Fixing an air conditioner for extra cash

When I first moved here I had nothing but a garbage bag filled with clothes, my tools, and my old station wagon.

My plan was to live in the station wagon for a few weeks while I put together some money.

It wound up being a lot more difficult than I anticipated, and it was only through the generosity of an old friend that I got to move out of the car. I stayed in an old work shed on my friend’s property, so it wasn’t much better than a station wagon. I drove to the local swap meet to get a bedroll, a lamp, and to look for a portable air conditioner. Buying the portable air conditioner served two causes – first, it would keep me comfortable in my new environment, and second, I could tune it up and resell it for a profit. I am not a super smart guy, but I am good at fixing things, and always had a knack for the older models of air conditioners. The newer AC units are too complex for me, but the old ones are not hard to tune up and refurbish. I bought a broken air conditioner at the swap meet for a couple of bucks. Over the next few days I repaired it, and then used it at night for cooling down the shed where I was staying. The following week I was able to resell that air conditioner for forty bucks. I was able to get some food, some beer, and I spent a few bucks to buy two more broken air conditioners.



air purification

Helping Buzz with his cooling problem

Uncle Buzz was the black sheep of the family.

  • I was told that he had always been a little off, and while he was a smart man he couldn’t function in society.

Mostly he stayed in his cabin, deep in the woods, and lived alone. As I got older and went to college, I came to see that Uncle Buzz might have had some undiagnosed mental problems. In previous generations people didn’t seem as concerned with mental health as we are today. I started to visit Uncle Buzz and tried to find small ways to help him. When his air conditioner broke, I told him there wasn’t too much I could do. Picking up his groceries or his beer is one thing, but I don’t know how to fix an air conditioner. Since he was very paranoid, Buzz didn’t want to have an HVAC tech come inside his house.I did a little research online, and then picked up a couple of air filters to bring over to his house. It didn’t fix anything, but his old air filters were dirty and clogged so I’m sure it helped a little! Next we took off the cover to the wall mounted thermostat and checked out the wiring and the electronics inside. With no other options that I could think of, I told Buzz that if he really needed cooling for his house, he either needed to call in an expert, or buy a small A/C unit from the hardware store. He decided to have a small A/C unit delivered, and we installed it ourselves.

HVAC duct

Saving up for an air conditioner

What was your first job? My first job was cutting people’s lawns. That seems very antiquated these days, I know! Back then there were not a lot of residential lawn care companies, and most people had to mow their own grass. I was a teenager, too young to drive, so I dragged my old lawnmower around behind me on my bike, going door to door asking if anyone needed work done. I was lucky if I made ten bucks for mowing a big lawn, and I would usually only get five. I worked very hard, because I wanted enough money to buy my own air conditioner before the dog days of summer arrived. You have to remember that this was over 20 years ago, and since then the technology of the HVAC industry has grown by leaps and bounds. Back then there were no programmable thermostats or anything like that, the heating and cooling equipment was a lot simpler. That doesn’t mean it was cheaper, though! Oddly enough, it costs about the same back then as it does now for a small, window-mounted air conditioning unit. I met my goal, raised enough money, and had my mother drive me to the hardware store so I could pay cash for my own air conditioner. When you have to work hard for something it means a lot more, and I have to say that for one summer, that air conditioner was the greatest thing in my life! To this day whenever I go to a hardware store I always check their prices on air conditioners, just out of curiosity.
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Moving into a new position

My lawyer says I can’t discuss the details until after everything is settled, but basically I took a spill off a third floor balcony.

I was working at the time, and something just happened.

I’ve never had an accident at work before, and this one was pretty bad. I broke both of my legs in several places. I could no longer work in my old position, but once I was mobile enough in my new wheelchair the company owner gave me a new job in the front office. I have always been an HVAC tech and felt a little weird being at a desk all day, but it turns out I’m pretty good at it! I was able to handle simple tasks, but it seemed that the days of me performing A/C checkups and duct cleanings were behind me. On the positive side, my boss learned that having an experienced HVAC tech running the office made the entire business run more smoothly. Since I know a lot more about HVAC systems than the previous secretary who worked here, I can more easily fill out the work orders and get things done. Is it a matter of air quality or comfort, do they need a total duct cleaning or just an annual inspection? Different HVAC techs have different specialties, and I am in the position to put the right workers on the right jobs. This leads to a faster completion rate on our day to day HVAC repair jobs, and with higher efficiency it means that we are all making more money now!

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I wanted to go to school, just not to college.

After graduation from high school, I knew I wanted to go to school.

  • I just did not want to go to college.

I could see how technical school would help me more than college. I couldn’t see going back and taking history, and math, and physical education, when all I wanted to be was an HVAC technician. It seemed like a waste of time and money to go through all the studies again when it did not pertain to what I wanted to do after graduation. I told mom and dad that I wanted to go to HVAC technical school, and they were there for me. Dad wanted to know what I planned on doing after going to technical school. It sounded like a stupid question, but I thought he was asking if I was going to work for an HVAC company, and if I had any idea who. I knew that being asked to take an apprenticeship from an HVAC company right out of school was a big deal. I hoped to be asked if I wanted an apprenticeship. First, I had to go to HVAC technical school. After I get through technical school, I had to get my HVAC certification. It all depended on how well I did in school and on my certification test, whether they would offer me an apprenticeship with one of our local HVAC companies. Who knows? Maybe I’ll own a HVAC company someday. The kid who was always getting in trouble for goofing off was finally deciding about his future. I just hope it all turns out how I am planning.



