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Simple poll about air conditioning

Simple poll: Does your home have air-conditioning?  

292 members have voted

  1. 1. Air conditioning?

    • Yes; central air or some other "built-in" air conditioning system.
      232
    • Yes; window and/or portable units in most or all rooms.
      10
    • No; we use fans or have a few window/portable air conditioners but our home is NOT "air conditioned."
      37
    • No, nothing.
      12


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The "No" response that also includes fans or A/C units is for those who do NOT consider their homes to be "air conditioned" but have a few options to stay cool, although NOT in every room of the house.

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I have no idea.  The summers here are mild (up to about 88-90F / 31-32c) and breezy with plenty of shade around us.  If there is AC we haven't had to turn it on.  I have ceiling fans and open windows for warm days.

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Our 140 year old house has a large window unit downstairs and it keeps the whole downstairs pretty comfortable. Upstairs we have a window unit but it doesn’t do nearly as well, partly because the downstairs hot air rises and partly because upstairs isn’t open like the downstairs- upstairs has multiple bedrooms.  

We live on the border of Illinois and Wisconsin so our summers are pretty mild. This weekend’s 90+ temps are unusual. 

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We only have some portable fans.  AC hasn't been common here, it just isn't hot enough for enough days to have it in homes.  Now that more people are using heat pumps, you see it a bit more.  

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I’m not quite sure what to vote.  We have individual wall/roof units in each room (including the kitchen and the garage, since it’s apparently not uncommon for drivers to live in the garage here) but they’re not window units and they’re not portable.  So it’s not central air but they are more built in than the second option implies.

Central air would be crazy expensive here.  We just turn on the AC in the rooms we’re currently in, except I have to leave the AC in the kitchen on almost year round to keep the food from going bad immediately.  I also store medications in the kitchen since the bathrooms get quite hot during the day.

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Yes but I live in Florida. Not having a/c would be like not having heat for some of you. It stays on 24/7 for 8-10 months out of the year. The other 2-4 months it still gets used but occasionally we can turn it off and open the windows.

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6 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

Yes but I live in Florida. Not having a/c would be like not having heat for some of you. It stays on 24/7 for 8-10 months out of the year. The other 2-4 months it still gets used but occasionally we can turn it off and open the windows.

 

I've wondered a bit about this - places  where it is cold have always used heating of some kind, be it an oil furnace or coal or a wood stove.  There isn't really an equivalent non-modern form of cooling though, is there?  A human powered ceiling fan is the only one I could think of.  In the past, I guess people just were hot and tried to build for the heat?

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1 minute ago, Bluegoat said:

 

I've wondered a bit about this - places  where it is cold have always used heating of some kind, be it an oil furnace or coal or a wood stove.  There isn't really an equivalent non-modern form of cooling though, is there?  A human powered ceiling fan is the only one I could think of.  In the past, I guess people just were hot and tried to build for the heat?

For the most part they just dealt with it (I don't even want to imagine!) but they did build houses for heat. Florida Cracker houses were built off the ground to allow for air circulation. Window placement was also a factor. Even today's modern homes are built to keep heat out, not in. That's why we complain about it being cold in our homes when we have our rare extended cold spells. The house doesn't hold heat because it isn't supposed to. Mostly it's about insulation but also placement of the house (a west facing front will get hotter than say a north facing one).

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3 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

I've wondered a bit about this - places  where it is cold have always used heating of some kind, be it an oil furnace or coal or a wood stove.  There isn't really an equivalent non-modern form of cooling though, is there?  A human powered ceiling fan is the only one I could think of.  In the past, I guess people just were hot and tried to build for the heat?

Many fewer people lived here before central air was invented. It was so hot that people needed to sleep outside on screened in porches with damp sheets to stay cool. They stayed in the shade on those deep verandahs southern houses have. Many people would go to a cooler climate during the worst of the summer heat. And, of course, many people died of heat stroke.

