May 28

No Air Conditioning, a small taste of SHTF

Well…this sucks.  It’s been 6 days in my home since our air conditioning unit decided to give up the ghost and call it quits.  Parts had to be shipped, home warranty estimates approved plus a holiday weekend = almost a week with no air conditioning.  Average temps have been low 80’s, not unbearable but not remotely comfortable either.  I know what you are thinking, stop whining and suck it up right?  Allow me to explain.

I spent much of my childhood on a tropical island.  No air conditioning to speak of but a nice cool breeze constantly blowing through a home which was built to circulate airflow.  I’ve also been overseas in some of the most austere environments which man can endure with no access to climate control for months at a time.  I have endured “the suck” and know what it’s like to live in a home which isn’t set to a comfortable 68 degrees, but this is different.  This time it’s my home in modern suburbia, a home which was not built for maximum airflow and a home in which my family resides.  Instead of tile floors and concrete walls I have thick carpet and drywall.  The only saving grace is that I have a basement, a nice cool place where I’m currently sitting and typing out this post.

This last week got me thinking about what I would have to do to my home in a total grid down scenario, a case when the AC would be off with no hope of ever coming back.  The first thing I would do is tear out the carpets and stack them in rolls int the basement.  Although we have the windows and doors open it’s starting to smell a bit musty in here, the carpets and furniture are soaking up the air and saving it for later (and that’s a bad thing).  Once the carpets were out I would make sure to open all the windows in order to maximize airflow, good working screens would be important to keep the critters (read: mosquitoes) out.

A few more observations from my small taste of SHTF:

– As uncomfortable as it has been we have started to get used to the AC being out, I’m quite sure given enough time it would not even be a factor.

– Having a basement is simply amazing, you can feel the temperature difference immediately as you descend the stairs to the lower level.  It really does make all the difference in the world.

– We’ve spent quite a bit more time outside on the patio cooking over the fire pit or on the charcoal grill.  Cooking in the kitchen is simply unbearable as the heat collects and makes things miserable.  I need more firewood for sure and actually now that I think about it, cooking outside is pretty fun.

– Not SHTF related, but keeping up to date on our home warranty continues to pay off.  A new AC unit would have cost me $3k, instead it was a $60 deductible.

– Lots of hardcore dudes online make comments about SHTF and wanting it to happen but do they really know what they are asking for?  When the lights go out and life as we know it changes forever things get pretty inconvenient really quick.  It’s one thing to prepare for SHTF but it’s another thing to live through it.  I wouldn’t consider what I and my family has had to go through over the past week a true SHTF event, but it has been a small taste and honestly it’s been a litte bitter.


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    • The Maj on May 29, 2013 at 7:42 AM
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    Great points PJ. I recall several hurricanes and similar situations, albeit totally without power for 5 days +. Hurricane rolls through dumping all that rain, then behind it the air is still and the humidity is through the roof. Post SHTF would be much, much worse.

    Of course, in the days before “power” houses only had rooms that were necessary, very few had closets, and they were designed so the air would flow in the summer and where they could be heated by a fireplace/stove in the winter. HVAC caused a change in the way houses are built because instead of using windows/doors to change the air out in the house, the HVAC was now able to do it.

    Once thing is certain, everyone is in for a rude awakening post SHTF.

      • PJ on May 29, 2013 at 9:49 AM
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      Great point about closets and modern home building construction. Thankfully our AC got fixed this morning, modern technology is a wonderful thing! Could I live off the grid post SHTF? Most definitely…but do I want to? Not just yet.

    • Jeremy on May 29, 2013 at 6:43 PM
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    All so if you plan to work do it in the cool part of the day. Like are grand parents did back in the day. As for cooking At are bug out land we have an in side and out side kitten. Both with a form of running water. All so we have a 20’x20′ shade with a 10′ depth root celer under it. Witch make a nice cool place to live on 100*+ days.

    • PJ on May 29, 2013 at 10:56 PM
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    So more news…hours after the AC was fixed my blower fan took a dump. Hilarious and sad at the same time. It’s hot once again in my home, hopefully the HVAC guy will be out tomorrow to fix things.

    • tpdoldie on May 31, 2013 at 1:33 PM
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    Agree with Jeremy, our grandparents went to work when it was dark, stayed out of the heat during the worst part of the day. Modern day tradespeople, watch their work habits-they start before the sun comes up.
    Covered patios, shade trees and the old school box fans have worked for us when our a/c went out, we were lucky due to zoned units for the upstairs. Totally agree with cooking outside-grills, smokers work great during the time the a/c was out.
    Our home in Oklahoma’s tornado alley does not have a basement but I grew up in an old house and when I could I moved to one of the rooms in the basement. Now I may not have a basement but I do have a concrete bunker underground and it is a sheer joy during the 100 degree summer days.

      • PJ on June 1, 2013 at 11:13 AM
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      Wow! Concrete bunker underground, I’m envious for sure. Any information you can provide without compromising OPSEC? 🙂

  1. I feel for ya! We sprung a major plumbing issue around the same time last month. Over $6,000 to fix. While we took time to get estimates and gather the funds to get the work done (finally getting done tomorrow — over two weeks later), we’ve had practice in living primitively and creatively when it comes washing dishes and showering. ugh

      • PJ on June 14, 2013 at 9:12 AM
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      Wow, that’s a major hit to the wallet! I’m glad you were able to get it sorted out…any lesson’s learned or experiences from your “primitive living” which you would like to share? 🙂

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