Heritage

Air Conditioning

 

air conditioning

Do you have air conditioning? We do-however at the moment-it’s broken. Back in the day, when The Deer Hunter built our house-we couldn’t afford central air-but 7 years ago he could stand the heat no longer and he and a friend installed central heat and air in our house. Apparently-I’ve grown very used to it-cause for the past 2 days I have been quite miserable. At bedtime last night-it was 84 degrees in our living room-not the best temperature for sleeping.

When I was growing up, Granny and Pap didn’t have central air-actually they still don’t. (they do have 2 window units-one in the living room one in the bedroom) The girls can’t remember the days when we didn’t have air conditioning and they have complained much about our current situation. I’ve been trying to convince us it really isn’t that hot-and so what if it is-didn’t we live without air conditioning before? Aren’t we tough? But I haven’t won any of us over. It’s funny how you get used to things-how fast our bodies become accustomed to the good life.

In the hot summers of my youth-Granny’s kitchen was like a sauna-canning and cooking intensified the heat and gave the air a steamy heavy quality that made it difficult to breathe.

As I cooked super last night-and fretted about how hot I was and how hot I was making the house-my mind begin to think back to my Granny Gazzie-and other women of her era. Once I turn my stove off-the heat dissipates fairly quickly-can you imagine using a wood cookstove? By the time you got it fired up enough to cook on it-you’d be sweltering to say the least. But those little ladies like my Mamaw Marie and Granny Gazzie-cooked every meal on a cookstove-and canned on them too.

Last night as we readied for bed, my mind begin to think of how we could cool down the house. Growing up we had fans situated all over the house. You know those old metal fans that sounded like a helicopter starting up? It seemed someone was always screaming “be careful or you’ll get your fingers cut off”. Paul and I tormented Granny by putting our faces inches in front of the fan and screaming-the fan blades made our voices vibrate into a true staccato.

Hopefully I’ll be back to the cool side of life soon-but until then-got any keeping cool tips?

Tipper

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    GrannyPam
    June 29, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    We never had it till we moved here. We do have days worthy of air here in southeastern lower Michigan. Here is how I survive when it is not on, which is most of the time:
    Don’t bake or cook anything that takes a long time on the hot days. Open the windows at night and draw the cool air in with fans. Close the blinds and the windows in the late morning before the sun hits the windows and starts warming the incoming air. Use fans to move the air in the house during the day. Sit outside under a tree, the breeze is cooler there. Wish for winter!

  • Reply
    brit
    June 29, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    we don’t have airconditiong, but truthfully only need it one or two weeks out of the year, so it’s not a huge hardship on us. In the summer though we do a lot of cooking outside on the gas range and in dutch ovens. Our house is old but somewhat remodeled, not by us, and the remodel took the back porch and door off the kitchen, I’m guessing 100 years ago a kitchen door was more important than it was in the 80s for cooling down the house. We just try to avoid using the stove as the weather gets warmer adn that helps keep us cool (there are lots of dutchoven cooking blogs out there). Another trick with our fans is to freeze soda bottles full of water and just put those in front of the fan so the air cools down as it blows inward…
    stay cool lady!

  • Reply
    bumblebeebags.blogspot.com
    June 28, 2009 at 10:42 am

    To this day I dont know how the pioneer women did it. How did they work all day in the kitchen in those dresses and not die. And how in the world did they procreate? When I’m hot NO ONE better touch me! lol. Thank God for technology!

  • Reply
    trisha too
    June 27, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    i am SUCH a baby about the heat now, but it really didn’t bother me once upon a time.
    my granny always put a cold, wet washcloth on her neck.
    i drink gallons of iced tea (NO sugar!)
    :)stay cool, Tipper!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 26, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Hi Tipper, I have a window ac in my living area and one in my bedroom. Sleep is a problem when it is so hot. I’m awake because I’m hot or I’m awake because the window ac makes so much noise. If it sounds like I’m whining, it’s because I am!!
    Added to that I have a memory foam mattress and three cats!!
    I lived all my life without ac and did ok until—dare I say it—menopause! That’s when I got my first ac and thought I would absolutely die without it. lol!
    We lived in Texas, near Houston, when I was small, It was really hot. I used to leave school and go to an air conditioned shopping center and just hang out because it was cool. I caught h— when I got home because no one knew where I was. I was in the first and second grade and the shopping center was across a busy highway.
    Boy, were my folks mad!
    I’m trying the suggestion of a bath and no lotion. My skin id dry so I always put lotion on after my bath so I’m giving it a try with the cooler bath and no lotion.
    Love ya,
    Miss Cindy

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    June 25, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Bless your heart. The last time our a/c went out I was pregnant – in AUGUST!!! It was awful.
    We have a/c, but we typically don’t run it on the first floor during the summer. That way we save some money, are “greener”, and still have a place to go to cool off. Here the biggest problem is the humidity. Talk about sauna. Whew. We keep the upstairs set at 80 during the day and you wouldn’t believe how cool it is compared to the downstairs. The lack of humidity makes all the difference.