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A big plus for us living in the PNW is no need for air conditioning and we can definitely survive with wood heat alone if needed. We have a few electric fans (not AC but like, blades rotating inside a metal grate) for hot days. 

Our downstairs is built into a hill and traditionally in this area you would just go downstairs to stay cool.

I'd say we are lucky but we definitely pay for the price of our great climate in our mortgage. 

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Window units here.  One in each of the four bedrooms, one in the office, because all of those rooms have doors that close them off to the rest of the house.  We also have one in the family room, which also has a door to close it off, and we have one in the schoolroom.  The schoolroom one cools the kitchen/dining room decently enough; the kitchen gets a little on the warm side on the very hottest days, but mostly it's okay.

 

I thought I'd miss central AC.  I don't.  Our previous house was a split-level, and so for the bedrooms upstairs to be at all tolerably cool, the family room downstairs had to be freezing.  I like being able to turn off the downstairs units at night when we don't need them.

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There are lots of strategies people used in the past to cool their homes.  One really common method in the hottest parts of the Middle East are windcatchers (malqaf in Egyptian Arabic or badgir in Farsi) that funnel air through the house. Also, in super hot places like Saudi Arabia, people usually built in wadis. There are few ancient towns here that are built in exposed areas.  Cities like Riyadh never could have been built to the size they are today without air conditioning. Wadis are noticeably cooler in the summer.  

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12 minutes ago, chiguirre said:

Many fewer people lived here before central air was invented. It was so hot that people needed to sleep outside on screened in porches with damp sheets to stay cool. They stayed in the shade on those deep verandahs southern houses have. Many people would go to a cooler climate during the worst of the summer heat. And, of course, many people died of heat stroke.

 

Oh, that's really interesting.  That reminds me though, I remember reading about a way to help keep a house cool that involved a sort of porch made of permeable type fencing, which you then grew vines on.  This would be on the side of the house that got the breezes, so the respiration from the plants would further cool the air a bit before it went through the house.

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We typically put one window unit in the main part of our house. With an open floor plan, it adequately cools the kitchen/dining/living area and usually keeps bedrooms bearable with open doors. 

We don't get many heat waves, though.  Mornings and evenings are regularly cool enough for sweatshirts in the shade. We might not get uncomfortable inside the house until 3pm.

We haven't put it in yet this year, though we talked about doing it soon. I think it was in the mid 80s on Saturday and it got noticeably warm inside late in the day. (So I went outside in the shade, lol.)

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We have geothermal heating and cooling. AC is a must for us because dh and two of the kids have allergies, so we can't open windows in the summer. Also, I get incredibly cranky and difficult to live with when I'm hot.?

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1 minute ago, Amira said:

There are lots of strategies people used in the past to cool their homes.  One really common method in the hottest parts of the Middle East are windcatchers (malqaf in Egyptian Arabic or badgir in Farsi) that funnel air through the house. Also, in super hot places like Saudi Arabia, people usually built in wadis. There are few ancient towns here that are built in exposed areas.  Cities like Riyadh never could have been built to the size they are today without air conditioning. Wadis are noticeably cooler in the summer.  

I lived in a hot humid climate (close to the equator) for one year as an exchange student. My home, like most, had no air-conditioning at all. I was surprised at how quickly I became used to living with the heat, having come from Houston,Texas, which had similar temperatures but where everything was air-conditioned. Our house was very open to the outside. The dining room was really a covered patio, and the kitchen was a separate building from the rest of the house. It was actually very comfortable.

I live in New England now, where summer heat is comparatively mild. We have no air conditioning, but we do put fans in the windows on hot nights.

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We have central air. One unit for the downstairs and one for the upstairs. Each floor of course has its own thermostat. The AC is typically on here from mid-April through about mid-October. We also have ceiling fans in all rooms except bathrooms. I also need a fan beside me at night. Summers in the south when one is going through menopause are not fun!

