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Sat Jul 20, 2019, 10:00 AM

Some unexpected consequences of extreme heat

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49049238

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1. Air conditioners make cities hotter

Air-conditioning is used in 87% of US homes, according to a 2018 report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). During heat waves, air conditioning use stresses power grids and can lead to city-wide outages.

In cities, that means millions of units - including those on cars and buses and trains - constantly pushing out heat into the atmosphere. Studies have found the extra heat from air-conditioning can raise temperatures by as much as 2C. And when it gets hotter, our thermostats turn lower and the cycle continues.

But it goes further than just an ever-hotter summer season - the emissions from air conditioners and their refrigerants is contributing to climate change. The man-made greenhouse gases used in air conditoners, called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

In cities, the cycle is also exacerbated by all the concrete, asphalt, steel and glass, creating an urban heat island.

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Response to jpak (Original post)

Sat Jul 20, 2019, 10:09 AM

1. here in the Pacific Northwest we havent even had summer yet..

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Response to jpak (Original post)

Sat Jul 20, 2019, 12:08 PM

2. When it gets hotter, I turn

mine higher. If it's 100 outside, 78 or 79 is going to feel great. It causes the ac to cycle less often. My suggestion is if it feels hot in the house, go outside for 5 minutes and it will be so cool when you come in. Of course ceiling fans are really key to keep the air moving constantly.

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Response to jpak (Original post)

Sat Jul 20, 2019, 12:19 PM

3. I don't have central AC. I could, but don't.

Instead, I cool individual rooms with window units. There's one in the living room, and small ones in our bedroom and my wife's office. If we're not in the rooms, we close the doors and shut those units off.

I work in the basement, which doesn't need AC at all.

Central AC cools the entire house, including rooms you aren't using. I consider that wasteful. Besides, correctly sized window units are far less expensive than central AC.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #3)

Sat Jul 20, 2019, 01:36 PM

4. same here -- 2 window units for about 3200 sqft

If I had it to do over, I'd build completely underground with a lawn for a roof.

Asphalt and concrete are just as much our enemies as petroleum-fueled cars.

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Response to Hermit-The-Prog (Reply #4)

Sat Jul 20, 2019, 01:42 PM

5. Based on the number of times I've had water in my basement,

I'm not fond of the idea of underground living. All it takes is a little clog in the gutter and the basement gets wet. Most recently, my neighbor's sump pump outlet hose was still curled up under his eaves when we got a lot of snow melt. The water he was pumping out of his basement sump was running over from his house to one of my basement window wells, and from there into my basement.

Now, both our our sump pump outlets connect to plastic pipes underground that empty out on the front lawn sloped area. That won't happen again.

We have a dry basement, except when we don't. It's always some human error that floods the basement.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #5)

Sat Jul 20, 2019, 02:56 PM

8. on a hill

It's downhill on 3 sides from my house. If water ever gets high enough to flood my as-yet imaginary basement, it would be too late for a second Noah.

My son's basement flooded once. He forgot to disconnect a garden hose for winter. I have to wear a jacket to sit in his basement. Here in Kentucky, the temperature underground is 56F.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #3)

Sat Jul 20, 2019, 03:03 PM

9. We live in Phoenix, so a/c is not an option. However, we close the vents

in the rooms we don't use.

But, considering we live in less than 1000 sq. feet. we're already one of the smallest carbon footprints in the city.

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Response to jpak (Original post)

Sat Jul 20, 2019, 01:59 PM

6. Air conditioning is all about moving heat from one place to another

It may contribute to the heat island effect in cities but that is what you want to happen. A/C give us comfort allowing us to work and live more efficiently and safeguards the life of the elderly and disabled that are vulnerable to the stress that heat and humidity put on the body.

In other words, a 2C temperature swing outdoors is a small price to pay for the benefits of A/C.

Refrigerants are getting less dangerous to the environment (thanks to Montreal protocol phase outs) but there is still work to be done. Ammonia is a fantastic refrigerant that is efficient and does not contribute to global warming.... the only problem is in large quantities it can kill if released and not properly ventilated. and it does not perform well in small systems (like your house) so traditional refrigerants are still used.

A lot of work to do but today's A/C systems is properly designed and maintained are far more efficient energy wise than where we are 20 years ago. It was really the energy crisis of the last 70s that spurred on the drive to more efficient systems.

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Response to jpak (Original post)

Sat Jul 20, 2019, 02:07 PM

7. Mudbrick / adobe homes stay cooler in summer / warmer in winter.

We lived in one for two years with no AC during Australian summers.

Also very fire resistant.


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Response to jpak (Original post)

Sat Jul 20, 2019, 03:46 PM

10. On the worst days I go out and shut mine off.

Fingers crossed the electricity keeps coming through this....I've been eating the food in my freezer just in case.

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