Monday, August 19, 2013

Windows Open or Windows Closed?

For me, summer is all about opening every window and door and letting in all that is good about summer air.  The sounds, the smells and sometimes, the rain before we can close the windows!

The summers I remember from my childhood involved curtains blowing in the breeze.  Doors that never opened otherwise would be open in the summer to let in more air.  I would totally forget we even had a door there until summer (there are many doors in that house that make no sense).  Windows that you had to rock back and forth, jiggle and bang and then hold open with paint brushes or books or whatever you had nearby when you finally got the effing thing open.

We didn't have air conditioning in our house until we moved to a new house when I was in high school.  Except for the really humid days of summer, I loved not having AC.  Just a fan at night and for about 90% of the summer, that was all I needed.  This was the way my friends lived too.

We had to run around and close the windows when it rained and sometimes that meant banging, wiggled, and jiggling those windows to get them down.  There was probably swearing involved.

When we moved and got central AC, my parents decided to leave it on upstairs all summer and only use it downstairs when it was too humid to breathe.  This was a constant fight because my sister a-ster and I liked having the windows open at night.  They told us to close the AC vents but I think it all still leaked out.  It leaks from upstairs to downstairs anyway because there isn't a door to block it off.

That's why I am such an energy nazi.  I have to make up for all the AC my parents put out the front door.

Today, I live in the first house I describe, the one without AC.  Except for the one unit we have that cools 2 rooms when it's so humid I'm not sure if I've wet the bed or not.

I love opening every.single.window and leaving them that way all summer.  Except when it rains and then we I do the run around and close windows dance.



This is the front door of the house but we never use it to go in and out.  One time, a salesman came to the door and that was really weird.  NO ONE uses that door.  Even the Jehovah's witnesses seem to know this is not the door to use.  In the winter, it stays closed and then when the sun starts to really shine in the front of the house around March, I open it with the storm glass in and let it heat up the front of the house.  As soon as I can put in the screens, I open this door every time I am home because I really think it blows the breeze right through the house.

You might be able to tell that the windows are newer than when I was 10, so the rock, jiggle and bang maneuver doesn't have to be used.  Downstairs, anyway.  We didn't replace the upstairs windows because no one sleeps up there or uses it much, so when I do decide to open some of them, it's quite a workout.  Sometimes, swearing is involved.

Lately, I notice more and more houses around my area that have windows completely closed all summer.  More houses are being built or renovated and getting central air and even when it's only 72 degrees and as dry as a bone, the windows are still closed.  Great to keep out the dust and pollen but sad.

Gone are the days when every house had curtains blowing in the wind, every window wide open.  Old houses like mine would have the rickety stick method of holding open the windows.

Today, I pass many a house with rows and rows of windows, sliding glass or French doors everywhere.  And nary an inch or two open.

Some say it's because it keeps the house cleaner.  True, I do have an inordinate amount of dust in the summer.  But I have that same dust in the winter, so who would know?

Some say it's safer because people can't just break in through the screens.  True.  I was alone one night a long time ago and woke up to what I was CERTAIN was a madman with a knife cutting through the screen.  Sawing back and forth, with what I envisioned was a steak knife.   Of course this didn't happen and I'll never know what it was but it paralyzed me for the rest of the night.  It didn't make me shut my windows, though!

Some say they can't live without AC because they can't tolerate the heat.  True, but only if it's over 80 degrees AND humid and really, only if that's the case at night.  During the day, I can almost make do with the temperature and humidity, if I don't have anything pressing to do. At night though, if the bed is damp and it's hot.  LOOK.OUT.

If k-ster had his way, we'd have central AC and it would be on about 90% of the summer.  I am pretty sure that in our current climate, I could not live this way.  I had enough trouble trying to enjoy summer when the patio was on hiatus.  If you shut me in and stopped me from hearing the birds, bugs and even traffic?  I'd lose it.

So, what do you do?   Windows open or closed?   And what's your rationale?

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1 comment:

  1. I grew up in a house with a heat pump (late 70s early 80s) and we never opened the windows.

    These days, we live in an 80 year old farmhouse with no a/c. In summer, we open the windows early in the morning to cool things down, close them during the heat of the day, then open them again in the evening.

    I won't sleep with them open, though. In the area we live in, it wouldn't be safe.

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