Sunday, July 6, 2008

In the words of Lynyrd Skynyrd, turn it up!

I think Ken deserves a standing O for working on the gutters all afternoon! Saaah-LUTE!

Seriously, he worked on them for a solid 4 hours, and our outside thermometer read 93°, so the temp on the roof had to be well over 100°. I couldn't do a whole lot to help, just pass the gutter guards up to him as needed, toss up a bottle of water, etc. I tried to convince him to do half today, half next weekend, but he got to a spot where it went faster and easier, and he was able to get every bit of it done. We hope that with the gutter guards, it will be a simple matter of him going up and hosing off the guards every so often--not this on-your-knees intensive cleaning. Thanks, Honey!

While the trees that surround our house can make a mess in the gutters, they also provide a valuable service in shading and cooling our house. I was reading the latest Time magazine today, and Joe Klein had a great column about air conditioning. Some of you may know that we don't have central air here at Nutwood. We've always been a little puzzled by that, because the guy that built our house (and the only owner up until we bought it) was a contractor, so you'd think he would have put in central air. However, it IS well-designed, with no east- or west-facing windows, until we put a small east window in our bedroom. There is never direct sunlight in our house, and the front yard (the south side) is full of trees, so the only side that gets sunlight is the north side. When we open up all the windows, there is an excellent cross-breeze, and the ceiling fans keep the air moving. Bottom line, the only time it gets really bad is when it gets above 90°, and we bought a portable air conditioner for the living room for when that happens. We also have a window A/C unit in the bedroom, and we probably turn that on more often--it's so hard to sleep when it's hot and muggy.

In his column, Klein wrote about how he really dislikes air conditioning, loves the fresh air, and loves the warm weather. I can relate! I've always been that way, loving the warm weather (someone once told me that it's part of being half-Vulcan...ha!), and feeling chilled even when it's 75° or so. Ken can attest to my cold toes! Klein had a better point, though. Why do so many places crank the air until it's absolutely frigid? I've noticed this especially in extremely hot climates, like Florida and Las Vegas. Going from 90+ temps into a place of business that has the air set to about 65° is jarring and upsetting to my fragile personal ecosystem!

Klein wrote that while air conditioning accounts for an estimated 4% of our energy usage (heating is around 7%, considerably higher), some estimates show a savings of 4% for every degree you turn up your thermostat. For example, if you now set your thermostat at 70° and move it to 75°, you will save 20% of the cost and energy on your air conditioning bill. That's pretty significant.

I also wonder why people would set their thermostats to 65-70° in the summer, but in the winter, they set it to 70-75°. Huh? If you want it 75° in the winter, why do you make it 65° in the summer? That is highly illogical.

In my opinion, there's something wrong when we go into a place in the summer that is so chilly that I have to wear a freakin' sweater or jacket. Open the window and let in a little summer, for Pete's sake!


rdautumnsage said...

Doc posed that question to me recently, asking if I wanted an air conditioner. My reply was No. It's rare that the tempature gets so high here in NY we would need to even turn it on. I love the open windows and breeze blowing. I use Brass standing fans when I need to cool off (Fans with Metal blades last longer, and seem to give off a more powerful breeze from them). Energy wise and time consistancy to me doesn't make sense to have one. If I could live in Fla. for 9 years without air conditioning I can survive a NY Summer without one. I've been in restaurants that have it so chilly you can barely eat your food with your teeth chattering. Which puzzles me, as you would think they would want their customers comfortable not running out the door to get warm. Doc even mentioned this weekend I needed a light jacket to keep in the Passport for those occasions. (Hugs)Indigo

dbdacoba said...

But Beth, according to my research, all those buildings have a deal with the cold medicine companies.  Pfizer pays part of the air conditioning bill if they can get enough people to catch a cold when they go in and out of the building.  I works well.

Those hermetically sealed office buildings are among the worst and most inhumane things ever devised by the twisted mind of man.

queeniemart said...

i leave our AC on 75 all summer.....yesterday it was still hot in the house at 75 so it went down to 74. One reason we bought the house we bought was for the AC. It was brand new then. I bet your home gets a great breeze and i bet it is so cool to be out there and be able to enjoy that air and the trees too.

eml625 said...

We dont have central air either. I agree with the summer air, I love to have my windows open and all, but if it gets really hot, like you said, 90+ then it's not bearable, and I need something to take the humidity out of the house.
Most importantly, my hair never looks good when it's hot and humid! LOL

howiseeit101 said...

I enjoy the realness of sticky, humid air in the summer. Reminds me of my childhood and overnight camp.  More importantly, I am saving money on electricity.  In fact, I am saving so much money that the energy company, PECO, came out to change the meter thinking the existing one is broken.  They just won't accept that I do not use electricity all that much.  Whatever...

blossomcat said...

We bought out house in 1972.  I realize that was a looooooooooong time ago.  What we didn't know at the time was NEVER BUY A HOUSE THAT FACES WEST.  We had no clue, I admit I knew the sun rose in the east and set in the west but never related it to the heating of ones house.

We moved about a bit, and rented the original house out during out sojourns.  Now I have awnings on the front (W) and a awning on the back deck, but HOT IS HOT......  Every summer day from 3 pm till sundown it gets however hot inside as it is outside.......I guess I could move but with retirement in the next few years, I do not want to spend the money.    The house is long paid off, and we bought it for $21.500....can you believe that????  Our parents thought we were spending too much at the time.    So, I just use the A/C and give the advice never buy a west facing house.


jmoqueen said...

Luckily I don't really have that problem over here but you can't beat fresh air to be honest with you.  We had air conditioning at the place where I used to work and if you were sat underneath it like I was sometimes it was freezing :(


markonit said...

... there was a SALUTE to the invention of Carrier air conditioning by Ben Stein on CBS' Sunday Morning ... myself, I don't have an opinion, but I do like it hot as opposed to cold ...