Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Can't Live Without: Air Conditioning

I'm melting, meeelllltttiiinnngg

As much as I'd like to be ultra green and frugal, there are certain little luxuries I'm not willing to live without. Not without being forced to anyway.

The first of these is air conditioning.

I know it's horrible for the environment. I know it's one of the biggest energy hogs in my home. I know millions live without it now and have lived without it for hundreds of years. But the thought of facing a 90+ F day, with high-humidity, without AC? Um, no thank you.

We got a taste of AC-lite life over Memorial Day weekend when the central air conditioner in min hus suddenly started working at about 80%. Of course this happened on one of the hottest weekends we've had all year. It was a painful 1.5-2 days until the repairman came this morning. The AC was constantly running just to keep the temp steady at 77-79. The cats were miserable. The Boy wouldn't leave the basement, where it easily stays 5-10 degrees cooler. It made my frugal little heart tense just thinking about all the kilowatts we were wasting just to make it barely liveable in the house.

I know there are people who keep the AC at 78F all the time. My grandmother is one of them. No freaking thank you. It's bearable if you sit still, under the ceiling fan and don't move other than to say, click a mouse or something. Forget about cooking, vacuuming or doing anything else that generates heat.

I know people who go without AC all summer, in much hotter stickier places than Ohio, but I don't understand how. We didn't have central air conditioning when I was growing up and I remember being hot, sticky and miserable at times. Some nights I would sleep on my parents floor, as close to the window AC as possible just to get some relief.

In my first apartment after college I only had a window AC. I practically lived in my bedroom.

Life without central AC just isn't for me. Without it I'd be a fatter, stinkier version of myself because I'd never cook, or dry my hair, or vacuum. Forget biking for exercise if I didn't have a place to cool off at afterwards.

Luckily my little AC problem cost $250 to solve (at least, I hope that was the end of it. Did I mention it's a less-than-two-years-old system that I bought to avoid these issues in the first place?!?!). So until someone pries my AC away or I can't afford the bills, it'll be on.

Do you live without AC easily? What are the last things you'd give up, no matter how ungreen?


  1. Ha! Well, I'm one of those people who would drive you crazy. I finally got central A/C a few years ago when I quit my job and started working from home, but I only use it sparingly. The truth is that I get really cold when the inside temperature falls below 80. I suppose the fact that Denver has practically no humidity helps.

    But the tables are turned in the winter time, because I'm literally cold all the freakin' time! I know a good greenie would set the furnace at 68, but even at 70 I require 4 layers of clothing and a heating pad to stay reasonably warm.

  2. p.s. Your cat is totally adorable!

  3. ECL - LOVE your name btw.
    It's less that you would drive me crazy and more that I just don't understand being comfortable at 78-80. I would be miserable. It's 76 in here and I'm warm. But we have super high humidity, so I'm sure that makes a bit of a difference. Yeah, that's it, I'll blame the humidity!

    But in winter I do set my temp at 68. I must have too much personal insulation! :)

    p.s. Thanks! I'm guessing you mean Alex, the fluffy one, but we have two more. We're crazy cat people too.

  4. I am chuckling to myself again. We're having a cool day (it's 73 inside) and I'm back to layers of fleece and hot tea to stay warm. My theory is that since I was born in the tropics my internal thermostat just thinks that 85 is normal. I am a heat loving being... just like a tomato plant!

    And I was referring to the cat pictured in this post... he looks like a cross between my Princess Kitty and my Smoky Bear.

    And just curious... "min hus" is "my house" but it which language? I was thinking Norwegian, but that would be "mit hus" and it can't be German... so I'm stumped!

  5. Oh that cat...
    That cat right there in the mother-lovin' post.
    Yeesh, I've been having blonde moments more and more often lately. I'm too young for them to be senior moments. But anywho I digress.

    That's Alex. He IS adorable, but he knows it, and exploits it royally, as any self-respecting cat would.

    73?! You need layers of fleece for 73? I think we need to trade climates!!!

  6. Oh and min hus? was supposed to be Norwegian/Danish.
    But after referencing my old Norwegian books I see that

  7. Nei! Men, snakker du Norsk? Jeg snakker lite gran, men det har vært lenge siden... liksom 25 år.

    Sorry... I spent a year in Trondheim as a kid and I'm always on the lookout for people with whom I can butcher what little I remember of the language.

    I actually like "min hus" better than "mit hus"... it rolls off the tongue so much easier for we Norwenglish speakers! And given the tangled rat's nest of language politics in Norway, you could always claim that you're speaking some obscure dialect where they say it that way!

  8. Well, now you've got me all paranoid but... ;)

    Ja, jeg kan forstar en litt Norsk. Jeg var en utvekslingsstudent i Stavanger.

    But I was never fluent, or even close to fluent and it's been 18 years or so for me.

    I've been reading your blog too and saw you mention Norge. We'll have to swap stories sometime!

    Ha det godt!

  9. Your cat is so cute! My dog also loves staying in our room while the AC is on. It’s stressful for our pets to be exposed under such extreme weather conditions as well. Anyway, even if with the ACs on, don’t forget to keep them hydrated all the time.

    -Mechteld Abelli

  10. It’s really a blessing to have an AC, especially during the hot summer days! I agree with Mechteld that our pets can’t stand too much heat and aside from keeping them hydrated, they would also appreciate it if we allow them to enjoy the AC as well.

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  12. The good news is you don’t have to choose between being comfortable and being eco-friendly. There are actually air con models that are energy-efficient. This means you don’t only help save the Earth, you also lower you electricity bills.

    Lashon Cheatham


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