Let’s just say that we end up being big spenders every 3 years. Three years ago we bought our house. This year we spent a good amount of money on our various heating and cooling needs (in addition to replacing a car).
We never had central air conditioning in our apartments we lived in before buying this house. And the house didn’t have air conditioning, either. We’d been able to get by with fans and window air conditioning units. But the past few summers here, especially this year, proved we needed to do more. I could usually tough it out, but that didn’t seem like a good idea for the kids. Plus we only put window units in the bedrooms upstairs, which meant if it got too hot, we’d just hide out upstairs in a bedroom with the door closed. Which didn’t seem great for the kids either. And the thought of cooking anything in the house just seemed impossible, and even just eating dinner in the kitchen on the really hot days was awful.
Also? I became so cranky. It was like the heat version of “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry); I was so short tempered when it was hot. Which is also no good for anybody.
Yes, we could have continued to be uncomfortable, just suffering through the unbearably hot days and nights. I wish I could. But I didn’t want to keep being so uncomfortable. Just like Penny discussed awhile back: I could live without air conditioning, but I didn’t want to.
We got a few different quotes from local HVAC companies (one from the people who installed our heat system, and one from a different group). The second quote came out lower and their proposed plan sounded good to us.
So we got our house retrofitted with vents for air conditioning (since we don’t have vents for our heat because we have forced hot water). They ended up installing a smaller air conditioning unit than they originally planned after getting a better idea of what our house needed, which made the final cost a few thousand dollars cheaper than the original quote! We also got a split-type unit installed in our family room due to the layout of our house. The split can do both heating and cooling, which is a nice feature for the winter if we have any trouble heating the room (which has happened on really cold days in the past).
We don’t plan on running the air conditioning a whole lot. We don’t want to freeze ourselves! We plan on only running it as much as we need to feel comfortable while we’re home. So hopefully our electricity bill won’t be too much higher. It’s possible it could be lower, since I’m guessing the air conditioners we’d been using may not have been as efficient as a new system.
What big purchases have you made that have been worth it for you?