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There was water bubbling up through the ground and now I need a plumber

I was on my way to work last work when I noticed the smell of sewage outside the house. As much as I hated being late for work, I was more concerned about where the smell was coming from. I walked to the side of the house and there was water bubbling up through the ground. I knew exactly where the water was bubbling up from, because it was right where my sewer was located. The smell was even worse when I got around the house, and I knew it wasn’t water, but there was sewage in my yard. I called our plumber and told him what was happening. I could hear him groan, and I was imagining this was not the way he wanted to start his day. I asked him if I should take the day off so I could be home when he arrived. He asked if anyone would be home, and I told him it was only my fourteen-year-old son. He groaned again and said he would be there about 10AM. I called work and told them about my emergency, but I had already talked to the plumber and he would be here in the morning. When the plumber arrived, he was able to force what he called a sleeve, in through the broken sewer pipe and repair the break. I was still left with the job of paying someone to clean up the mess I had in my yard, but at least the plumber didn’t need to tear the yard up to get to the broken sewer pipe.

 

Plumbing installation

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Our hotel room surprisingly had radiant heated flooring

I used to hate hotels so much that I’d willingly sleep in my car on road trips just to avoid them.

I had one too many bad experiences with moldy hotel rooms and terrible air conditioners.

And if you’re paying upward to $200 a night if it isn’t a run down motel, shouldn’t the accommodations be better? I would want a guarantee that I’m getting the absolute best amenities available for the money if I’m spending that much. But hotels are a lot like restaurants. They all seem to think they’re entitled to charge the same prices as their competitors even if their quality sucks. You have to try multiple restaurants in your community before you find the best ones while learning to avoid the worst. The problem with applying this strategy to finding hotel rooms is the fact that hotels are often needed during trips when you’re in a particular location for sometimes as little as five or six hours. Sometimes you just need a warm bed to sleep in for a single night. And if it’s on a road trip taking a route you’ll never utilize again, you can’t really “try out” hotels to find ones you like. That’s why I was so impressed when my wife and I got extremely lucky to accidentally find the only sub $200 hotel room on this coast that features radiant heated flooring. We were traveling to her parents’ house for Thanksgiving and we needed a room for a few nights. As temperatures were fairly cold outside, we were extremely happy with the radiant heated flooring in our hotel room. We stayed pleasantly warm for the duration of our hotel stay.
Space heater

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I accidentally spilled juice into my window air conditioner

My parents always used to say how incredibly clumsy I am, especially with glass dinnerware.

I broke more plates, cups, and bowls in my household growing up than any of my siblings or parents combined.

After so much bad luck, I was taken off dish washing duties for good. It’s funny when I hear stories from others about times where they exploited a situation like this to get out of doing a particular chore they hated. However, I can say with all honesty that I never tried to appear this clumsy just so I wouldn’t be required to do dishes. The reality is I would give up a lot in life if it meant I could do away with my clumsiness, because it has followed me this far in life with no signs of abating. It’s not just about dropping glassware and other breakable household items. For instance, I recently managed to spill a cup of juice into my window air conditioner. My kitchen table sits flush with the window air conditioner that is in my dining room and I inadvertently knocked over my cup of juice that was right in front of the a/c that day. If I had kept my cup somewhere else or didn’t insist on having the table so close to the window air conditioner, this wouldn’t have even happened. Now I’m hoping that my HVAC technician will be able to clean out the sticky, dried-on juice out of my poor window air conditioner. I’ll be lucky if I find out there isn’t any damage to the air conditioner, let alone any odors from juice bacteria.

 

Furnace filter for sale

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I upgraded the heating and cooling system in my house after getting a better job

I never thought I would actually fulfill my dream of one day being a legitimate IT technician.

When you’re stuck in a retail position for several years and don’t see a way out, it’s easy to give up and think that your life will never improve.

