The Air-Conditioning Update: Is Our AC On?

For anyone new to Late Enough or who doesn’t read my daily  posts (WTH?), I gave up air conditioning this summer. Or at least that was the game plan…

We did no AC in May and most of June, but the end of June creeped in as a freaky heat wave. For a week, the temperature stayed in the triple digits. The first day, as I laid down with a bag of ice on my head, I gave my kids their own bowls of ice and said: Have fun very slowly.

This is at 6 p.m.. Seriously.

I tried to allay the fears of my Facebook friends that we would die of heat stroke by pointing out I’M A DOCTOR, which worked well until I went up to my kids’ bedroom:



So after 7 hot weeks without air-conditioning, I turned it on to 80 degrees TO SAVE THE CHILDREN.

Thus began the Iwashyna AC Wars.

The New Alex Air Conditioning Plan:

  • The AC is set to 80 degrees on the floor we are on.
  • The AC is off when we were not on that particular floor for extended periods of time there UNLESS it is triple digits for many days in a row. Then I set it to 85-86 degrees.
  • We always have fans going in the room we are in plus the one ceiling fan we have in the kids’ bedroom.
  • We turn off the AC and open the windows when it’s in the 70s (which is like once a month now UGH)

My theory: We are already adjusted to the heat enough that 80 degrees feels fine, and no AC needed if no one is there. However, I acknowledge that it will take a lot for the AC to get from 95 to 80 so I don’t want it to get too hot on the floor we’re aren’t. Plus, even when we aren’t home, we have 4 indoor cats that I can’t let overheat.

The Scott Air Conditioning Plan:

  • Conveniently forget to turn off the AC when waking up or going to bed, and whenever Alex isn’t looking, turn it down the 78 degrees.

My battle plan is to follow Scott around putting the AC back to 80 or turning it off. Our AC is all WTH is wrong with those people, but I will not have all our getting-used-to-the-heat work undone. Plus, I stay up later than him, and I have liberal guilt on my side. I’M WINNING.

I am disappointed that we have our AC on at all though, but before we decide that I’m a complete failure, check this out: With the Alex AC Plan, we are all comfortable (well, 3 out of 4 of us and if we count the cats, it’s 7 out of 8 of us), and our bill was only $19 more than on our no-heat-wave-no-AC month.

HOLY CRAP Y’ALL. I feel like I made money and saved the planet. It’s like the American Dream right here in my 80 degree living room.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

15 thoughts to “The Air-Conditioning Update: Is Our AC On?”

  1. We have lived in Germany for the past 6.5 years & there is NO A/C here… Even in hospitals! If you want A/C, it is a weird humidifer thing with a dryer vent attached to put in the window… I don’t own one. Now granted, we have only needed the A/C about 4 times (in 6.5 years) – where it was actually 95*+ at night. I was recently in Nashville for a house hunting trip, where it was a ‘low’ of 100* at 9 PM & I kept turning our hotel A/C up to 80*, because I FREEZE if its lower than that. (My husband kept complaining that he was too hot & I advised him to go sit in the 65* lobby.) I think your ‘plan’ sounds great & I fully intend to use the A/C as little as possible upon our return stateside. The only reason it will get turned on at all is because our dog (an Alaskan Malamute) & the 4 cats would roast without it!

  2. Good for you! We keep it at 78, which isn’t great, but we only turn it on once the inside the house temp hits 85. We have a lot of trees, so it doesn’t get there until the outdoor temps are in the high 90s or 100s for several days 🙂

  3. I think I like Scott’s plan better, but then again, our house sits at 73-74 with fans running all the time.

  4. We only have AC in our bedroom. So, when it hits 90 in our house, I give up and hole up in the bedroom for the day with our daughter. This has been a freaky hot summer for us on NE Ohio, too! Makes me glad I work, since that means our daughter gets to be in AC during the day at her day care on the really hot days. They really do encourage outdoor play, so that should help her to not grow up totally dependent on AC. I hope.

  5. I’m glad you are still working to save the planet. Good job! We have a thermostat that can be programmed for different temps at different times an that’s the best we can do 🙂

  6. That’s kind of how we work. When the upstairs temp starts getting over 90, we fire it up. Ours isn’t central air, we have a window unit in the kid’s room and a ductless unit on the main floor. The kids one goes on for about 3 hours before bedtime, earlier if it’s extreme heat.

  7. Well done! I hate to admit it, but I’m more like Scott & my husband is more like you. However, your “No AC” policy inspired me, & we’ve all adjusted to the heat pretty well. AND I feel better about doing a teensy hit to help the planet. AND I’m not irritated when the electric bill comes (well, no more than usual, at least).

  8. I am SO impressed! I wish I were not so spoiled by A/C… if I tried to do this at home I think I would melt, especially since my office building cranks it too much and is always freezing. Do you still use the A/C in your cars? 🙂

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