Monday, June 13, 2011

To AC or not...That is the question

A man came to our house today to do an estimate on getting AC in our house.

You see, we have no AC.  No window units, no central, no nothing.  Just fans.  Ceiling fans, floor fans, window fans, exhaust name it, we've got it.

I never had AC when I was growing up and ever since we have been in this house, for 13 years, we have not had AC, either, except for a very short while when we had a wall unit that didn't really work and that came out when we got siding put on the house.

I do not like AC.  I am very much against it.  I feel that as much as it makes it cooler INSIDE, it is making it that much hotter OUTSIDE.  How can we possibly think that all that hot air that is blowing out of all the units that are attached to everyone's house is not somehow damaging our planet?

But these last few years have really gotten to be a bit unbearable.  Not all season, but there are a few days, usually in August, that really make me want to have a AC unit to crank up. 

But then I feel guilty. 

People survived for years and years and generations and generations without AC, so who am I to suddenly wimp out and 'need' it?  Also, for as much as I am against it, how can I then crank up my unit to add to the whole problem and misuse of our planet? 

I am having a really hard time with this. 

But now we have a lot more people living in our house.  Granted, it is OUR house, so whoever lives in it needs to deal with our house rules, but still, I want my in-laws to be comfortable especially now that Jimmy and I 'get' to leave everyday to work in an air conditioned place.

Where, by the way, we are absolutely FREEZING everyday.  I mean like freezing freezing.  I wear jeans and a sweatshirt with the hood up and I STILL have goosebumps!

But I have come to the conclusion, whether it is correct or not, that I am like a cat.  Cats shed in the summer and grow thick fur in the winter.  Their bodies know how to handle the cold and the heat and respond accordingly.  So, I figure that my blood must thin in the summer and thicken in the winter.  In the winter, I am the one outside with no coat and with the heater topping out at 64 degrees on the coldest days and 54 at night. 

Perhaps that's the way we all used to be.  Perhaps, before we started controlling our environments to such degrees and extents, our bodies were like other mammals that knew how to cool and warm themselves in response to the seasons. 

Now, I won't go so far as to tell you that the heat never bothers me, because it does.  And that is why the guy came today to give an estimate. 

Sometimes, when it's 105 outside and 97 inside and you feel like you are trying to breathe jello, and you don't want to eat anything and you don't want to touch anything because you know that you'll stick to it, and you can't sleep but you don't want to do anything else either and the tempers are as hot as the pavement outside, I can say that the heat bothers me.

And even sometimes when it's even just 90 or so, but it's so humid and sticky and the fans are whirring but nothing helps I find that I don't want to do anything.  The heat saps my energy and I find myself counting the days til fall and then I feel bad that all I want is for it to end because these are supposed to be the lazy-enjoy-your-children-while-they're-out-of-school days.  And I don't enjoy.  I want it to be over.

And nothing gets done. 

I realized how much the heat saps my energy today.  It was absolutely beautiful outside today and when I got home from work, I had so much energy!  I wanted to conquer the world!  Elizabeth made a delicious dinner of mac 'n cheese, and then I took the little dudes outside to play for a while while I weeded a bit, then we went to Lowe's to get some stuff we need for he garden and for work and we trotted around the store for a while looking at all the plants and then we went to get gas and then came home and I bathed everyone and cut 40 finger and toe nails and still felt energetic.  And I like to feel energetic.  I am a better me when I am not boiling myself from the inside out.

But I also realize how much the AC saps my energy.  Many times just being in a climate controlled room really just drains me.  I am not sure if it is because of the silence (it is NEVER silent if the windows are open!) or the pressure or lack of humidity or the lack of fresh air, but very often, I can feel so blah and dead til I get outside for a while and then I feel so much better.

So now we are at a cross roads.  We have taken the first step to getting AC in our house...we have gotten an estimate (which is a little laughable cuz there's no way we can pay that much!) and I don't really know how I feel about this.

Am I being a cop-out by giving in to the desire to have this costly thing that is not a necessity?  Can I be a better steward of my money by not investing all that money into something that will only benefit me and my family?  Is it OK to spend that much money on something so frivolous when there are so many people who have so much less? 

This is really really hard for me.  It will be costly for us to get this unit put in because we have to start from nothing.  We do not even have duct work in the upstairs, so this will be a big investment but it will also be an improvement on the house should we ever get around to selling it and moving.  But am I justifying doing something just because I think that I want it?

I very rarely spend money on something that I want.  Everything that we spend is carefully calculated so that we know that we are getting the most bang for our buck and before we make a larger purchase, we always ask the question:

Will this be a blessing to our family?

If the answer is 'no' or not a resounding 'yes', then whatever it is stays behind and does not find its way home with us.

So, will this be a blessing to our family?

Yes. is such a high price tag that the next question that keeps weaseling its way into my mind is:

Is there a way that this sum of money could be better used to bless someone else and therefore ourselves?

And that is what is really holding me back.  Beside the fact that since we do not believe in debt, we will have to pay cash for this, and that's a chunk of change to sweep out of the bank all at once!

Any thoughts?


  1. If you can afford to bless your family with something special like air conditioning then I think you should do it. It is so nice to come home to after a long bike ride in the summer!
    We try to keep it set at a reasonable level where we don't get goosebumps!! At a restaurant the other day we asked the manager to turn it off...we were freezing!

  2. We had no AC for years...until I got pregnant and woke up feeling like I couldn't breathe at nights. I wasn't getting sleep. When we bought out farm, it came with 2 window ac units. They DON'T make the house cold: just take that HOT edge off. We use them when we have company: usually his parents or mine. I know heat is a lot harder for older folks. I also use it on REALLY hot days b/c I need the baby to nap. Most of the time, when it gets unbearably hot for days on end, even at night, I turn it on in the morning, shut it off, then turn it on in the evening. My husband hated AC b/c we all work outside so much and it is a drastic shock, but now he likes it b/c he sleeps much better at night on those days when it is unbearable. Honestly, to get good sleep, to feel relieved once in a while, it does make one in a better mood and life seems more bearable. It's up to you, of course. :) All of our unit were used, so they didn't cost much of anything. It increases our electric on REALLY hot days by about $30 per month, but to me, that is worth the good sleep, better attitudes. And the limited use makes me feel like we are doing our part to try to relieve the stress on the earth.

  3. Get it! Your struggle with the decision hurts my own heart and I don't even know you. Or at least get a good window unit or 2 to "take the edge off" as mentioned above. You are not being selfish.