You must have a few things for a home gym

One of the things I’ve fawned over in my lifetime… is people who stay especially fit all the time.

I suppose it’s because I struggle so much with getting enough exercise.

I enjoy exercising and moving my body around, but I have trouble getting high intensity workouts that are a must to keep your body fit and toned. I prefer the slow, calming workouts, and it’s challenging for me to get seriously overheated on purpose. I don’t appreciate the feeling of my heart pounding out of my chest. I don’t enjoy wondering if I am about to vomit all over the place. It only makes matters worse when you have to attend a crappy local gym with bad indoor air quality levels. For the majority of my adulthood, I’ve had a seriously cheap gym membership. This means I have visited tepid and uncomfortable gyms. Without professionally installed, high powered a/c devices and air cleaners, for all these years I have not enjoyed my workouts very much. That’s why I decided to get some Heating, Ventilation, and A/C in place, create my own lake house gym, and hopefully reduce the amount of effort that it takes to get through my workout. I figured, if I could absolutely install and control my own cooling device and air quality settings, it would certainly improve my desire to regularly workout. I started by getting myself a brand new a/c window device, which I suddenly positioned in the workout room in my basement. Then I purchased a dehumidifier, to assist with removing all the gross air-born moisture! Finally, I purchased a simple box fan for incredible ventilation power. Nowadays, it feels as though I am getting my workouts in paradise.

 

Heating corp

A home gym needs a couple of things

One of the things I’ve fawned over in my life… is people who stay super fit all the time.

It’s because I struggle so much with getting enough exercise.

I enjoy exercising and moving my body around, but I have trouble getting high intensity workouts that are necessary to keep your body fit and toned. I prefer the slow, calming workouts, and it’s difficult for me to get extremely sweaty on purpose. I don’t love the feeling of my heart pounding out of my chest. I don’t enjoy wondering if I’m about to vomit everywhere. It only makes matters worse when you have to attend a crappy local gym with terrible indoor air quality. For most of my adulthood, I’ve had an extremely cheap gym membership. This means I have visited extremely hot and uncomfortable gyms. Without professionally installed, high powered air conditioning and air purification systems, for all these years I haven’t enjoyed my workouts, whatsoever. That’s why I decided to get some HVAC in place, create my own home gym, and hopefully reduce the amount of effort that it takes to comfortably work out. I figured, if I could easily install and control my own cooling system and air quality settings, it would improve my desire to work out. I started by getting myself a brand new air conditioning window unit, which I quickly positioned in the workout room in my basement. Then I purchased a dehumidifier, to assist with removing all the gross air-born moisture. Lastly, I bought a simple box fan for incredible ventilation power. These days, it feels like I’m working out in paradise.

 

Duct cleaning

I’d rather have radiant heated floors

Last year, the cold weather arrived much earlier than usual and was especially brutal.

  • My very ancient furnace malfunctioned while I was away for the weekend and my water pipes froze.

I came home to a huge mess and big problem. I needed to hire a professional plumber and licensed HVAC contractor to handle the installation of new pipes, furnace and ductwork repairs. While the job was completed, there was no heat in the house. Since the outdoor temperature was down to fifteen degrees, I moved in with my brother for a couple of weeks. My brother’s house is equipped with a hydronic heating system. He has a boiler situated in the basement that connects to pipes concealed beneath the floor. The boiler heats water that travels through the series of looping pipes in a radiant heating system. Rather than the hot air getting blown in through vents up high in the walls, the heat is infused into the air at floor level. I was absolutely amazed at the comfort level of his house. He can set his thermostat several degrees lower than mine, and yet I felt perfectly warm at all times. There were no drafts, no temperature fluctuation or cold spots, and I could walk barefoot on his heated floors. The heat is spread evenly across the floor and warms up everything that touches it. The system operates silently, doesn’t introduce air contaminants and is exceptionally energy efficient. My brother pays a lot lower heating bills than I do. He also has the added benefit of zone control. There’s an independent thermostat located in each room. I wish I could tear out my whole forced air furnace and replace it with heated floors.

air purification

Preferring temperature controlled events

Because of the commitments of our jobs, my husband and I can’t plan a summer vacation.

