Friday, July 30, 2010

Relief at last!

The start of July was terribly hot. It has relented slightly but I still worry about the future. Fortunately, my mommy and daddy have gifted me with a new air conditioner, to replace the old one, which had more things wrong with it than I can count (broken bearings, loss of refrigerant, half-working fans, a leaking condensate tank, broken dehumidification, broken switches, etc.).

The new A/C is more powerful than its predecessor, and of course it's brand-new, so everything works. It seems to be very efficient. It's an Italian design, by DeLonghi, which has a pretty good reputation for appliances and A/Cs), although the Italian part worries me somewhat (I'd prefer German design). It was built in China, which worries me more, but it's the best I could manage.

The A/C has an unusual feature that takes water from a tank that you fill and sprays it on the condenser coils on the hot side of the A/C. If you know how A/Cs work, you'll recognize this as a very effective way to massively increase the cooling capacity of the unit. It appears to work really well, the only drawback being that you have to fill the tank periodically. It will still cool without the water, but not as efficiently. It is so efficient when the tank has water that it is exempt from certain EU requirements for energy efficiency.

The unit claims to accept tap water, and supposedly has a resin filter to soften it. Tap water in Paris is moderately hard (about two thirds of Parisian water comes from underground wells that contain quite a bit of minerals), and the A/C has a setting for this. However, just to be on the safe side and to extend the life of the unit, I've been using distilled water, even though that costs about €0.50 a litre. In typical weather, where I only use the A/C intermittently, it seems to go through a 10-litre tank filling in about 10 hours. Electrically, I've calculated that the cost of operating the A/C 24 hours a day would be about €90 per month, but since that (hopefully) will never happen, the real cost should be about €20 per month during the summer.

You can see that I'm obsessed with air conditioning. I grew up in a hellish desert climate, and there is absolutely no way that I'll tolerate hot weather ever again. Paris gets hotter every year, so A/C is a necessity now for some part of each year, and I can't live without it. Fortunately, thanks to Mommy and Daddy, I can sleep reasonably well at night in summer, without tossing and turning on sheets that are sopping wet with sweat.

Europeans still think that air conditioning is decadent, and “wastes energy.” They are such complete dorks sometimes! Well, they may prefer to live in the 17th century, but I'll stay in the 21st, thank you.