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Central A/C, but I keep the temperature pretty high and have ceiling fans in every room upstairs. May was the first month that we usually have it on full-time, so we'll see what the electric bill is in this house. It doesn't seem to run that much, but it's so humid that we need it IMHO.

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No central A/C.  We do have fans and one portable A/C we can set up if needed.  It's the PNW, there is no need for it 50 weeks a year.  

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I would not lump fans in with portable air conditioners.  

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16 minutes ago, Cosmos said:

I lived in a hot humid climate (close to the equator) for one year as an exchange student. My home, like most, had no air-conditioning at all. I was surprised at how quickly I became used to living with the heat, having come from Houston,Texas, which had similar temperatures but where everything was air-conditioned. Our house was very open to the outside. The dining room was really a covered patio, and the kitchen was a separate building from the rest of the house. It was actually very comfortable.

The construction in tropical Latin America usually uses bricks with big air pockets that act as insulation. The roofs on many houses are raised a bit to allow air to circulate too. Check out these pictures of slums in Caracas, they're good examples of the thick brick walls that make tropical temperatures bearable.

https://semancha.com/2013/04/06/petare-venezuela/

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No AC here--don't need it. We rarely get above 80, and we get down to the 40s-50s at night, so we just open some windows. Of course, we regularly see -35 in January, so there's a trade-off! It's one I'll gladly take, looking at 103 where ds is right now!

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Yes- we have central AC with window units in upstairs bedrooms.  Temp set at 74 during the summer for the main house and we use fans.  We don’t keep it cooler because of energy costs.  

My 2nd floor, south facing bedroom with vaulted ceiling can easily reach 85F on a normal summer day in Denver CO.  So we have window units ?

 

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If we didn’t have AC and had to do without, we’d just move our family room to the basement and probably sleep there on the hottest nights. Out basement is buried and is fairly comfortable year-round. 

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We have a geothermal A/C unit that we just put in last year.  I have allergies and am very cranky when hot.  My DH refers to me as temperature sensitive, as I also whine a lot when I am cold.   

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Central A/C.  I live in central and south Texas.  We’ve already had 100 degree heat this year and we’re not nearly to the “hot” months yet.  It’s also very humid here.  I’m not interested in learning to live without A/C, LOL. 

 

 

 

 

 

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We have central air, but used fans until I was 42 years old. We have hot, humid summers and sleeping, cooking, or housework was miserable before A/C.

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We currently do not have central air, and live in the American SW where summer temps are 80-100+ but they are dry and the nights are usually 30+ degrees cooler.  We are however building a new home with central AC.

Summers in DC killed me - we had no AC and the humidity was inescapable. I am not a heat-loving person.  I preferred living in AK and the PNW.

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2 hours ago, Annie G said:

Our 140 year old house has a large window unit downstairs and it keeps the whole downstairs pretty comfortable. Upstairs we have a window unit but it doesn’t do nearly as well, partly because the downstairs hot air rises and partly because upstairs isn’t open like the downstairs- upstairs has multiple bedrooms.  

We live on the border of Illinois and Wisconsin so our summers are pretty mild. This weekend’s 90+ temps are unusual. 

In service to “perception of temperature is relative,” I live north of you and would not consider our summers all that mild. Above 90 may be unusual for May, but it is not for July and August and certainly not over the last several years. I can remember one mild summer in the last decade. Also, it ain’t the heat, it’s the humidity. ? 

My house was designed in the 1950s so there’s pretty much zero thought to house placement to minimize solar gain in the summer. While our tree covered street does mitigate the temperature some, it contributes to my constant battle with humidity levels in the basement. We have central air, warmer in the day, cooler at night because when dh gets home, he’s far too hot to sleep comfortably after wearing his body armor and being in and out of the squad all shift. Plus, it’s late enough that he kinda needs to get to sleep pretty soon after getting home.