To make up for this, we plan lots of weekend excursions for our family. We take the kids to the zoo, aquarium, the beach, the fair, theme parks, carnivals and on picnics and hikes. We go kayaking, swimming and fishing. We see movies and play miniature golf. We try to make nearly every weekend some kind of fun activity. My favorite is the huge carnival that is held at the convention center. It isn’t because I particularly like the rides, games, crowds or unhealthy food. I like that the venue is temperature controlled with easily accessible bathrooms. Having three small children, those are important amenities. In our local area, the summer weather is extremely unpredictable. We’ve had seasons when it rained constantly. There are those years when it never gets warm enough to go outside without wearing a coat, and we run the furnace until sometime in late June. There are also the summers that are unbearably hot and humid. The temperature soars into the high nineties, the air feels heavy and sticky and air conditioning is a necessity. For any outdoor event, we need to pack sunblock, coats, hats and umbrellas. Being subjected to the weather can ruin the whole day. Little kids aren’t having fun when they’re shivering, overheated or getting rained on. When I buy the tickets for the convention center, I know I’m not wasting my money. No matter what type of weather we get, the inside of the venue will be maintained at the ideal temperature. We don’t need to pack extra warm clothes or slather on sun blocks. The heating and cooling system makes all the difference. Plus, there are bathrooms and spots to purchase food located all over the place.

Steam boiler

Ductwork part of spring cleaning this year

I didn’t realize that so much HVAC treated air leaks from poorly sealed or separated air duct joints

I’m telling you, I really got after the spring cleaning this year. We keep our house clean throughout the year. But when spring first rolls around, my family and I take 3 or 4 days and really, really clean the house. And after all of us being together inside the air conditioning all year, I have never been more eager to get my clean on. I even added the HVAC ductwork into the mix this spring. For some reason, I just always forgot about ductwork cleaning. It’s something that I have been aware of but until this spring, I just hadn’t reached out to the HVAC company to get it done. Since we, as a family, were inside the quality heating and air of our house far more than ever this past year, we’d go with ductwork cleaning. My husband was able to set the appointment for the ductworking cleaning. The cleaning crew came out and it was really interesting to watch them work. The HVAC equipment they used for the ductwork cleaning was equally interesting. The cleaning crew worked so well together and did just such a fine job. I was a bit grossed out by the amount of debris and dust that was coming from our air ducts. But they told me that the ductwork sealing would help prevent that sort of buildup from happening going forward. Plus, with the ductwork sealing, we are going to see a significant savings in our heating and cooling costs. I didn’t realize that so much HVAC treated air leaks from poorly sealed or separated air duct joints. So not only do we have clean air ducts but we’re going to save some money too.

radiant heater

New shades work with smart thermostat

We have always wanted to live out in nature. I don’t know if that’s because my wife and I were both born and raised in cities. Both of us had spent our whole lives in the city living in apartments. That comes with a lot of air conditioning and not a lot of fresh air. So when my wife and I had the opportunity to move to a rural area we made the change. Our house sits on over 25 acres of beautiful land. So when we moved into the house, we chose to do without any window treatments. We wanted to see all the nature from our windows. Our move also took us much further south. We no longer counted on a gas furnace or a giant boiler in the basement. Now the big HVAC deal was HVAC cooling. And we learned quick just how expensive HVAC cooling can be down here. What we didn’t realize about not having any window treatments was there was nothing to stop the direct sunlight from heating up the house. And man, did it ever. The house just lit up once we got to late spring. The heat pump was running nearly all the time just to meet the cooling demand. The smart thermostat was doing it’s best but was totally overmatched. So we got some solar shades. But we still wanted to have access to our views. These shaded go up and down as the smart thermostat needs them to depending on where the sun is shining. It works out because we can still have some windows not covered while the others are blocking the direct sun heating.

heater

How to beat the summer heat

I hate the summer.

  • I hear in other places the summers are very nice, but not around here.

