Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Conditioned Air

I hate air conditioners. They're noisy, inefficient, expensive, bulky beasts, and I don't own any (technically I suppose there's one in my car, but it hasn't worked since I bought the vehicle, so it doesn't count). When it's warm, I close all the windows, and draw the curtains on the sunny side of the house, letting insulation do the rest (downstairs, the temp stays under 70 even on 90-degree days). As the temperature drops in the evening, I open a downstairs window on the shady side of the house, then open an upstairs window on the sunny side, and put a box fan in the upstairs window, blowing out. It draws cool air up through the house, doesn't use much electricity, doesn't make a ton of noise (and it becomes white noise because it's constant instead of stopping and starting every few minutes), and takes two seconds to install or remove.

At work, though, it's a different story. I wasn't pleased when I saw the bosses' son installing an AC unit in the tiny window in shipping a while back, and figured I wouldn't use it. Boy, was I wrong. Shipping is the hottest part of the facility, being a single-story addition on the south side of the building, and there are no fans available to do what I do at home, pulling cool air from other parts of the building and blowing it out on the hot side, so I end up using the air conditioning a lot more than I thought I would.

One of my coworkers, who covers for me in shipping when I'm on vacation or out sick, runs a lot hotter than I do, and when she was in shipping all day Monday, she set the AC's thermostat to 65 degrees. When things started to get toasty (and humid, which is the bigger problem) yesterday, I turned on the AC, noticed the temperature setting, and immediately put it back where I like it: 74F. That's the point where I'm still a little warm, but walking from shipping to the stockroom (where there's no climate control at all) isn't a huge shock. I hate that wall of hot or cold air as I pass from one zone to another, so I try to keep shipping as warm as I can while still being comfortable.

Now if only I could convince stores to do the same. Leaving the grocery store today, going from 65F to 85F as I crossed the threshold, I instantly broke out in a sweat, and it took 20 minutes of velocity-based cooling (half of my drive home with the windows down) before I was comfortable again. A few degrees higher in the store wouldn't make a huge difference to the food, but it would make a difference to shoppers as they leave the store, not to mention the store's electric bill... but I guess that makes too much sense.

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