I only go camping when there is AC

Getting the RV was an agreement my wife and I made to settle some differences we had been experiencing.

After ten years of marriage, you learn how to give and take to achieve a sense of equilibrium in the relationship.

In this case, my wife loves the outdoors, and in particular she likes hiking and camping. I do not like sleeping or staying in the woods, although I don’t mind the day trips. We got the RV so that we could go camping for a weekend, and yet I could still have a bed, a working toilet, and an air conditioner. She complained about how much money it was, at first, but I think she appreciates how much happier I am spending time outdoors if I can return to an air conditioner at the end of it. If I know that we are going to a tent with no cooling and no ventilation, it will make me feel cranky all day. Now I know we can go explore, hike, have adventures ,work up a sweat, and then return to the RV for a hot shower, a clean towel, and a cold air vent. When the campground has power hookups, we can even run the AC and the water heater without keeping the engine running. Regardless, I will keep the engine idling all night long if that’s what it takes to keep the climate control working. If I have to go back to spending hot, humid nights fighting bugs in a total lack of cooling, I think I will retire from camping with my wife.

 

air conditioning provider

Tearing the AC units out of the hotel

While it is true that HVAC technology has grown by leaps and bounds since the 90s, it is also true that a good, dependable air conditioner is worth money.

The town had become a ghost town in the late 90s. There was a factory that had provided jobs for many people here, and when it went out of business, so did the town. It has achieved some local fame for being a ghost town, and tourists come by to take pictures, but basically no one wants it. When a local developer was selling off entire blocks of the town for a song, I took a chance and bought one. I run an HVAC repair business, as well as the town scrap yard, and I bought a specific piece of land for what might be on it. Since there was a hotel on this block, I thought that I could go in and take all the individual air conditioners from all of the rooms. While it is true that HVAC technology has grown by leaps and bounds since the 90s, it is also true that a good, dependable air conditioner is worth money. Most of my customers are not wealthy, and if they have a chance to get a high powered air conditioner for less than normal, they will jump on it. Not to mention I can strip out ductwork, air vents, the water boilers, and tons of other pieces to use in other repairs, or to sell for scrap! For as cheap as the land was, I can easily double or triple my money just from the air conditioning equipment. I have a plumber friend, maybe I can make more money by selling him the pipes from the walls.

 

wireless thermostat

A dangerous HVAC job

I waited six years to tell this story.

That is the statute of limitations for what happened, so I figure now I can talk about it with no legal problems.

A man came into my office, right after we closed for the day. He looked dangerous, right off the bat, but was very polite and asked for a few minutes of my time. He told me there was a case he had trouble with, and he wanted my help to sort it out. He presented himself like a detective, but he was a criminal. I asked him what an HVAC tech could possibly help him with, and he told me an incredible story. One of his guys had been arrested a few years ago, but had managed to hide his stash of retirement cash behind one of the air vents in his building. Well, that building was condemned and evacuated soon after, and next week it was going to be demolished so he needed a ductwork expert to help him find the money. He offered me a flat twenty grand if I could find it, and for a humble HVAC tech like myself that is worth several months of full-time work! He was afraid I would find it and take it all, so the guy hung out with me while I searched the ductwork system of the building. I worked in a grid pattern, taking it floor by floor and air vent by air vent. It took three days to find it, and it was the easiest twenty grand I have ever made.

Whole home air purification

Sinking the money into my HVAC company

Grandma and Grandpa came up in hardscrabble times. They had a dirt farm, and by that I mean it was basically only good for growing dirt. My folks were out of the picture, for reasons I would rather not get into right now, so my grandparents raised me. It was not a great life, but they did the best they could. They got the most they could from every single dollar, and never spent anything extra on themselves. It turns out they had been saving cash in the basement for decades, and when I inherited the place, I found almost a hundred thousand dollars. So I opened my own HVAC repair shop, which I think would have made them proud. After high school I had gotten a job with an HVAC contractor because it was available, but I ended up being pretty good at it. It turns out that they had kept that money hidden so that I would learn to make my way in life, which is why they had been so happy when I got certified for HVAC work. They knew I had a set of skills I could use to provide for myself and my family, so to them the HVAC job was far more valuable than all the money. Personally, I’m glad I have a career, but I am extra glad to have all this cash! I can sink it into my HVAC company, expand it, and maybe even get to a place where I can hire techs to do all of the work for me.

cooling specialist

A/C troubles and personality conflicts

Her sister is one of those people that hates recirculated air and HVAC systems in general, and she wanted to drive with the windows down.

When we first planned the trip it was just my girlfriend and I going up the coast and back for a few days. Sightseeing, day drinking, and bonfires under the stars. She invited her sister for some reason, and her sister brought her boyfriend, who also brought his underage sister. Now there were five of us in this RV camper, and the trip was seeming like it would be less fun. They say the more merrier, but not in this case! As I knew would happen, the thermostat became an issue for a few different folks. It seems that if you can get two people to agree on the air conditioner setting you are lucky, but it’s impossible to get a consensus with this many people in one shared space. Her sister is one of those people that hates recirculated air and HVAC systems in general, and she wanted to drive with the windows down. I tried to be nice about it, but it was ninety degree outside, we were driving seventy, and I wanted the air conditioner to be running! Eventually she took the batteries out of the thermostat and threw them out the window, so the AC stayed off for a while. When we stopped I bought new batteries and explained to her that if she messed with the A/C again I would leave her on the roadside. Her boyfriend tried to get in my face, and I calmly explained that we could either keep going, and run the air conditioner, or I could beat him to a pulp and leave him by the road.