I live five minutes from the beach, and during the summer it’s so hot and bright even the beach isn’t a relief. After a couple of hours you’ve run through eight layers of sun screen and you are still starting to burn, and it’s time to go home. How hot does it have to be where even the ocean is hot? I used to love summers as a kid, but now I don’t get the vacation, I just get the heat and humidity, and it sucks. Last year it was so intense I actually was using two air conditioners to keep myself from going crazy. Granted, the central A/C that I have in my apartment is pretty crappy, but there is no way I can afford to repair it, and my landlord surely will not. Instead of settling for a home that never got below 82 degrees, I bought a two hundred dollar cooling unit from Walmart for my bedroom. Have you seen these things? They are the size and shape of a space heater, only they cool down your room for you. Just like a space heater, they are only good for a very limited area, so I kept it in my bedroom with the door shut and the blinds drawn. Combined with the weak central air conditioning, the small unit did an excellent job to keeping that one room as crisp and cool as the produce section of a grocery store.

 

Smart HVAC

The first air conditioner I fixed

It was my mom who encouraged me to tear things apart so I could figure out how they worked.

We had very little money, so I had to get creative with finding things to dismantle.

Thankfully my Uncle Pete would make weekly trips to the junkyard, and he never minded taking me along. He would always pay for whatever junk I wanted that day, which never amounted to more than a dollar or two. Thanks to the two of them, I am at where I am today, and it started with being able to fix a box fan. You see back then our little house didn’t have air conditioning, so when I fixed that box fan, it really helped out the family. Putting that fan up in the window, improved the circulation and the ventilation, and made the whole place feel a little cooler. Not a lot cooler, but enough that it made a difference to our indoor air quality and comfort levels. It emboldened me, and the next time we went to the junk yard I scouted around looking for an air conditioner of some kind. I finally got my hands on one of those old window mounted A/C units, which is basically a big heavy metal box with mounting brackets on the bottom. Uncle Pete helped me wrestle the unwieldy air conditioner into his truck, and then onto the back porch of my house. It took me about three weeks, but somehow I got that old air conditioner back to working again, and the rest is history.

Cooling equipment

My neighbor is working on his own A/C

My neighbor Pat pays a lawn crew to come mow his grass every ten days or so.

  • I always laugh at him about it.

He doesn’t have a very big yard, and it’s not like he is old or infirm or anything, he just doesn’t want to do that chore. He is willing to pay over a hundred bucks a pop for something he could do in an hour or two. This makes absolutely no sense to me, and it seems to me he is just throwing his money away. On the other hand, when it comes to something like a tune-up for my central HVAC system, I will happily pay that money. When you pay people to do unskilled labor, it means you are lazy, but while being industrious and energetic is great for cutting the grass it doesn’t give you the skills to fix HVAC equipment. Anyone can do manual labor, but HVAC work is cerebral, and takes some degree of education and experience. Most people don’t think about it, but HVAC techs are educated men and women who went to school, passed a certification test, and probably apprenticed somewhere as well. So here is the capper to this anecdote, because while Pat doesn’t want to cut his own grass, he does try and fool around with his own HVAC system. He has got things completely backward, paying for unskilled labor and trying to suss out the skilled HVAC work all by himself. What a dope, I look forward to watching it work out poorly for him and his a/c.

oil furnace

Selling stuff to pay for A/C repairs

Everything must go, you guys. I am not kidding, this isn’t a garage sale it’s a whole house sale where I am getting rid of everything I possibly can. My bills got way out of hand, and after this last week I have to make some changes. I am done collecting movies, and comics, and toys, and will start using my money more wisely. In the meantime, I need lots of cash, and I need it now, so come on by and see what appeals to you! My collectables, my movies, even most of my furniture, just so I can get enough money in my hand to pay the HVAC tech to come and fix my air. I thought that the problem with the cooling would just go away once the weather improved, but the weather never improved. This hot spell we have going seems to never end, and the air conditioning finally gave up the ghost a few days ago leaving me in a precarious spot. It has made me realize how poorly I manage my money, and how I prioritize things like my monthly comic book delivery over things like car insurance and HVAC maintenance. Only now, as I am sweating through my entire couch on the 6th day with no air conditioning, am I realizing the error of my ways. So please, anyone and everyone, share this blog post and let everyone know that everything must go, because I will need about five hundred bucks for the HVAC repairs and I don’t even have one hundred dollars.

 

Programmable thermostat