Moving down south was a big change for my husband and I. We’d lived our whole lives in the northern area of the country. We were accustomed to winter weather that lasts for more than half the year. We used to rely heavily on the furnace and face temperatures down to twenty-five below zero. We spent a lot of money on our heating bills and devoted a great deal of time to dealing with snow removal. Four-wheel-drive vehicles, snow shovels, wool coats and ice scrapers were necessary equipment. When we started looking at houses for sale much further south, we were surprised that none of them included a basement. The water pump, heating and cooling systems are located outside. We were unfamiliar with fire ants, sinkholes and heat pumps. Many of the houses we looked at had big pits in the yard that the realtor explained were sinkholes, which can cause major damage to the foundation of the property. There were strange mounds of sand all over the place that we learned are caused by fire ants. I’d never experienced a type of ant that was so aggressive and nasty. Getting bit was extremely unpleasant. We ended up buying a house that is equipped with a heat pump. Being totally unfamiliar with that type of system, I did some research. The unit is an impressive innovation. It actually provides both heating and cooling capacity by reversing refrigerant flow. It can operate very much like an air conditioner and pull heat out of the inside air. It can also pull ambient heat from the outside air and transfer it inside to warm the house up. The heat pump is wonderfully energy efficient and environmentally friendly. It doesn’t burn fossil fuels so there’s no worry over carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, fumes, hot surfaces or greenhouse gases.