Fortunately, I saw a job opening at an IT company doing something entry level and I took a leap of faith by applying. I was amazed when a combination of my cover letter and my compelling job interview got me the position when there were others competing for it. With an immense feeling of gratitude, I happily learned everything this company was willing to teach me. I was trained using highly technical computer systems and it set me up for an even better job a few years later. Now I’m making better money these days than I’ve ever made in my life before. I finally had enough money in my bank account this year to upgrade my heating and cooling system. Upgrading the air conditioner was easy because I simply chose a similar system as the old one, but made sure to get something with a significantly better SEER rating. Choosing a stronger and more energy efficient heating system is a little harder though. There are so many options out there that you really have to break down your wants and needs to determine what is the best route to take. I opted for radiant heated flooring because I knew it would not just improve my heating setup, but it would also increase the value of my house compared to what it was when it had a traditional electric furnace only.

 

Geothermal heat pump

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The room at the hospital had an isolated heating and cooling system inside

My mom has had severe health problems for all of my life, but things got considerably worse when I was in junior high.

She was hospitalized twice within a three year period, with one time being the result of a blood clot, and another the result of a hemorrhage from taking too many blood thinners to address the blood clot.

I was terrified that I might not see my mother again when she was taken to the hospital in an ambulance during the second episode. But thanks to the grace of God, she made it out all right and survived all of those near death experiences. However, her health problems have simply increased over the past four years straight. She fell on her tailbone in 2018 and her ability to walk was greatly diminished overnight. I have been in and out of hospital rooms with her ever since. Then when she fell and snapped her tibia this year, things only continued to go downhill. I don’t like hospitals, but at least she’s able to utilize the new hospital that was recently finished with its construction over the past year. They even have isolated heating and cooling systems in most of the rooms. To keep viral particles from spreading from room to room, the architects that designed the new hospital went out of their way to prioritize containment. That’s one positive side effect from designing a new hospital during the beginning stages of a global viral pandemic. Even my own room when I had a kidney stone recently had a separate heating and cooling system inside.

 

Indoor air cleaning system

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I should have asked about the air conditioner before buying this used RV

I got so excited about buying an RV that I didn’t do my due diligence with researching them before signing paperwork to purchase one. Somehow in my mind I was thinking that any issues with an RV could be solved with two or three trips to the mechanic. Unfortunately, there are some issues that are worse than others with any kind of vehicle, let alone a motorhome. For one, you’d most likely want to avoid purchasing a vehicle with a broken transmission unless you had one available from another car that was scrapped for parts. Even then, I still wouldn’t do this if I was an auto mechanic myself. With the RV, it drives on the road fine and there are no serious problems with the engine that my mechanic and I can find in our inspections. However, the carpet inside the RV needed to be ripped out and replaced with vinyl flooring. The worst problem with the RV is the broken air conditioner in the sleep space. I asked about the cockpit air conditioner only, assuming that the seller would notify me if there was an issue with the other air conditioner as well. I guess it’s on me to ask as many questions about an RV before agreeing to purchase it from the seller. Still, it annoys me that I’ll have to pay for a new air conditioner to put in the sleeping area of the RV. At least it gives me a chance to put a better air conditioner inside than the old one that is in there right now. I know that I’ll get better fuel mileage from the upgraded RV air conditioner.

 

 

Air conditioning workman

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You should clean or replace your dehumidifier filter every few months

Even if you have a brand new car, there are still aspects of preventative maintenance and care that you cannot afford to neglect.

For one, you need to get your oil changes on a regular basis to prevent engine issues. On top of oil changes, your tires need to be rotated after so many miles, as well as the air filters underneath the hood that prevents dust and insect bits from getting inside the engine. It’s easy to forget about this air filter if you’ve never replaced one yourself before. That’s what happened to me with my new car for the first two years I owned it. I didn’t even know about an engine air filter until a random mechanic at an oil change facility showed it to me and taught me how to replace the filter on my own in the future. Oddly enough, my car also has a cabin filter for the air conditioner and heater inside. The cabin filter acts just like a filter would in a home’s HVAC system, keeping dust and dirt out of the internal components of the heating and cooling system. But when you have devices like air purifiers and dehumidifiers running in tandem with your central HVAC system, you have more than one filter at home to replace when push comes to shove. The dehumidifier in my house came with its own filter, but the thing gets so clogged after repeated use that I like to replace it altogether after cleaning it three times in a row. If you cook at all you’ll probably get grease in your air and it will make the dust in your dehumidifier filter sticky and difficult to remove.