  • Reply
    Teresa
    June 25, 2009 at 9:26 am

    We just turned on the a/c last week as temps climbed to the upper 80’s and low 90’s. Hubby and I made a pact that those temps were our starting line for turning on the a/c, but when the temps drop back down to low 80’s for two or more days, then it goes off again.
    Yes, I agree, we’ve become accustomed to the good life. Folks no longer even think to build a summer kitchen! Old homesteads around here still have them. And lots of shade trees.
    Thoughtful post!

  • Reply
    Frances
    June 25, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Looking at the picture of the house being built makes me think, just maybe you get some breezes. The ideas of a fan placed to blow air out in the upper part of the house and a whole house fan place to pull air in from the bottom of the house works. We don’t have air conditioning. This has worked for us. If it wasn’t for ceiling fans though, trying sleep can be a miserable exercise. My dad who was an air conditioning engineer, (he didn’t have ac until he was 76yr and dying) said that to stay in air conditioning reduced your ability to sweat and handle being outside which is vital to the body to get vitamin D. Focus on it being a blessing to the children to learn challenges are just something to overcome. “This too shall pass”. ; )

  • Reply
    Lanny
    June 25, 2009 at 1:58 am

    No air conditioner in our house, window mount or otherwise. Just two stratigically placed fans for most warm days and for those couple of weeks that would make anyone melt we add a couple more. We have a grape that grows more for its shade on the south side of the house than the grapes and it is helped by an enormously overgrown Mock Orange and a couple of climbing roses. In my book, green leafy shade is way more effective than awnings. And there are days I am very very thankful for my tile floor that we put in four years ago, like standing on an ice cube in the summer. But for the most part I just sit back an enjoy the free heat, store it up in my head for next February when I’m so cold, crawlin’ into the fire would barely help.

  • Reply
    SandyCarlson
    June 24, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    I am thinking, “You’re supposed to roast like a spud when you’re a kid in summer.” But I am wondering what that means as I sit here in my fleece robe.
    Bottom line: go outside and stay there. Love it all and breathe deeply.

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    June 24, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    I probably don’t have much to add to the above, but here’s some things we do. We don’t have central AC, just one BIG window unit that does a good job of cooling our house. We run it in the afternoons and into the evening, then turn it off all night and the house stays cool til morning. We also have ceiling fans in every room, even the bathroom, and on the porch. They help the AC, I think.
    With no AC, here’s some ideas: two or three short, cool showers a day, getting your hair wet, really cools you down. A wet cloth around your neck helps too. Open only windows to cross-ventilate; keep the ones on the “sun side” covered with heavy curtains if you can.
    Cook in the morning, and heat it up later if you need to. Use your grill as much as possible so the cooking stays outside.
    Go swimming! There’s nothing like a day at the lake, swimming and picnicking under the trees, to keep you cool.

  • Reply
    Becky
    June 24, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Oh, geez, I’m so sorry to hear about the broken air condiditoning! And during this heatwave, too. We just got our pool set up and we have a/c. Come down and visit awhile!
    We didn’t have a/c either, growing up. My Mom put two fans in windows in the back of the house, pointing out. (exhaust fans) Then left the front door and windows in the front of the house open. The fans would pull cooler air through the house.
    And cooking? I think I would eat sandwiches or use the grill outside!

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    June 24, 2009 at 6:20 am

    Now this one is totally up my alley. 🙂 As children, we slept on mattresses on our parents bedroom floor in the Summer as we had only one fan. Our Dad rigged it with rope to tilt towards us kids and we slept very well. Back then, we left the windows upstairs and downstairs open (with screens) all night … you could do that in the city then, not now.
    I started using a/c when I moved into my little place. One window unit in the back of the apartment with fans drawing the cool air to the front. Doesn’t help much though when the store downstairs leaves their door open all day and the heat comes up through the floor. I’ve replaced that unit three times in the 30 years I’ve been here.
    Now here’s what I had to do when the second a/c quit on me during the hottest month of the year. I keep two plastic 20 oz soda bottles in the freezer with water in them. You know, for emergencies that require an ice pack. I still had the fans running, but I took one of those bottles and wrapped it in a linen tea towel. I slept with the bottle held to my chest until I woke up hot again. Then I exchanged it for the other bottle. I’m here to tell you it worked perfectly! Cooled me down so well that I slept like a dream. Since I sleep on my side anyway, there was no losing the bottle in the bed. It stayed right where I held it. I did this every night until the new a/c arrived.
    Sister B’s boyfriend’s Granny still has a woodburning stove in her kitchen in Swannanoa. Everytime we went there she would offer us wilted lettuce in bacon grease. The heat doesn’t seem to bother her at all, and the food was always delicious. xxoo

