Cooling off the less costly way
Wednesday, 20 July 2011 00:00
Let the mercury hit 100 degrees Friday. Joan Harvey will reach for a cool moist towel, a handheld fan and iced tea. Her 1873 home in historic Mount Tabor has no air conditioning.
“I’ve lived most of my life in England where they don’t have air conditioning, and so I’m not interested in it,” Harvey said. “It takes up too much power. Besides, I think it’s unhealthy to circulate used air.”
People are better off with cross-ventilation, in Harvey’s opinion. Environmentally sensitive people shared a variety of ways they respond to the heat wave, such as the one that will descend on the Morris area today.
State meteorologist/climatologist Keith Arnesen, who said July temperatures have been two degrees above normal, predicts temperatures pushing 90 and climbing higher as the week wears on. “There probably will be some weather stations in New Jersey that hit 100 degrees Friday,”Arnesen said. “It’s going to be well above normal for the remainder of the week, some days more so than others.”
Yet Scott Olson of Byram still doesn’t regret his decision not to fix his air conditioner after it broke in 2009. He lives in a 1927 chestnut cabin, with a 1986 addition, in a wooded area near Lake Mohawk.
For the past two years, he’s been working with nature instead of turning on an air conditioner that churns out carbon dioxide. The result? An electric bill half of what he used to pay and more peace of mind.
McWilliams also urges her listeners to put their window units on a low setting and use them in conjunction with a ceiling fan, and also to make sure they don’t buy a unit with more BTUs than is required for the room they’re cooling. “A lot of new units have timers now,” she added. “If you’re at work all day, set it to turn on a half-hour before you get home.” The best ever option, she said, is an attic fan.