Electric heating

She said she was going to school, but I didn’t expect this.

When my daughter graduated from college, I asked her what she was going to do with her newly earned degree? She gave me a great big grin and told me she was going to technical school.

I didn’t know what to say.

My eyes grew wide, my mouth dropped, and I could see that I disappointed her. I didn’t expect to spend $150,000 for my daughter to go to college, only to tell me ‌she was now going to technical school. I asked her what she was going to technical school for, and once again my mouth dropped, but this time I think it really hit the floor. She told me she was going to be an HVAC company owner, but first she had to be an HVAC technician. I was speechless‌. The only words that would come out of my mouth were o-o-o-kay! I could see the tears in her eyes, and she told me I didn’t understand. She had gone to school and taken up website development so that she could own an HVAC company. She wanted to ‌create websites for herself and other HVAC companies to help them become productive. As an HVAC technician, she could work for an online website development company and work strictly with HVAC company owners. She could develop their websites and help them ‌become more productive and successful. When she explained this to me, I understood more of what she was saying, but I couldn’t understand why she wanted to be an HVAC company owner and not just an HVAC technician? Her only response was: why wouldn’t I?



While the classrooms are being fumigated, we have portable classrooms

I told the maintenance staff that I heard a strange sound coming from the ventilation duct work in my classroom.

I was told that the noises were the sound of the furnace.

I knew there was no way that was true, since I have a furnace in my own home and it never sounds like that. It seemed like the issue could be mice running around inside of the walls. When the school board was forced to do something about the rat problem, I was moved to a portable classroom outside. The school paid for two portable classrooms to be set up outside. The kids and I were forced into one of the classrooms. I had another teacher join me with all 26 of her students. We barely have any room at all for the kids to sit. The worst part about the portable classrooms are the fact that they do not have any heat or air conditioning. If the temperatures are warm, the kids are warm. If it rains, the building frequently leaks. The principal told us that it would take approximately two weeks for all of the fumigation services to be finished, but I think she is off on that number, because it really doesn’t look like they are close to being finished and the two-week time frame is going to be up in a couple of days. I haven’t even seen any of the workers at all this week. It seems like they started the project one week and then went on a permanent lunch break for the next week.


Portable Restroom Solutions

Having a handy guy is way better

I remember when I was in my twenties looking for a partner.

My criteria was very different from what I was looking for in my thirties.

When I was younger I wanted a good looking guy that worked out, had some kind of job and was fun. When I got older I started caring less about physical appearance. Who cares if he has six pack abs? I wanted a guy that was handy. A handy guy is worth his weight in gold. I debated a hot guy that went to the gym everyday but he couldn’t even unclog a sink drain. We had to hire everything out or I had to figure it out. I was changing air filters, looking up garbage disposal troubleshooting and electrical issues. Later on in life I started dating a guy that liked beer and potato chips and it showed. However, he was a HVAC contractor. The guy had my HVAC machine working in tip top shape. I never had to worry about a dirty air filter, low coolant or an unexpected HVAC repair. He also was willing to mess around with my septic tank when it overflowed and took care of an electrical issue for me. I ended up marrying that guy because of many reasons, but a good reason was how handy he was. Having a guy just take care of things is nice and it saves you money. I no longer hire out HVAC services, plumbing and electrical jobs. Yes, I would like my man to lose a bit of weight, but you can’t have everything.

air quality

Good thing I am a HVAC technician

All the coolant would leak to one side and not be as good at air conditioning the home.

Landlords are never honest with you. When I moved into my rental home the landlord told me that the HVAC was serviced and he didn’t want me to call and complain about it later on. That automatically seemed odd to me. I did some investigating and found out that it was in no way serviced. The air filter had pounds of dust, dirt and hair in it. The inner workings were dirty and moldy. It looked like nobody had touched the HVAC machine for a very long time. Thankfully I am a HVAC contractor. After work one day I brought my tools home and did a proper tune up on the machine. I lubricated the fan motor belt, put coolant in the AC and changed out the air filter. The machine worked great. I see where people would complain about improper heating and cooling. When the machine is trying to work through pounds of dust, it cannot function as well as it should. I also noticed the outdoor unit was sitting at an angle as well. All the coolant would leak to one side and not be as good at air conditioning the home. I just bought a few blocks and righted the outdoor unit. It was a simple job but the AC was so much better afterwards. I stayed in that rental for about two years and I know I made the place better. I fixed a ton of things and that HVAC machine was working like a champion when I left.



Local HVAC

Had some bad HVAC experiences

My HVAC equipment had been working great since the time I bought my house.

My wife then read an article online that said you need to get yearly HVAC service.

I tried to talk her out of it, but she wouldn’t budge. She hired a HVAC technician, he did the service date and leaf. He took our money and left our HVAC in worse condition. It no longer turned on at all. I wasn’t pleased at all. I called the HVAC professional back and he told me my machine was no longer functional. He tried to act like the machine was going any day now and he happened to service it on its last day. I feel the guy broke my HVAC device. I ended up having to buy a new HVAC machine. I went to a different company this time. They said only the top of the line, most expensive machine was available. I ended up having to buy that since I was desperate for AC. When the guys came to install the HVAC machine I noticed that the pad the outdoor unit usually sits on wasn’t under it. I asked what the problem was. Apparently they brought too small of a pad and were just going to install it without one. No way! That would ruin the HVAC prematurely and they were just being lazy. I made them go back and get a new pad. After it was all installed I had working heating and air. I still haven’t found a decent HVAC company though. I am not happy with the experiences I have had so far.


Air conditioning repair