 

air duct

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Heat rises, so that’s why some people utilize wood stoves instead of fireplaces

I grew up in an old farmhouse in the rural country, which afforded me lots of hiking and camping opportunities as a kid.

However, our house was falling apart in a lot of ways. My mom wanted my father to make improvements as time went on, but he kept making excuses all of the time not to fix a hole in the attic or a leaking pipe in the basement. It’s hard to have patience with a man like this when he works in the construction industry in the first place, often possessing the exact skills required for seeing these jobs through to completion. The only thing he was good about was chopping wood in the autumn, winter, and spring seasons. One advantage of living on a rural property with a lot of forested acres was the unbridled access to free firewood. So many trees grew up out of the ground like weeds that we would have never run out of firewood living at that property, and that’s just from harvesting from trees that have already hit the ground on their own accord. Since temperatures regularly dropped below zero for upwards to five months out of the year, we burned through a lot of firewood. We had a central furnace that ran on propane, but the cost of gas is always expensive in rural areas especially. Instead of just burning the wood in the old fireplace, we got a wood stove instead. Heat rises, so a lot of the heat energy generated by a fire in a fireplace just goes up the chimney and is lost in the process. A wood stove emits a lot more heat energy via radiant transfer just based on how one is designed.

 

Furnace filter

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I use fans place strategically around my house to increase air flow

Until I find a new job, I’m dealing with a pay cut as a compromise to avoid a total layoff situation.

I think my employers genuinely think they’re doing me a favor, but I know the truth about them closing my department just to look better for investors at the tail end of a rough financial quarter.

Still, some of my coworkers are now completely out of work while I was able to buy some time while I try to land a new position. This is what kept me afloat during some of the worst financial uncertainty that this nation has ever faced, and that’s including the Great Recession of 2008. It’s a paycut, sure, but it’s better than having absolutely no money to pay my bills with or for food from the grocery store. But because of the paycut, I have to make other sacrifices right now that I might not have been faced with three years prior before the pandemic happened. I had to cancel my gym membership and even stopped eating food out of the house as a means to come up with extra cash. I’m also making sacrifices around the house to get by for the time being. I desperately need new ductwork and a new air conditioner, but I won’t be able to budget for this for a number of years at least. As a means of improving air flow throughout, I got a bunch of old fans out of my attic and have placed them at strategic places in my house to improve air flow. They’re surprisingly really effective at doing this, as they easily overcompensate for the poorly designed ductwork that came with this house when I bought it.

 

 

boiler repair

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I finally got my smart thermostat hooked up to my cell phone app

I was a late adopter of smart technology. My first smartphone was a 2012 model that I purchased in 2013. I remember that it had a decent camera on it for the time, but it’s nowhere near as nice as the current phone I have in my arsenal. It has three different lenses on the back of it for one. The combined shots are superimposed on one another in real time, adding to a sharper and more vivid image in the end. Since I’ve started uploading videos to Youtube and Instagram about my music hobby, my current smartphone has doubled as a camera. I feel grateful for having a device that can do both so seamlessly. But I’ve come to adopt other forms of smart technology over the years as well. I have a smart air purifier that I bought two years ago with a gift card to the hardware store I received from my wife as a gift. The new air purifier could be controlled with an app that we each downloaded to our respective phones so we could control the fan settings from bed. After enjoying the freedom of smart controls on an air purifier, we finally took the plunge and purchased a smart thermostat as well. While we let our HVAC technician install the smart thermostat itself, we felt like we were capable of downloading the app ourselves to control it remotely. Now that we have the new smart thermostat synced with our phones, we’re loving the ability to adjust it from bed without ever having to get up. This will come in handy when it gets cold outside and we start using our furnace again.

Heating technician