my circuit board home

a blue gary house, shown from the back corner with white tubes snaking along various parts of it. There is a man on a ladder

So I got heat pumps. Which is a weird thing to call them because, while they do pump in heat in the winter, in the summertime they pump in cold. I am just calling them “the chillers” for now. When I got a new toilet installed right after I moved in, the plumber I called (Walker Plumbing and Heating!) mentioned he also did heat pumps. I filed that news away for later and took care of a bunch of more immediate issues like getting a couch and upgrading some electrical stuff (and removing the power meter that was only for the hot water heater). But this spring, when temps hit 90° very briefly and the upstairs of my place became an oven and when I saw my plumber moving up and down the nearby streets installing heat pumps, I gave him a call. I expected this would be one of those “Call now to set up an appointment for November.” things but instead he was ready in a few weeks.

This house is quirky. In all the rooms but one, the window screens don’t move. This means that even if you want window AC units, you can’t have them unless you climb up the outside of the house to remove the screens. When people ask “Why is this weird back room your bedroom?” one of the answers is “It was where I could put an AC unit in.” Another answer of course, is “Have you MET me?” One of the back rooms had no heat in it at all. Now it does. Now my office can be less than 85° when I’m trying to work. And maybe Jim and I can watch TV without being under the electric blanket in the winter. Maybe.

The thing I did not really think about is the extent to which the outside of my house was going to be showing off more of its infrastructure now. I consider myself incredibly lucky that the pipes (or pipe covers, really) match the trim. I’m definitely leaning in to the fact that the house looks like a weird circuit board. People say about the pipe covers “You can paint them!” but realistically we all know I will not.

As someone who grew up completely without air conditioning (and, if I am being honest, without enough heat) I do not really know how to use it besides making my bedroom cold enough that I can actually get to sleep. It all feels very Queen-of-England to me to have access to this sort of technology, even as I regularly make use of all sorts of bonkers-style internet communication in my day to day life that was almost inconceivable to kid-me. The chillers are on the internet. I may take them off of it.

What do you think?


  1. When I see those ducts, I think to myself, “that person is smart. They have a heat pump (or two, in your case). Paint, shmaint. I think they look totally fine as is. Nice post. Well written.