Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Let’s hear it for Air Conditioning…

desert images
Photo credit: Taken from a movie review of "Desert Flower" on Frocktalk.com

When I was a little boy in Pennsylvania and Maine, summers were spent in old, sweltering houses. You just lived with the heat, y’know? Shopping for my mother was a treat, as it meant a trip into the big town ten miles away where all the stores had air conditioning. Heck, even my mother’s dress shop had A/C. And my Maine grandmother was one of those poor souls who consider it freezing below 86 degrees F. But she had a window unit in her kitchen in her later years and bugger the expense, she’d cook in relative comfort! For us kids, though, it was always hot. Just the way of things, and don’t slam the screen door on your way out.

SWMBO, despite being born and living in Louisiana for most of her life, can no longer tolerate extremes in heat or cold. Whether this is by result of the prescriptions by her doctors or oncoming decrepitude, who knows (I’m going to pay for that one … big time). Cooling is a must for her. So is heating, but that’s a discussion for January.

Not that the need for coolness is all on my wife. I take both diuretics and alpha blockers that specifically warn against direct sunlight exposure, and given how redneck it is around here, wearing a kaftan isn’t an option, less I want to play target practice … with me as the target.

SO, yesterday was the hottest day of the year, thus far. A grand total of 92 degrees at the airport, the site of all things official, weather-wise. Out here at the lake, the breeze was out of the southwest, which means it was a land breeze for all intents and purposes and about as cooling as a blast furnace in Pittsburgh in July. Back when such things existed, of course.

Now, this new-to-us home has air conditioners. Plural. Two of those suckers up on the roof. And I do mean suckers. In order to have A/C you need power. Lots of power. We’re camped out on someone else's property (Thanks Katie and Dave, you’re wonderful). There is no AC power here. Except what you make for yourself, of course. Which is exactly what we have been doing. Making power with our paralleled Honda e2000i generator sets. In this instance, ‘paralleled’ refers to combining the outputs of the two generators in parallel such that instead of a nominal 2KW (actually, 13 amps) we can output a combined total of 26 amps of electricity, at a price. And what a price it is. We keep all the blinds closed to minimize insolation gain (heat from the sun streaming through the windows will heat us up to oven-like in no time at all). We can only run one air conditioner at a time (start-up in the neighborhood of 22 amps), so seal off the bedroom/bathroom section during the day and only cool that area at night. And still we’re consuming about 9 gallons of gasoline in 24 hours, ten on a bad day. Have you checked out gas prices this week? $3.75 a gallon and headed up, my friends. So, for the mere pleasure of not melting away, we are eating through savings at upwards of $45/day, counting the fuel to drive to town to buy more fuel!

I’m just glad it’s not the Airstream. Beer cans with no insulation are even hotter, despite air conditioning.  Even the walls are hot to the touch.

Sure hope this heat wave breaks soon. And it’s a good thing the heat has sapped appetites … there’s a savings to be had. Still and all, I’m thankful for the coolth of the A/C.

Here’s hoping you’re staying cool where you are, too.

1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

I also have two AC units in my moter-home. Even though it is parked beside our house, I go out every morning and turn the AC's on and then back after sundown and turn them off. BTW, heat gets dangerous to you when the temperature gets above your body temperature. And it has been getting that hot down here in Texas.