage of that and open a window and let the air in now. I can actually see and smell the garden now.

My house is always comfortable. I don’t have to walk from room to room turning off units because I’m leaving the room or because one of the kids left one on. No more walking into stuffy rooms and having to wait until they cool down. No more having to remember to start the bedroom AC beforehand so as not to go to bed in an oven.

To be honest, (I’m trying not to sound like a commercial) I couldn’t be happier about the investment. It’s saving money. It’s saving me aggravation. And it’s added value to the house. All around, it was a pretty good move.


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