One of my closest friends works as an installation tech for a heating and cooling supplier in my city. He started the job while I was in college, having never gone to trade school or any form of post secondary education. At first, he loved the life change; he finally had disposable income beyond anything he had ever seen before, and he felt proud having a career while being on a pathway to stability and success. But like so many of us, no matter what our careers or work entails, he started to burn out after a year of physical abuse. He always complained about ripping out old fiberglass insulation and going completely insane hours later at home feeling all of the needle-like fibers stuck in his skin from head to toe with little to no relief. He said it was also particularly grueling to work up inside attics all of the time, which aside from being cramped spaces with the most heat in the building, they also often have rodents or spiders. A lot of the difficulty comes with creating a near-custom system each time you work on a new property. Sure, if you’re dealing with condominiums, model homes in a subdivision, or even modular mobile homes—you have building plans shared between many units and an existing system to reference. But if you find a random old house built decades ago with a strange layout and design, troubleshooting the HVAC installation can get extremely frustrating. If you decide to put in a split system, part of the challenge comes with finding the ideal location for the air handler. You need room for the outgoing air to reach some kind of ventilation system—be it in an attic, crawl space, or wall. Plus, you need access for the air return, or the duct for multiple air returns. Many small spaces necessitate putting the return at floor level which comes with the downsides of dirtier filters and suboptimal air flow. Unfortunately, in some cases, you’re forced to compromise with the best plan available.