Tuning up the HVAC system in the frat house

In college, I was part of the lowest tier fraternity there was.

This frat wasn’t recognized by the Greek Council, nor were we allowed to have a float in the homecoming parade.

We had a small, squalid frat house a mile away from campus, and everyone hated us. They hated us until we threw one of our raging parties, and then everyone loved us for a night. Being a part of this frat meant a lot of drinking and smoking pot, and not a lot of studying or community service. This frat house is where I learned the basics of air conditioning repair, which has served me far better in life than anything I studied in class. I know a whole lot about classical European literature, but people don’t need that very often, whereas they need heating and cooling systems repaired all the time! I am not discounting college, because some of my friends became engineers, doctors, and teachers, but it’s not the answer for everyone. By repairing the small air conditioning units in the frat house I got my first taste of working with my hands and dealing with technology. I began to do more online research into HVAC systems, and before long I was doing all of those tasks around the frat house. After word got out, I tuned up the central HVAC systems at a couple of other frat houses, too. At that point I realized I was wasting time and money going to liberal arts college, and I needed to get HVAC certified and start making some real money.

 

More about air conditioning

Being an HVAC tech in the deep south

That is how in-demand HVAC techs are in this part of the country, where you can pick and choose any number of jobs.

Many people describe the summer weather in the deep south as “swampy.” This is only accurate when you know what it’s like to be in the middle of a swamp, something most people are fortunate enough to never experience. If you live up north, and have never been through a southern summer, let me sum it up for – imagine sitting in a wet sauna, while wrapped in a wet woolen blanket. It’s not just hot it’s like being inside a gas furnace, and it’s not just humid it is on another level. To live in the south means you have your air conditioner working perfectly, and serviced regularly. However, if you want to work in the south, make good money, and never have to worry about getting fired, you need to learn how to fix air conditioners. When I say you don’t have to worry about getting fired, it’s because a certified HVAC tech would be able to find another job the very same day. That is how in-demand HVAC techs are in this part of the country, where you can pick and choose any number of jobs. This far south climate control is not just about comfort, it’s about survival, so your HVAC skills will take you far. I make a very good living doing HVAC work, and have cut back to only working three days a week. Did you hear that? Being an HVAC tech in this town means I can earn a full-time wage and still only work three days a week, how can you beat that.

heated floors

HVAC was the right path in life for me

I had two different paths I could have taken after graduating from high school.

At the time it felt like the biggest decision of my life… and twenty years later, I have to say that it really was the biggest decision of my life! Some things feel important when you are young, but when you get some age and experience you realize how silly it was.

My choice of whether or not to go to college, or go to trade school and start working immediately, still has consequences to this very day. I chose HVAC work over going to the university, and even twenty years later I’m glad I made the right choice! All of my friends who went to college came back with crushing student loan debt, something I avoided entirely with my HVAC training. Some of these people got great jobs, and college paid off for them, but more often than not they got menial jobs and spent years trying to pay down those loans. HVAC training, including the night classes I took to prepare for the certification process, only costs a small fraction of what college tuition will cost. I was able to become an apprentice for a local HVAC contractor, so I got field experience while I was still in training. I was able to hit the ground running and start my career free of debt. It only took me five years to save up enough money to start a little HVAC repair company of my own. None of this would have been possible if I went to college.

 

cooling specialist

From college to the HVAC industry

When I was a freshman at the university I pledged a sorority, and lived in their off-campus group home.

For a girl from the farms of the midwest, this was all a bit of a culture shock for me, because there were parties almost every night.

I made a lot of great friends in the sorority, but I found that living there made it very difficult to study, and my grades were terrible. As a pledge, I had to do a lot of menial jobs around the sorority house, everything from cleaning the bathrooms to changing out the air filters in the different A/C units around the building. One time the head of the sorority had her air conditioner quit on her, and she asked me to figure it out for her. I started researching HVAC repairs online, and discovered a few very interesting things. First of all, I learned how much certified HVAC techs can make, even when they are first starting out. Secondly, I learned that the HVAC industry was in desperate need of workers, and were actively seeking more females. HVAC techs are almost always men, and there was a growing call for diversity in the workforce. I realized that if I could get HVAC certified, it would be very easy for me to find a job that paid me good money. Why was I wasting time taking classes about romantic literature when I could be working towards an HVAC certification and starting a real career? My freshman year of college was also my final year of college!

air conditioning repair

Broken A/C in the Air BnB

Normally, running an AirBnB is a nice job.

