History indicates some things seemed like a good idea until they weren’t. For instance, in the 1950s smoking was cool, cheap, fashionable, and socially acceptable. Everybody was doing it. Ashtrays were everywhere including doctors’ waiting rooms until smoking was linked to lung cancer. My father-in-law was smoking a cigarette as he explained something will kill him. Lung cancer did. I watched Elmer take his last breath.

All X-Ray exposures were considered safe. A friend told me as a child he enjoyed going to a well-known department store where he put his feet in the X-ray machine near the shoe department. He would go there almost every day and watch his toes wiggle. Kids do these things. In time, we learned frequent direct exposures to high levels of X-Rays were harmful. Odds are the X-Ray exposures caused his early death.

The innovation of asbestos changed the building industry because the fibers provided strength without adding much weight. Asbestos insulating and fire-resistant properties made it an ideal substance to add to cement. It seemed like brilliant technology at the time. Many of us have lost friends or relatives that died from asbestosis.

What other risky behaviors seem like a good idea today until common sense tells us otherwise?

  1. Indoor air basically can be ignored! Approximately 97% of all homes have at least one indoor air quality issue; 83% have at least two indoor air quality issues; 85% of all households have Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which are the off gassing of chemicals from candles, air fresheners, carpets, paints, furniture, copy machines, etc.. 61% have pets; 39% are sensitive to dust, pollen, or pet dander; 19% have allergies, and 14% have asthma.
  2. We will pay the price if ignore reality as our lungs collect the contaminants. The best HVAC contractors will have the equipment to test your indoor air quality and make recommendations. Healthy air requires fresh air makeup and improved air filtration.

  3. If there was a natural gas leak, I would smell it. Natural gas leaks can be difficult to detect without special equipment. Leaks are becoming more common as pipe joint compounds dry out over time. Leaking natural gas costs money and can cause fires or explosions. Excessive leaks can cause headaches, decreased vision, fatigue, shortness of breath, and loss of consciousness.
  4. It’s cheaper to repair my air conditioner or heat pump rather than replace it. This could be true unless it is not energy efficient or has R-22 refrigerant. R-22 refrigerant tripled in price over the last two years because government regulations greatly reduced the supply. R-22 costs will continue going through the roof as availability goes down. Purchase only R-410A equipment
  5. My contractors are here to help me. And sometimes they help themselves to your valuables! The top two trades taught in prison are plumbing and HVAC. Contractor background checks and drug testing are important. The world has changed. Who is that stranger in your home?
  6. It seemed cheaper to hire a Jack of all trades than a licensed contractor. It’s a red flag if the handyman says no permit is needed. Odds are he doesn’t have proper insurance coverage that covers trades like electrical, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning or the knowledge to do things properly. Sounds like a potential lawsuit. Licensed contractors are required to maintain insurance.
  7. I save maintenance money by not having my heating and air conditioning system serviced. Wrong. Consumers lose 20% to 30% or more in wasted energy by not having HVAC equipment serviced regularly by a licensed NATE-certified HVAC contractor. Regular service can include things like removing debris from evaporator and condenser coils, removing soot from the fireside of the burner, and adjusting refrigerant pressures that are often not accurate.

    Equipment manufacturers often require regular service maintenance on their equipment or the warranty may be null and void.

  8. Our HVAC system is very dependable, so we never worry about it. If it fails while you are gone, will you know before pipes freeze and burst? New thermostats can notify your iPhone and provide peace of mind while saving 25% to 35% in energy costs each year. It makes sense to adjust the temperatures when you are gone. Save major headaches by letting your HVAC contractor select and install your thermostat!

    Some risky behaviors or marginal decisions become obvious when pointed out. At that point, it’s up to us to avoid bad decisions so we can live life to the fullest.

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