atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2828: Rain, flash flood warnings, and cooler weather

Well, that last is only until the sun really gets going. Projected high is 92°, which is why I'm not bothering to open up and ventilate with outside air: the only thing I'd do is bring in humidity, which I don't need, and which the AC would just have to extract from the air again.

But Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be much nicer before the heat comes back in on Wednesday--"average July in northeastern Illinois" heat, that is, not the stinkinous jungle crap we had last week.

I am dreading the arrival of the next electricity bill. Having sent them the entire pound of flesh they demanded--despite not understanding the bill--I am hoping to get one that I can understand without having to call their customer support line run by Vishnu in New Delhi. What I dread is knowing how much I had to run the AC this past week; even at $10 per day (or whatever it costs to operate the AC) it's going to add up quickly.

Alternative: ... Uh, sweltering and being utterly miserable. No.

That was Sailor V's lot this past week: their AC died, and they didn't know it died; the blower was cheerfully blowing basement air into the house so it felt like the thing was working, and just not working well enough. So, the inside air temp was 90°. When they were finally able to get their AC guy out to look at their system, it turned out to be low on refrigerant, and the compressor (as a result) probably wasn't even running. Ack.

If I had known that, I would have delivered my window AC unit to them. It wouldn't keep the house really cool but it would have helped some, anyway. Of course, if they had known the AC was not working at all (rather than, as thought, merely not working well enough) they wouldn't have waited for their regular AC guy, either.

As for the bunker, if the electricity bill for July is too pretendous, I'm going to clear a space in the basement, move some basic furniture down there, set the thermostat above 85...and say to hell with it. I can grab the mattress from the sofabed and take my rocking chair down there; I can read, or surf the web with the laptop, or even play WoW if I feel like it. And only come upstairs for food, bathroom, etc.

But I have faith--for the moment--that the bill won't be outrageous, mainly because I've got the thermostat set much higher than is normal in summer, at least when we've wanted the AC running.

When my Dad was alive, 70° was the rule, or 72° at the outside. Last year, because my head was in an anatomically unlikely orofice, I wasn't thinking about efficiency and Mom didn't care, so we set the thermostat about 72-ish.

...but even so, I sweated my ass off, and I don't understand why I'm not sweating my ass off now even though the thermostat is set six degrees higher. As far as I can remember the fans are not set up differently and there's no real difference in the configuration of the return ducts, either.

The only difference I can come up with is the fact that I got the blab slab, and in fact I've hardly watched anything on it in the past month.

Look: CRTs make heat, and there's nothing you can do about it. LCDs are better than CRTs, because they're more energy-efficient, but it's still not really good. I can feel warmth coming from the slab after it's been on a while, particularly in winter.

The typical CRT with "quick start" technology stays warm all the time. You need to heat up the filaments in the guns to make them emit electrons; and if you start them from cold it takes much longer to get a picture when you turn on the power than if you keep them kind of warm all the time.

And of course, the larger the screen, the more heat the thing gives off. It's not just the electron guns; it's the yoke magnets doing their thing. They're coils of wire, and wire has resistance, and resistance generates heat. You can't avoid it.

(Superconductors, I know. Shut up. No one's going to spend tens of thousands of dollars to have a TV with a superconducting yoke, particularly not now.)

And then there's the thermal mass of all that glass and stuff. The blab slab is a bigger screen but weighs perhaps 1/5th what the 35" glass bulb TV did.

All this means that there's just less heat input in my room this summer compared to last. Not watching much TV, less mass, better airflow, more efficient device--it all adds up.

Besides, since Mom's not around, I leave my door open all the time, which probably has more to do with it than everything else combined.


* * *

I went to bed at about 1:30 AM and slept until 3, when I was awakened by a full-to-bursting bladder. I tried going back to sleep, but couldn't.

How annoying.

I've found that if I take a half-liter pouch of Crystal Light lemonade and mix it with a half-liter pouch of Country Time lemonade in a 1-liter bottle, I end up with lemonade that tastes so good I can't help but drink it all in very short order. Hence the bladder issue.

The Crystal Light is, of course, sweetened with aspartame, which is almost perfect for lemonade; but it has the same problem that all drinks sweetened with aspartame do: the flavor falls flat and has no "finish". The Country Time is regular sugared lemonade, and I've always found regular lemonade mixes to be a bit too sweet. So by mixing them half-and-half, it makes lemonade which is sweet but not too sweet, has half the sugar of regular lemonade, and which has a proper "finish" to its flavor.

Now I've got to work on not slugging back the entire liter in ten minutes. It's always something.

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