business

Freelance HVAC work harder to find

As an online journalist, I am always looking for a fresh story. I don’t try to uncover conspiracies, or talk about politics, nor do I review movies. I seek out the weird and wonderful people of my community who don’t have an online life, and I tell their stories. The best characters are human beings, and the best tales are the stories of their lives. A few weeks ago I met Barbara, a self professed beach bum who was passing through town. She was a certified HVAC repair tech, and was only in town long enough to make some money and get back to the beach. I asked if she was an independent contractor, and she admitted that she wasn’t officially an HVAC tech, she just did cash-only jobs. She had the skills, and the HVAC certification, but didn’t pay taxes or leave a paper trail. When she went to a town she would approach various general contractors, until she found one that didn’t mind hiring an off-the-books HVAC tech to work for cash. It saves the contractor money, it puts the cash directly in the HVAC tech’s pocket, and the work gets done to a high standard. She told me how it was getting harder every year, because so many HVAC companies were so automated they didn’t do cash jobs any more. Barbara doesn’t want to settle down, she doesn’t want a steady job, she just wants enough HVAC work to pay for gas and food, so she can keep spending time on the beach. Isn’t that the American Dream?

cooling

Finding the right air duct

I met Dougie in jail, and we quickly became friends.

I was in there for something stupid, just for a few days until my trial date, but Dougie was in there for the long haul. He was only at the jail until they transferred him upstate to the prison, where he had three life sentences to ride out. Dougie made me an offer. When I got out, I could go dig up an old package he had hidden. It was cash money, a lot of it, and if I gave 90% of it to his wife, I could keep 10% for my troubles. The money was in the ventilation system of a condemned apartment building, hidden deep in one of the air ducts. Sounded easy enough, but then I saw the place and realized there were miles of air ducts in there. Seriously, the building was sixteen stories high, with separate HVAC systems on every floor, with hundreds of vents and miles worth of ductwork. It was still an easy job — finding the needle in the HVAC haystack, but it would take a lot of time to go through it all. I asked Dougie if he knew which floor the air vent was on, but he could only tell me it was one of the “middle floors.” Eventually, after two weeks, I popped open the right air vent, and found a suitcase wedged into one of the air ducts. My HVAc adventure had taken a long time, but my cut of recovered money was almost fifty thousand bucks, so I am not complaining!

 

 

HVAC serviceman

I stole the batteries from the thermostat

I admit that I lied to my friends, but it was for the greater good.

  • Eventually they will come to see that I made the right call.

If anything else, it got everyone on the same page after two solid days of constant bickering and in-fighting. There are seven of us, and for some reason we believed we could do this road trip in the same RV camper. There is technically enough space for us all to sleep during the trip, but it;s not enough space for all our quirks and personalities. It seemed that the biggest bone of contention among everyone was the thermostat, and the temperature settings for the RV. It started with arguments and bickering, but when two friends almost came to blows over the thermostat, I knew something had to be done. When no one was looking, I took the batteries out of the thermostat and slipped them into my pocket. Immediately the air conditioning went off, and that started a new round of arguments. We opened up all the windows for natural ventilation, and no one was happy, but at least they were now mad at the “faulty” thermostat instead of one another. The problem came later, when someone discovered the batteries were missing from the thermostat and started asking questions. Although I was fine with deceiving my friends about the air conditioning, I could not bring myself to lie to their faces and came clean. Everyone got pretty mad about it, except for Dave, who thought it was a bold move, and then threw the thermostat batteries out the window.

quality heating

HVAC tech at a swank beach resort

Working at a beach resort is not the same as staying at a beach resort.

Because of the nature of my work I actually have a cabana on the beach near the resort, but it isn’t the same as being a guest.

I am not complaining, because I get paid a good wage, my rent is free, and I get to stay right on the beach! Don’t tell the bosses, but I would take a pay cut just to keep living here. Of course being so close to work isn’t always a blessing, it means I am on call for HVAC emergencies around the clock. There are other repair techs for the place, but as of right now I am the lead HVAC tech, so all red-flag jobs come to me, any time of night or day. Our guests pay an obscene amount of money to stay here, so if there is any issue with the climate control, I am at their door within minutes. You get what you pay for, and in this case it means quick and proficient HVAC service that will have your room back at the perfect temperature before you know it. Because of the level of wealth these people have, not only do I have to be an HVAC tech but I have to apologise and kowtow to them a lot, too. Rich people expect that, even from the guy who came to fix their air conditioning problem. I don’t mind it, because quite frankly this is a dream job for any HVAC tech, and I won’t let a few jerks ruins it for me.
Programmable thermostat

A new, smaller air conditioner

Last saturday, fortune smiled upon me.

I had one of those wonderful, rare days where everything seemed to happen for a reason.

I woke up early, so I could dig all of my summer swimming gear out of the attic and pick out what to bring. We were going to do some light scuba diving on the lakebed and see what we could find. In that tangle of gear I found an old wallet I thought I had lost, and it had over two hundred bucks in it! This was especially amazing news because I knew that my old air conditioner was about to die, and I needed to start saving up for a new one. On the drive out, I stopped by Walmart to grab some snacks and drinks with my newfound wealth, and while I was there I checked out what air conditioners they had. Much to my surprise, I found they had a huge stack of small, portable cooling units that were on sale for two hundred bucks! I had been thinking strictly in terms of getting a replacement for my central HVAC system, which of course costs thousands of dollars. This two hundred dollar air conditioner would not cool the whole house, but it could handle one room at a time, and that sounded like a good temporary solution to me! I have now owned my new air conditioner for one week, and I have to say it performs better than I expected. It does a wonderful job cooling down whatever room I place it in.

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