I have found that the vast majority of guests are very considerate, and take good care of my cabin when they rent it.

There are always a few bad apples, but I don’t let that spoil my opinion of people in general. The truth is, if you are renting out a place, sooner or later you will rent to someone who is shady, or just thoughtless, and doesn’t treat your rental with respect. I am currently in the midst of cleaning up after one such guest, who not only trashed the place but broke the central HVAC system as well. Since I have a few such places, I have several repair specialists that I work with on a regular basis. Tom is my regular HVAC guy, and we have worked together long enough to form a friendship. It is so important for a property owner to have an HVAC contractor that they trust, because these systems can get quite expensive. This time around Tom had no good news for me, and the HVAC system was so badly damaged it would need to be replaced completely. He gave me a cost estimate that was staggeringly high, even with my “friends and family” discount with his HVAC company. I had a credit card on file for the renter, so I attempted to charge him for the full cost of the HVAC replacement, but it was declined. This jerk doesn’t have enough money to pay for my new HVAC system, so I may have to take him to court.

 

Air conditioning filter

The HVAC tech takes way too long

I don’t like people being in my house.

I wish I could say it was a side effect of the COVID pandemic, but I have been like this for years.

I have a social anxiety disorder, I assume, although I have never discussed it with a doctor because I don’t trust doctors. In general I like to be alone, or with a couple of friends, and stay away from strangers and the general public as much as possible. Sometimes people have to come into my home, however, like the pest control man who comes every three months, or the HVAC tech who comes by every six months. The HVAC tech is the worst, and not because he is a bad guy or anything, I just hate how long it takes. When the bug guy comes, he is here for ten minutes and then he is gone. No small talk, nothing like that, just does his job and leaves, but the HVAC tech seems to take half the day. I understand that there are two different air handlers in the house, so it’s a complicated HVAC set-up, but this guy takes four hours for a house call! I don’t want to be rude to the guy, because it’s not like I have ever dealt with an HVAC tech who was fast. HVAC techs must get paid by the hour, because every house call takes forever! I guess it still beats the alternative, which is having my central HVAC system break down on me, which would be a total nightmare for me.

 

Hybrid heating

The gun in the air vent

It is always a crapshoot to buy a house at auction, especially when it comes to a police auction.

Thanks to seizure laws, the cops can impound anything that was purchased with drug money, and then once a year they auction off all the stuff and keep the money.

Police auctions often have jewelry, cars, boats, motorcycles, and furs, and once in a while they even sell houses or property. I bought an amazing beachside condo at a police auction, the former residence of a drug dealer, and let me tell you it came with a few surprises. First of all, I found a handgun in the air duct of the main bedroom. I was cleaning the air vent and saw something just inside the ductwork, so I took a closer look and found a gun! I pondered what to do, because it might be evidence of a crime, but on the other hand I didn’t want cops poking through my house and looking in my ductwork. I just don’t trust cops, even if I do love their auctions. Since the central HVAC system was in good shape and didn’t need to be repaired, I decided that for the time being I would leave well enough alone. I left the gun in the air vent, put the grate back over it, and just went about my business like it wasn’t there. In the future, maybe I will figure out what to do with the gun, but for now I don’t see the harm in letting it sit in the air vent for a few months, or maybe a few years.
New heating units

A specialty HVAC job

When I first moved to the south it was a calculated risk.

I had only visited this area once before, on a long summer vacation when I was a kid.

