Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Joy of Air-Conditioning

Summer in Illinois
Perhaps it is a sign of being soft, but I really love air-conditioning.  No, really love it.  I have had enough of windows wide open with screens stretched to keep the bugs out.  The fresh air is great until the allergens sneak into my nose.  The wafting breezes are lovely, but only when the temperature is 60 to 82 degrees.  Yes, I have set limitations, and they are very narrow.

Just how hot is it today!?
My youth was spent on a farm in rural Illinois, in a two-story house built sometime between 1850-1860.  The walls were lathe and plaster, and the windows were sash with a pulley system to raise and lower; the wood had some weak places that were held together with paint.  In other words, it was a typical farm house. 

The summers were the hardest.  Once the sun came up over the cornfields to the east, all the windows upstairs were closed, and the shades were drawn.  For, once the sun started climbing, so did the temperature upstairs.  If it was 100 deg. outside, it was 110 upstairs.  Venturing upstairs to fetch something meant coming downstairs soaked in sweat.
Window

Sears window fan, 1950s
But once the sun went down, the shades were opened, and the windows raised; screens were maneuvered in to block out bugs.  And then we would turn on the window fan.  Most people see that word and think about the lightweight box fan available from Wal-Mart for $19.99.  But, they would be mistaken.  A window fan is different.  It is a heavy piece of machinery that is hoisted by two people into the frame of the window and made secure.  During the day, the window is closed, and the fan sits idly by inside the window frame, waiting for the night when it gets some real action.  Once the window is opened, the fan is turned on and whoa-Nelly-Katie-bar-the-door!   The fan is aimed so that the air is pulled through the windows on the opposing side of the house and propelled out forcefully through the slicing blades of the window fan.

The key thing normally entrusted to me was to raise the window sash to the right level, where it would lock in place.  There are two levels: one that is about 2 inches above the window fan and one that is about 3 inches above the window fan.  You wouldn’t think this could make a difference, but it does.

Why does it make a difference?  Well, I will tell you tomorrow.


7 comments:

  1. I love air-con too. I don't wish to attempt surviving summer without one. I have done it for years and years in the past of course, but there comes a time in every girl's life when ENOUGH IS ENOUGH with the sweating like a pig and being unable to sleep for how damn hot it is!

    ReplyDelete
  2. For us the air conditioning is a matter of life and death. My husband has pretty severe asthma and when it gets really humid (like it is now) the air conditioning keeps him breathing.

    I think getting used to it over the years has made me weaker though. I have a harder time breathing without it now too. :(

    ReplyDelete
  3. In this heat wave we are having, I don't think I would survive without a/c. We have reached record temperatures here in PA so there is no going outside if I want to breathe. They say relief is coming our way this week and it will only be in the low 90's. Wow, that is encouraging. I don't look forward to that electric bill that should be delivered soon, but being comfortable is necessary rather than a luxury.

    All of a sudden I am wishing it was October.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I appreciate my AC as well and having come from a farming background (same type of 2 story frame rickety lousy windows dealy as you) I know when it's really needed and when I can do without. We had little seabreeze and torcan brand fans growing up...no industrial strength window fans (that would have been great).

    ReplyDelete
  5. I used to live in the midwest, but thank God we had air conditioning.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I grew up with out ac and rememebr wel the use of fans. can't wait til the rest of the story!
    Blessings, Joanne

    ReplyDelete
  7. A/C is awesome! I absolutely love it too :0)

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!