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Blog: Pam's Pennypinching With STYLE

Ventilation in a Heat Wave

Saturday, June 21, 2008

We are having record heat here in L.A. - and it's only June, which traditionally has been the time for "June gloom" - meaning cloudy and cool weather!  Not this year.  I have an elaborate system of fans to help along our AC units.  The living room has always been too big for the unit that fits in the window - but my husband has directed a fan in front of it to move the cool air to the area where we are - either the living room proper or the dining room/kitchen.  And then I have another fan rigged up at the computer desk, and I use the air cleaner/fan on the floor (The air is cooler there). 

For the first time in a long time I kept on the living room AC overnight (usually I can turn it off and just use the fans in the windows to cool down the apt., as we get ocean breezes.  But the air was hot almost until bedtime, so I couldn't put the fans on until then - so I splurged and put the AC on overnight (as well as the AC in the bedroom!) Oh, the electricity bills!  But I am glad I did, because the apt. was cooled off overnight.   And it is really hot outside!  If you don't cool it off at night, the heat just sets in and sits there!  That's how it was in NYC summers, the concrete just exuded heat at night!

Don't think there is insulation in our 1950's roof - as L.A. used to be much cooler.  Our poor little 1920's church is a veritable sweat box over the summer! I myself only used to resort to the AC occasionally - but not anymore!  Heat waves make me long a bit for bourgeois decadent AC - The Santa Monica Emeritus College classroom on Tuesday was deliciously cool...But the ancient circuits here have to be catered to! We wonder if we put in another window AC if the circuit breakers would go off, as they do when we have too many appliances on!

Otherwise I love open windows - And the lychee tree outside the living room window does give lovely shade, which helps. (I protest if they try to prune it back too much.)  Almost every window has a fan to catch the evening breezes - but I shut them off when the air outside gets too hot.  And there usually is a nice updraft breeze from the stairs, and I keep the door open, with a lacy curtain over it for privacy - but now it's so hot, I am keeping it closed! 

My husband believes in outgoing fans, and we have them hooked up in the dining room area to take out the warm kitchen air.  And we are experimenting with putting a big pan of water in our warm vintage oven to keep the heat down. (The pilot jets are hot, and they are as low as possible.) I also tried to insulate the top of the stove where the pilot lights are (there are 4!)  - and one way or the other, it seems to be helping. Isn't that nuts? One of the fans actually switched from outgoing to ingoing - which is nice - the others we just have to manipulate. So let me count the fans just for fum:

  1. One on top of the frig
  2. One in each window of the dining room (2)
  3. One in the window of the living room (where we have the AC)
  4. One on my computer desk
  5. The air-cleaner/fan in the living room
  6. The bathroom window fan
  7. The fan in the bedroom
  8. The air cleaner fan in the bedroom (Where there is another AC unit)

That makes how many? 10?  Whew! All from thrift shops/yard sales except the AC units we bought on sale and the air cleaner my mother gave me.  We buy them off season, because otherwise they are nowhere to be found. But when you need them, you need them!

Off to the boat for real natural AC - but really not doing too badly, all things considered - I just wonder about coming home to a hot apt. on Sunday night.....



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