Living without air-conditioning

The New York Times has an interesting article about folks living without air-conditioning.

The Unchilled Life

TO many Americans, abstaining from air-conditioning is a masochistic folly akin to refusing Novocain or renouncing the dishwasher.

Yet as this particular summer finally heats up, even citizens who believe that climate control is a God-given right may be questioning whether it has become a luxury they can no longer afford. They are probably also wondering how they can survive without it.

Those who’ve done just that like to point out that air-conditioning is a relatively recent boon to humanity: The Allies won World War II without it, and the great pyramids of Egypt were built al fresco. Today, fans of the unchilled life say that it is not only possible to turn back the clock and live as one with summer, but to do it while maintaining a fairly high quality of life.

Lisa Finkelstein, a freelance editor, stopped using the semi-functional air-conditioning and heating unit in her rented cottage in Tallahassee, Fla., two years ago, mostly for economic reasons.

“You live with your windows and doors open, you use fans, drink lots of cold liquids and take it easy,” she said. “You come to realize that winter and summer is going to be kind of a bear but you dress for it, and you enjoy fall and spring very much. What’s interesting is you acclimate to it.”

She said that if she didn’t work from home, the adjustment would probably be harder. “It’s miserable when you come out of a nice air-conditioned place,” Ms. Finkelstein said.

This summer, she probably has more company in the choice she has made. Shipments of window air-conditioners from manufacturers to distributors were down 39 percent in the first half of this year compared with the first half of last year, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers in Washington, D.C., and shipments of central air-conditioning units have been down 10 percent a year for the past few years, according to the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute in Arlington, Va.

Those who plunge into a warmer world for economic reasons sometimes find that there are advantages that they hadn’t anticipated.

Genma Holmes, a 42-year-old mother of three in Nashville, and her husband, Roger, declared their suburban ranch house a no-air-conditioning zone last summer as surging gas prices ate into the profits of their pest control business. Their children — now ages 17, 18, and 23 — were not amused, given that average summer temperatures in Nashville are in the high 80s with around 90 percent humidity.

I don’t know how those folks do it. Living in the D.C. area during the hot and humid summers, I can’t live without air-conditioning. If I spend too much time in places that are too warm I get headaches.  When it gets too warm at night I have a difficult time getting to sleep.  Too much tossing and turning for me so I leave my a.c. on at a comfortable temperature.  Don’t let there be a power outtage due to thunderstorms in the summertime and the air-conditioning is out too.  I’m one miserable woman.  😦

Before I leave for work I turn the temperature up so the ac won’t come on that often. When it’s hot and humid outside and I’m coming home from work I can’t wait to get home and turn up the air.  The heat and humidity is why I can’t stand summertime.  Give me spring and fall anytime.   I prefer temps in the 60 and 70 range.

I use to work with this guy who loved hot and humid weather.  If the temps hit 90 and above he was thrilled.  I would look at him like he’s crazy, lol.   To  him even 70 degrees is too cool for him.

Check out the entire article here.

3 responses

  1. I just came through my Atlanta summer with no A/C. My key was not to open any windows when the temp was going to be above 85, run a fan in each room and just make up my mind about it. Also, it depends on what kind of house you have as to whether you can do without central heat/air. I live in a 1942 model and all the window placements were made for cross-ventilation. All my friends live in homes that are no older than the 1990s. They have to have airconditioning. I don’t begrudge anyone what they need, but I sure do like having a utility bill that is 1/10th of what it was when I was air conditioned.

  2. I think that air conditioning would only be a need if the person has a medical illness in witch they can’t stand the heat or extreme tempretures.

  3. I think most of us could survive without air conditioning. But one of the points here does not really add up. The lady says she works from home and takes it easy in summer, but the main reason not to use air conditioning is to save money. If she actually used air conditioning, she could probably work harder, earn more money and easily pay for the air conditioning anyway.

    There are also places like hospitals where air conditioning is simply essential as it can save lives.

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