The Heater that Scared My Friends

The Heater that Scared My Friends

When I was in college, my friends and I took a spring break road trip.

  • We drove for half the day, and spent the other half sightseeing in whatever town we landed in that afternoon.

After long afternoons and evenings outside in the spring sun, we were usually unprepared for the chilly spring evenings; we would always retreat to our hotel room that night, ready to soak in some toasty air from the heating system in our room. One night, in a small, rural town in a particularly chilly area, we were perturbed by the HVAC equipment in our room. The heating and cooling unit, which was under a big window in the room, made bizarre sounds. The wheezing, cranking, and rattling of the HVAC system reminded all of us of horror movie sound effects, with a frightful creature skulking through the halls, looking to feast upon a group of unassuming spring breakers (like we were). Not to mention the actual heating—the air that came out of the HVAC unit was lukewarm, and vaguely humid, like the warm breath of a beast. We all huddled around it, soaking in any heated air that we could get, and staring at this equipment’s otherworldly sounds. I thought of my father, who was an HVAC technician; it was too late to call him, and I doubted that he could walk me through evaluating and repairing this heating system like a professional technician could. I just didn’t have the skills of a trained HVAC repair person. But, when we left the hotel the next day—none of us had slept a wink—I let the front desk clerk know that there was a problem with the heating system. I recommended an urgent visit from a qualified HVAC technician, so that no more spring breakers would be kept up by the haunting sounds of the in-room heating unit!

 

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