99% Invisible had an interesting episode on the history of air conditioning and what it means to design for comfort in light of the subjective nature of comfort. It was really interesting - https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/thermal-delight/

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17 minutes ago, mamaraby said:

In service to “perception of temperature is relative,” I live north of you and would not consider our summers all that mild. Above 90 may be unusual for May, but it is not for July and August and certainly not over the last several years. I can remember one mild summer in the last decade. Also, it ain’t the heat, it’s the humidity. ? 

My house was designed in the 1950s so there’s pretty much zero thought to house placement to minimize solar gain in the summer. While our tree covered street does mitigate the temperature some, it contributes to my constant battle with humidity levels in the basement. We have central air, warmer in the day, cooler at night because when dh gets home, he’s far too hot to sleep comfortably after wearing his body armor and being in and out of the squad all shift. Plus, it’s late enough that he kinda needs to get to sleep pretty soon after getting home.

99% Invisible had an interesting episode on the history of air conditioning and what it means to design for comfort in light of the subjective nature of comfort. It was really interesting - https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/thermal-delight/

I grew up in Atlanta so heat and humidity here feels much less oppressive. And even though our House is really old, the thick construction and plaster walls really help keep the heat outside in the summer. Way better than the 1960 house my in laws live in.  I love 99% Invisible! I need to listen to that episode!

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We have central A/C. There's a downstairs unit, a smaller upstairs unit that can't keep up in the hottest months (which is silly because the upstairs is larger and heat rises), and sometimes we use a window unit in the bedroom that is the garage's finished attic - it's not as well-insulated as other areas because it was done on the cheap after the house was built. The window unit was left behind by the previous owners; I wouldn't have necessarily shelled out for it, myself.

A few years ago we went on a tour of an old local mansion. It was really cool to learn all the tricks they used to deal with the the temperature, both hot and cold (you could die of exposure in winter or summer here if you're not careful). Cupolas, for instance. They draw the heat up in the summer, and in the winter the ladies sat in that sunny space to do their needlework. They also made extensive use of windows and mirrors to reflect the light and heat around, and made little buffer rooms (kind of like a three season room, I guess) to trap heat, and these would be opened in the summer to catch a cross breeze. It was neat to watch the guide open and close this and that and see the difference it made in light levels, and he had the stats on the temperature difference when they did various combinations. Of course, that was a mansion and not everyone had access to that style of architecture or goods like windows and mirrors. But if you drive around in the countryside you see old abandoned houses built off the ground for circulation, windows placed for the cross breeze, etc. Pretty fascinating.

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We need a unit downstairs in the summer. We're on a slab and with the changes in temp and humidity, our floor will be soaking wet without the A/C. One summer, we didn't put it in and we spent the summer drying the floors off with bath towels. It was disgusting. We have a window unit upstairs as well, but we only use it on the really hot nights. It's much dryer up there and most nights get into the 50's here, even in July, so it's fine to just have a window fan going.

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Our house has central AC, but we live in a mobile home, so there's no basement to stay cool nor an attic to draw heat. House also has 4 skylights, which are nice for light, but heat up the house in the summer. 

We get humidity and heat in the summer - I think we'd be pretty miserable without AC, although I do have friends that have none in stick-built houses. DH and at least 1 child have pretty bad outdoor allergies, so leaving windows open during the night would be awful for them.

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Nada. We have a well insulated house and some fans but nothing that cools the air. Our area doesn’t really get hot enough for long enough to need actual a/c, though there’s always a few days every year that we spend wandering around Costco to cool down. 

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I'm in the swampy Southeast, and every house I know of built after 1980 (which is an awful lot of the houses--most towns in my county have doubled in size since then) has central AC.

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Central a/c.  And pretty much everyone in Oklahoma does (or has a window a/c unit). 

The thought of not having central a/c in my house makes me want to curl up in a ball and sob.  There's no way.  No.  lol

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We live in Texas. Without A/C, we wouldn't. We vacationed in Portland last summer. Some places didn't have A/C. We never imagined there was anyplace without A/C. We thought the temps fine, but the people living there complained. It was in the low 80s - spring temps here in TX where the heat index is 105 today. 