My memories of that vacation are still quite vivid, and not in a good way. At the time I thought that my parents had driven us into Hell itself, because that is how hot and uncomfortable it was to be outside. At the time I vowed never to return, but twenty years later it seemed like a great idea, for a very different reason. A place this hot and humid demands a constant supply of air conditioning, and thus it is the land of opportunity for a certified HVAC tech. Currently I work for a specialty catering business, and it might seem weird that an HVAC tech works for a catering company, right? This company does high-end outdoor events that are hosted inside of air conditioned tents. Their clients want to be in the beauty of nature, but not the heat or humidity, so they have large, lavish tents rigged up with dozens of air vents connected to a cooling unit. The air vents are all flexible and able to be moved, rearranged, and then taken down when the event finishes. The whole set-up is 100% portable, and as the HVAC tech it is my sole duty to keep this system running at peak efficiency. It is a full time job, and I take it very seriously because they would lose all of their bookings without the air conditioning, and they pay me very well.

 

Washable filter

A practical joke with my air conditioners

My buddy Greg and I have a little running joke we share between us.

It started years ago when we were out drinking together. Greg excused himself to go to the bathroom, but snuck outside and moved my car around the block. I was convinced it had been stolen, and Greg lost his mind laughing at me! After that I struck back by stealing the TV from his bedroom when he was at class. We always give the stuff back, we aren’t stealing to keep these things, just to mess with the other guy. I was very impressed recently when Greg managed to steal all the air conditioning units from my house! I don’t have central A/C, I use a series of small window mounted units in four different rooms of my house. A window mounted AC unit is strong enough to cool off one room, so I have them in the kitchen, the living room, and both bedrooms. When I got back from a workout at the gym, I saw that all four of the air conditioners were gone, and I was impressed at the dedication to our joke! Have you ever tried lifting one of these air conditioners before? They may look small, but they are dense, and the HVAC components inside make it insanely heavy. It turns out Greg recruited a couple other friends, so they could dismount the air conditioners and hide them upstairs in the attic. I had to bribe these same guys with free beers to get them to bring the A/C units back down and help me install them again.

energy saving tips

The repair guy was making me uncomfortable

I don’t normally have people that come over to our house, but when I do I have no problem with them staying over for a while.

I have always been a people person and loved company and letting new people. However, my most recent interaction with somebody was what you would describe as less than normal. You see, our heating system had recently started having some problems. We have an electric furnace for his system and no limit was failing to eat all of our house properly we knew that something was up. We were not too surprised because the heater is a bit old and so we just figured that we would call a HVAC company and they could come out to service the issue. So we made the appointment with a heating and cooling provider and the following Tuesday a HVAC technician was sent to our home. I had a plan in my head how everything was going to go, but things didn’t go how I wanted them, not at all. When I opened the door to the heating and cooling guy, as soon as I made eye contact with him I got an unnerving vibe. There’s just something about him that really bothered me. I couldn’t place my finger on it. When I let him into the house to start working on the heating system, I showed him where it was and he got to work on it. The creepy part was that I would find him peeking around the corners staring at me. He would follow me to other rooms and scare me. I confronted him about it and he left. I think I’m going to wait until I’m not alone to have the heating system repaired.

 

gas furnace

The heating and a/c company provided the best service

When I started having problems with my air conditioning system, I was left unsure of what to do.

I had only recently started living by myself and I was unsure as to how exactly I was supposed to go about taking care of a problem like this.

I decided to ask a family member and they told me that it was an easy solution. All I had to do was call the local heating and air conditioning supplier and set up an appointment with them to have them come and service my HVAC unit. That seemed easy enough, so I picked the HVAC corporation that was nearest to me and made my appointment. It did not take long at all for the cooling specialist to make his way out to my home. He got here in a half an hour! I was really nervous because I was afraid that something serious would be wrong with my air conditioner and then I would have to pay a lot of money that I didn’t have to have it repaired. Thankfully when the heating and cooling guy was done examining it, he informed me that the only problem with it was a slight clog which he had already removed. The service was cheap and once the problem had been taken care of, it was like my air conditioner was new again. I went to the thermostat and gave it a try with no problem. I was greatly relieved to have it fixed. Now I can go back to enjoying the cool air without worry like I had done before.

 

 

Air conditioning supplier