The Seattle Air Conditioning Lie

Jul 30, 2004 • 5 minutes to read

**Updated with Crime Links

I believe the majority of the residents in the Greater Seattle Metro area during the summer live a lie. The lie in question is that Seattle is temperate enough to not require air conditioning. It’s a complete and utter lie, one in which Seattleites continually repeat to ourselves so that we will eventually believe it. During the month of June, 15 of the 30 days had a temperature > 75 degrees. In July, it’s 21 out of 31 days that are expected to be > 75 degrees. Of those, 16 of the 31 days are expected to be > 80 degrees. Any apartment exposed to this heat for fourteen hours (sunset is around 9pm) heats up like it’s under a magnifying glass. I’m not exaggerating here; I cannot be comfortable without a fan on me during the day and to go to sleep in our apartment. It’s sticky, our windows only open a solid 7” and we face west which maximizes our exposure to sunlight. Last night, the only way I fell asleep was by putting a bag of ice wrapped in a towel underneath me. It’s that bad.

The weird part is that every feels the desperate need to propagate the myth. Some examples:

BGold said that you don’t need air conditioning, yet a couple of weeks ago I was at his apartment around midnight and I was sweating it was so hot. He had his porch door wide open but it wasn’t enough. When I asked him how he could possibly go to sleep in this heat, he did finally admit that he uses an oscillating fan on his bed. Since when have fans and open windows been a good thing? You end up getting insects (especially at night as they are attracted to the light), in the city you hear almost constant street noise and you’ve also opened yourself up to theft. Examples:

_It’s common sense to keep doors and windows closed and locked, but “the basics are the things that people mess up the most,” says Seattle Police Officer Duane Fish. His department recently arrested two burglars with more than 100 break-ins between them. “Their primary method of getting into the home was an open door or window,” Fish says. _Link *

December 20 - Burglary - _“Suspect entered a residence through an open window.” _Link *

_December 21 - _Vandalism _- “The suspect entered the residence through a window and left after seeing the victim.” _Link *

December 26 - Burglary - _“Suspect arrested after entering a residence by climbing through a window.” _Link *

June 29 -_ **Jeanette and Jon Elkins are warning their Kent neighborhood to keep windows closed at night, despite the hot weather**….The Elkins are speaking from experience. They left the rear window of their home open Monday night. At 2:30 in the morning, they found out why police cautioned against leaving windows open without stops or wooden dowels to keep the opening so small a person could not climb through. At that time, while one of their two daughters was already in bed with them, a noise woke up Jeanette. She told KOMO 4 News she thought: " ‘Who’s there? Is that our other daughter coming in?’ And then I realized he was hooded. And I went, ‘Oh my God!’ Like, ‘Jon, someone’s in our house! ' " _Link *

July 6 - Arson - _“Police and fire personnel responded to the 5000 block of Brooklyn Avenue Northeast, where someone had thrown a lit firecracker through an open window and onto a bed.” _Link *

July 13 - Burglary - "…The suspect had entered through an open bedroom window." Link

Another friend who shall remain anonymous repeated the air conditioning myth. Luckily his fiance was there to nudge him towards telling the truth and to stop perpetuating the myth. Besides having all their windows open, they have a ceiling fan installed in the bedroom that they keep running all the time. His fiance admitted to getting very warm during the evening waking up and not being able to go back to sleep because of the hot temperature

BrianKel at least admits his place gets pretty hot and sticky and admitted that his place ends up feeling like a sauna. I was playing Xbox Live with Brian the other day and he mentioned that he and his roommate were playing in the sauna and were wearing towels and were pouring water over coals. Sadly, I know that he isn’t lying J

I drive in these people’s cars and they all have the air conditioning on, if you look around during high traffic, the majority of cars are using air conditioning to stay cool in stop and go traffic, yet, for some reason, the need for A/C disappears when you park at home and enter your house. It’s baffling.

The Good News

Me and the Mrs recently bought a new house (in BrianKel’s neighborhood too) that’s currently under construction! The first thing we asked for was air conditioning (it doesn’t come standard in any houses in Seattle). While we did have to pay for it, I can tell you it’s the best upgrade we got for the house.

I can’t wait until next summer when the outside temperature is 85 degrees and our new house will be a chilly 55 degrees. I’ll be in a itchy wool Christmas sweater making hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows over a nice fire and laughing at my sweat-drenched neighbors standing in front of their windows waiting for that breeze to come.


Whiteboard with Anders (this time it's up for good)

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