ducts in a row

Our inspector told us when we moved in that we needed to get the ductwork cleaned. Supposedly, cleaning them results in lower energy bills and reduced dust/mold/allergens in your house. We suspected it had been a while since they were cleaned, so yesterday when I saw an ad in the mail I decided to finally call and set up an appointment.

According to the ad, it would be $110 for 15 vents and one return. What I didn’t realize is that they would have to do more than that $110 price point, so it ended up costing us almost $800. Yikes! Didn’t plan for that, but it came out of the “house renovations” budget and we have a lot of money floating around in there thanks to not having enough to get the foundation fixed. Our house has 2 returns (upstairs and down in the den), and 3 main trunks that distribute the air (one for each level I think?). So, we had to pay extra for those things, since that original price only covered one of each. Also, they had to add access panels to the main trunks, which means the system has never been cleaned in the 50 years this house has been around. (More $$$.)

Another thing they did was inspect the furnace. Unfortunately for us, the original owner was quite a DIY-er. I don’t want to put down DIY projects – they are great if you can do it well and do it right! However, this guy either didn’t do it right or didn’t do it in a way that it would last. Our HVAC unit was put in 1997, and it was hooked up completely wrong. I can’t remember how it is – I think it’s cooling the air before it’s filtering it… but whatever it is, it’s causing the unit to get gunked up with air particles and run more inefficiently. Someday when we win the lottery we really need to replace the whole thing with a unit that works correctly.

So today they cleaned the whole furnace – the AC coil, the heating coil, and the blower house. These really, really needed to be cleaned for the reasons I mentioned above. So even though that added $$$, it was good that we went ahead and got it done.

While the ad didn’t lie, I feel like it was a bit misleading about the price. They should have mentioned that there are other things involved that you *have* to do (you can’t just skip that part). Oh well.

I told the guy about our house heating unevenly, and he said that putting insulation in the crawlspace and putting in a return for the main level would help with that. Apparently the return that’s in the hallway upstairs is sucking up some of the warm air from downstairs. We’ll add that to our list, though it will probably fall in the “only if we stay here 40 years” category, right under replacing all the paneling with drywall.


adding to our list

Originally posted at twentysixcats.com

The arrival of summer has shown us a few more issues with our house that we’ll need to take care of. First off, it’s really really hot in here! I have the A/C on, and the thermometer reads that it’s only 78 or 80 inside, but sweat is just pouring off me! I don’t tend to be warm by nature, so I am wondering why.

I have a theory but I’m not sure how accurate it is. Our house is really humid – it’s not vented properly so we have had some issues with humidity even in the winter. I notice it mostly with the windows – mold builds up on the frame, so we have to keep cleaning them with bleach (like, every 6 months… it’s not REALLY bad). Humidity doesn’t really bother us much (heck, we live in Atlanta) but now that it’s summer my guess is that it’s REALLY humid inside. And that is making it feel much hotter than it is. What do you think of my theory? Plausible or totally off-base?

It could also be an issue with our A/C. The inspector told us that it was hooked up wrong, and we would need to get a professional out to take a look at it. Worst case scenario, we need a new unit, but I don’t think that will be necessary right now. I need to get someone out here; I’m just worried about the cost.

The biggest thing that will help with the humidity will be to put in attic vents. Our inspector last year told us that the easiest way to do that will be to get them put in when we reroof the house, which is still a few years away (hopefully!). I know putting a vapor barrier in the crawlspace will help, too – we’ll get that done when we fix the foundation. Any other ideas of bringing down the humidity in the house, short of putting a dehumidifier in every room?

I already mentioned the mosquitoes we’ve been having trouble with. Not sure what to do about that, either. What are the things that make those pesky bugs worse. Standing water? Tall weeds? We need to try and figure that out. It’s worse around our carport, so that’s a place to start.

We have been daydreaming recently about what we want to do with our yard. Those of you privy to my Facebook updates will know that we have some trouble with people walking through our yard since it’s a corner lot. Also, the way our house is situated, our side yard is actually the biggest area and probably where our kids will play. I’d love to have some sort of natural barrier along the sidewalk to keep our kids in and unwanted people out – perhaps some poplar trees?

We’d love to get our yard to a place where we can spend time outdoors. Keeping the bugs to a minimum is key, but also making it a nice place to be will help. We talked today about tilling the whole backyard (there isn’t a blade of grass, only weeds) and planting grass. Someday, someday! There are some things we need to think about first, like how to divert the water from pooling in our yard when it rains. I really know nothing about landscaping so what I have in my head might not even be possible. We’ll see!

Today with the help of some friends we moved a few pieces of furniture downstairs. I am excited! We also moved down our desktop computer to the den, and a few other miscellaneous items. I’m trying to turn a corner of the den into a small office, and the rest of the den will be a playroom. I think it’s going to be a really nice living space when we’re done! I told Paul that I’d like to make the living room upstairs a nice place to have guests and entertain, and the den a place where we can relax and let the kids have fun.

I look forward to working on making the living room look nice decor-wise. Though, I’m about out of money so I better start coming up with inexpensive solutions. :-)