  • Reply
    Ginger
    June 24, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Try taking a tepid bath with a regular soap (soaps w/lotion or skin softening agent’s coat your skin and it can’t “breath” as well). When our air was out for 2 weeks (110 degree’s in the double-wide) I broke down and bought a small window unit just for the bedroom, and put towels under the doorway to keep all the cool air in the bedroom and only ran it to sleep (I work nights and sleep days). I’ve had it 3 years…and I still use it every day with the ceiling fans to sleep). That air-conditioner saved out lives during the hurricane…we hooked it up to the generator for sleeping or I really think we would have died from the heat and humidity.

  • Reply
    Connie
    June 24, 2009 at 5:29 am

    My heat pump died after years of faithful service. Before the heat pump, we did nearly 8 summers without ac. Then I had nearly 12 years with one.
    This will be my 3rd summer without. I’ve learned not only to live without it, but to enjoy it (all except the dogs days of August).
    This I can tell you – window fans and ceiling fans can do an amazing job.
    Connie, who doesn’t head for the second floor until 10 or so.

  • Reply
    Nancy M.
    June 24, 2009 at 12:34 am

    I have a hard time dealing with the heat too. I hope your will be working soon! It’s been too hot lately to be without it much.

  • Reply
    Rick
    June 23, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    I can relate a bit. I am partial to the cooler temps myself. I put the a/c in our livingroom about a month ago when we had a short hot spell and haven’t been able to use it sinse.
    I haven’t seen the sun in two weeks. I am beginning to think I live in Washington state.

  • Reply
    Janet
    June 23, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Hi Tipper, hope you get the AC fixed soon. We never had it when we were kids either, only window fans. We would sleep at night with the doors open, too. My mom used to work at a laundry, which is very very hot in the summer. She would keep a wet washcloth around her neck. Those paper fans are nice, too.

  • Reply
    Kim Campbell
    June 23, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    No tips for staying cool. But a somewhat funny story.
    My Dad and Stepmom lived on a lake in Indiana for YEARS. One summer, I was just dying (or so I thought) from the heat. I asked my Dad if we could turn the AC on.
    Daddy: ?? We don’t have air conditioning.
    Me: ??????!!!!!! Huh? Ummm, sure you do?
    Daddy: Nooooooo. We just kept the windows open. (Laughs) I gues it’s just hotter than it used to be.
    *sigh* I think that was the exact moment of Global warming.

  • Reply
    martina
    June 23, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Drape a damp washcloth or towel in front of the fan. The water will add a bit of humidity to the air. Try not to eat a lot of carbohydrates/starches. Keep drapes closed during the day, open them at night.
    Well, off to go plant 10 of the corn seeds, today is the day!

  • Reply
    Louise
    June 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Poor you! And you live in a humid region. No tips. But I think every house needs a summer kitchen! (I don’t have one, but I think it would be perfect.)

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    June 23, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Tipper,
    I know what you mean about AC. We take it for granted now, but when I grew up, we had no AC. The house got very hot, and hardly cooled off all night. We sat on the front porch of the evening and we so glad when a cool breeze whisked across the porch. I sure hope you get your AC fixed soon. I know how uncomfortable it is especially with the hot days we’re having. I also relate to cooking in a hot kitchen, but when I was a child, we had a wood stove which made the entire house so hot and uncomfortable.

  • Reply
    fishing guy
    June 23, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Tipper: I would have suggested the WKF method above. It would do some good. Go to a local store with air conditioning and shop till you drop. You don’t have to by much of anything.
    I hope you don’t have a serious problem with the AC. I worked in AC and my car has AC so how could I not have it at home.
    We didn’t have AC when growing up but things are so different now.

  • Reply
    Marlene
    June 23, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    As hot as it is here if the air conditioner was out my husband would be taking himself to a hotel! I agree with the trick of putting a bowl or pan of ice in front of the fan. It cools the air several degrees.