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We only have windows, lol, and fans. Not even ceiling fans!

It gets very hot here in summer. Consequently, I spend summer on my fainting couch, with a cold washcloth on my forehead. 

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We have no A/C and I am a big baby about it.  We live in Colorado, at about 8500 ft elevation.  In the summer, the house gets overly warm for about a 2 hour period in the afternoon.  But it's right when I need to make dinner!  I don't like it. I especially don't like it when we have company and I need to be running around, either cooking or carrying things.  Also, maybe 4-5 times out of the summer, it gets hot enough that I can't sleep well at night.  No, that's not very often, and according to DH, not worth installing central air.  I disagree. ?  He did finally give in last year and we got a couple of portable units, one for the bedroom and one for the kitchen/dining area.  But they are ugly and inconvenient.  So, A/C is on the wish list.  

 

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Our home in Ohio has one, but our homes in Alaska had no central air conditioning and that’s pretty typical.  Newer and higher end builds did tend to have it, but it was still far from standard.

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Central air. It is either a higher electric bill in the Summer or an ER bill because I am very prone to heat exhaustion. I can't sweat when everyone else is pouring sweat. Thinking back on it now, I don't know how we lasted ten years in FL. 

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31 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Our home in Ohio has one, but our homes in Alaska had no central air conditioning and that’s pretty typical.  Newer and higher end builds did tend to have it, but it was still far from standard.

We lived in SE AK and I don’t think anywhere I went (except Costco) had AC.  The newer houses all had HVRC units though and that helped. But really, in SE 80 was an unheard of heat wave.  I didn’t live in the interior though and I am sure mid summer was roasty.

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3 hours ago, Annie G said:

I grew up in Atlanta so heat and humidity here feels much less oppressive. And even though our House is really old, the thick construction and plaster walls really help keep the heat outside in the summer. Way better than the 1960 house my in laws live in.  I love 99% Invisible! I need to listen to that episode!

 

We have plaster walls too.  They really do contribute to keeping things cool in summer and warner in winter compared to drywall.

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2 hours ago, goldberry said:

We have no A/C and I am a big baby about it.  We live in Colorado, at about 8500 ft elevation.  In the summer, the house gets overly warm for about a 2 hour period in the afternoon.  But it's right when I need to make dinner!  I don't like it. I especially don't like it when we have company and I need to be running around, either cooking or carrying things.  Also, maybe 4-5 times out of the summer, it gets hot enough that I can't sleep well at night.  No, that's not very often, and according to DH, not worth installing central air.  I disagree. ?  He did finally give in last year and we got a couple of portable units, one for the bedroom and one for the kitchen/dining area.  But they are ugly and inconvenient.  So, A/C is on the wish list.  

 

 

Would he go for a heat pump?  It would give AC in summer, but also contribute to heating.

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6 hours ago, Margaret in CO said:

No AC here--don't need it. We rarely get above 80, and we get down to the 40s-50s at night, so we just open some windows. Of course, we regularly see -35 in January, so there's a trade-off! It's one I'll gladly take, looking at 103 where ds is right now!

This made me laugh because I am the exact opposite. I would much rather deal with 100 degree plus temperatures than the cold. I don't like to leave the house if it gets down to +35. I cannot imagine living with winters as cold as yours. I am a cold weather wimp. We do have central heat and air in our house. 

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2 minutes ago, Caclcoca said:

This made me laugh because I am the exact opposite. I would much rather deal with 100 degree plus temperatures than the cold. I don't like to leave the house if it gets down to +35. I cannot imagine living with winters as cold as yours. I am a cold weather wimp. We do have central heat and air in our house. 

This is me. In 90+, as long as I have a fan, on any type, close by, I am good.  But get me in the 35 to 40 range, and I am ready to curl up on the couch with 5 blankets and hibernate.  

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You can always put on another layer! Besides, when it that's cold, the sun is out. We can be outside in shirt sleeves as long as we're in the sun!

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