  • Reply
    Amy @ parkcitygirl
    June 23, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    We do have central air – Praise the Lord!! I wouldn’t survive without it – but haven’t had to use it much yet 🙂 This week it’s warming up good. I do like the others and close windows on one side of the house until it cools enough to open them again, and pull the window coverings to keep the sun out. I wish you cooler weather, and an AC repair quick! 🙂

  • Reply
    Joan J
    June 23, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    It’s funny how quickly we get used to A/C, both in the house and in our cars. In an effort to cut back on our electric bill, I purchased thermal roman shades for the sunniest rooms in our house, and it really has made a big difference, both in summer and winter. Only problem is, I miss looking out my kitchen windows and watching the birds and little animals first thing in the morning! I guess you have to give up something, but my “view” wouldn’t have been my first choice.

  • Reply
    WKF
    June 23, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    How timely! I saw this the other day… ” place a bowl(I’d use a bucket!) of ice in front of a box fan. It cools the air as it passes over the ice.” This is something I’ve done in my house I’ve hung a tapestry curtain(have used a blanket) in the door way between the kitchen and the rest of the house. I keep it closed all the time
    when it is hot or cold. the kitchen is one room to be remodeled so the insulation is lacking in there.(read none) It keeps my air condtioner from working over time. Makes a huge difference in the room temps.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    June 23, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Just a few ideas:
    1. If your attic opening is inside, and you have soffit vents and roof peak vents, open up your attic entry to draw some of the heat out the top of your house. The heat up there won’t come down.
    2. Evaporative cooling works if one can figure out how to rig up some crude method, such as wet strips of cloth hung in a window where air is incoming. The body also cools by evaporative cooling, so direct fanning helps at night (from a ceiling fan or a floor fan blowing across your bed).
    3. Avoid salty and greasy foods and drink plenty of plain water, to keep the body’s cooling system supplied.
    4. Show up unannounced, at a relative’s house,someone with good air conditioning and stay until a) they run you off, or b) your A/C is working again, or c) summer ends, or d) a cold snap sets in.

  • Reply
    Sheila
    June 23, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Oh Honey. it’s been hot here- three didgets this past week. We live in a trailer and in the afternoon when I cook supper, it’s unbearable. We have an ac on each end and one in the living room. I’m gonna take to cooking in the morning and then warming it in the micro when it’s time to eat. I wish you well, and stay cool the best you can. You have a lovely house-the Deerhunter made it?

  • Reply
    Pappy
    June 23, 2009 at 11:52 am

    We definitely had similar childhoods. I can recall doing some of the same things. One big fan centrally located in the house with the fan pulling the air out of the house and at the same time pulling fresh air in through the screened open windows. Sitting on the porch until the sun was set and the crickets were out. Swinging in the porch swing to stir a little breeze. Going for a late afternoon swim in a spring fed creek to wash and cool down a little. Drinking lots of cold well water. Hope you are cooler for having read this. Pappy

  • Reply
    Susan
    June 23, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Well, I don’t live in North Carolina, so my situation is a little different here in central Ohio, but I try to use the A/C as little as possible. I close up the windows around 9:30 a.m. The only ones I leave open are two on the north side of the house, one upstairs, one down, and the windows on my screened-in-breezeway off the kitchen. I pull the curtains or blinds on all the windows upstairs. I don’t have window coverings downstairs, but I really should get some. I run the ceiling fans and a stand fan in the kitchen if I’m cooking.
    In the evening, when the sun goes below the trees, I open up all the windows. It stays pretty comfortable, about 10 degrees less than the outside temp during the day. Of course, it wouldn’t work very well where you are, having much warmer temps.
    When I was a teenager, we lived in a house with all the windows nailed or painted shut. My bedroom was by the front door, so I would leave the door open with just the screen door and put a floor fan directly on me, pulling whatever cool air it could from the door. It was miserable in summer. That was in southern Ohio and the climate there is much like yours, very humid. Sometimes I would make a pallet on the front porch glider and sleep out there. I never understood WHY my stepfather wouldn’t pry those darned windows open, so we could get some relief. I never liked that man very much. I don’t know how my mom stood canning all summer. The stupid kitchen windows didn’t even open! She just had the screen door.
    I do run the A/C if the temps get much above 90.

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    June 23, 2009 at 8:15 am

    I’m trying to be more green this year. I refuse to turn on the air conditioning. We didn’t have it when I was little and my first 11 years in Florida we didn’t have it, so why not. The evenings are cool and we can sit outside. Our bedroom is in part of the house that is built into the ground so it stays 70 all the time. I did put a fan in the window upstairs and put it on exhaust. That helped.
    My grandma and great grandma had summer kitchens. They did most of their cooking and canning there. I loved the summer kitchen. It was like having a picnic every evening. The cooking area would have put any modern day outdoor cook into spasms of envy. We had a great eating area. We called it the grape arbor. There was room for 10 12 people to sit and eat. Grapes grew up one side, honeysuckle another. It was wonderful !!!

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