The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

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The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by Big Boy » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:57 am

When we moved to Thailand, nearly 6 years ago, aircon in the bedroom was essential. I couldn't have slept otherwise.

Within days of moving into our new home, I had aircon installed into my son's bedroom, and about 12 months later I had it installed in the living room.

Our usage was not great i.e. we'd never use aircon during the day, but it was nice when we settled down in the evening to watch TV to put the aircon on for a couple of hours to relax. Both bedrooms used aircon about 360 nights a year, all night. Nothing excessive, always set to 26C.

The entire family seemed happy with this arrangement, and electricity bills ranged from 2,000 to 3,500 Baht/month, which was acceptable.

About 2 years ago, I started waking up freezing cold in the mornings. Nobody else said anything, so I thought I'd just take one for the team. However, at that time I started getting cold after cold. I would guess in that period, I was never more than 2 consecutive weeks without a cold. This constant illness was worrying me.

About 6 weeks ago, I suggested just sleeping with fan, and my wife was happy to give it a go. I didn't actually believe I could do it, but I've been sleeping fine. The benefits have already been many:

- The biggy is the electric bill. In a very short period, it dropped by over 500 Baht. I'm actually looking forward to this month's bill.

- My health - it's so nice not to have a cold. I was starting to think there was something wrong with my immune system.

- Tolerance of of hot weather. The recent cold snap aside, I am handling the heat better than I ever have. Some of you will know that I've been decorating - sweat would have been pouring off me in the past. Yes, I broke into a sweat, but nothing out of the ordinary.

This change of lifestyle has made me think back to hhfarang's posts of heat distress, and living inside of his air conditioned mansion most of the time. I wonder, if he'd just pulled the plug, whether or not he might have acclimatised to the heat. I'm convinced that a nightly dose of aircon prevented full acclimatisation to the heat, and ultimately led to my health problems. We are managing quite nicely without, although whether or not I'll still be saying that in March and April remains to be seen, but I didn't use central heating throughout the year in the UK, so why do we need aircon all year in Thailand?
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Re: The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by dtaai-maai » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:51 am

Surely this is not a question that can be generalised? What suits one person might not suit another. You've found yourself increasingly able to cope with the heat in Thailand, but for me it was the other way round. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that was one of the reasons (albeit a minor one) why I chose to return to the UK.
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Re: The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by Big Boy » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:42 pm

You maybe correct, but did you try suffering for a couple of days with just a fan? It's so easy to push the on button for the aircon, and one I couldn't resist for over 5 years. When I actually tried it, I didn't have a problem.
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Re: The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by VincentD » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:51 pm

People tend to acclimatize to their environment. Some take longer, others not. Point in question. Many years ago, I went on a job assigmnent to The Netherlands. It was July, around their summer and the temperature was 16 - 18 deg C. I felt cold, coming from a place where the average daily temperature was in the low 30's. Four months later, when the temperature had dropped to around 10 or less, I was okay with a jumper and an additional jacket outdoors. I had also put on 10 kilos and almost couldn't zip up my trousers. I assumed it was my body adapting to the weather..
Coming back to Thailand from winter weather (about -1 deg C) straight into Donmueng, I thought they had turned off the aircon in the airport!
Four months after I got back, I had shed those additional 10 kilos and was comfortable back here again.
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Re: The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by dtaai-maai » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:08 pm

Big Boy wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:42 pm
You maybe correct, but did you try suffering for a couple of days with just a fan? It's so easy to push the on button for the aircon, and one I couldn't resist for over 5 years. When I actually tried it, I didn't have a problem.
That's my point in a nutshell, really - everyone's situation is different. My first few years in Thailand I had a very active lifestyle; swimming, cycling, kayaking, etc. Then I was teaching in an air-conditioned environment and working increasingly on the computer at home. Then I was ill for a year and subsequently much less active.

You started off needing aircon, and eventually found you could manage without. I started off hardly ever using it, then found I needed it more and more.

It's similar to the Thai food issue. You often see derisory comments on the forum about tourists and expats coming here and wanting to eat European food. My first few years I ate mostly Thai food, and as time went by I got bored with it. A bit like Buddhist temples - in my first year here (EDIT: oops, I mean in Thailand...), I saw enough of them to last me a lifetime.
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Re: The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by Big Boy » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:02 pm

So do you think your lessening tolerance of the heat was because you were regularly subjected to aircon at work?

If anybody had suggested this change to me 6 months ago, I'd have been on the floor laughing. Even now, I put the remote control for the aircon on my pillow every night because I'm finding it hard to believe. However, it is real, and my wallet has a big smile on it as a result.
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Re: The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by 404cameljockey » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:10 pm

Well-directed aircon blows across the room, ceiling fans seem to blow directly on you. I prefer the first. Also same at night.
This time of year (winter) I'm happy with fans in the evening (until they dry my eyes to an uncomfortable level) but aircon in the bedroom. In summer, aircon on and off pretty much all the time I'm indoors. It's not an icebox but it's cool. And I find I can't really breathe in bed without cooler air. I did try for a short while. And being sweaty in bed is just horrible (unless there's a good reason :D)

In Dubai I'd lie by the pool all day in 50 degs, even in high humidity, so you could say I'm acclimatised, but would put the aircon on the minute I got home. I guess it really is personal preference for me, but I definitely understand that some people actually can't cope with heat. But I know some people like to sleep under a thick duvet up to their necks while the aircon is set to 22C. That to me is crazy, I catch a cold also if I sleep in a bedroom too chilled by aircon.

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Re: The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by caller » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:50 pm

I'm happy with a fan throughout the day pretty much all year around. Its the other half who sticks the aircon on and straight away I get too cold.

At night, I prefer aircon to cool the room, but not blasted at me, as per my other half, because that sets me off sneezing. But 26 would be too warm for me. 22/23 is ideal.

In the UK, the other half would be almost hugging the radiator, so I don't get why she wants it so cold here?
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Re: The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by Vital Spark » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:10 pm

Apart from the first 18 months here, when we lived in Bangkok, we have used very little air con in the house. Most of the houses, including our current one, were surrounded by trees and large gardens. We usually get a breeze coming through the house with all the windows open, and have a fan in the bedroom (although it has air con).

Like BB, I feel much better without air conditioning. I have sensitive sinuses and being in an air conditioned room for any length of time (especially at night) just blocks them up. My office at work has air con, and I have to go outside to breathe some fresh air and warm up.

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Re: The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by dundrillin » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:34 pm

This thread has been the wake up call I needed. I put air con on when I go to bed and wake up around 6 or 7 and put the air con off and the fan on. I really should set the timer on the air con for 3 hours and see how it goes. In Scotland I almost always sleep with the window open but would not do that here.

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Re: The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by hhfarang » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:45 pm

Yes Big Boy as you mentioned in your opening post, the heat (actually I've found it to be the humidity, more about that later) was the main factor that drove me to give up on living in Thailand. Like Dtaai-Maai I seemed to get less and less tolerant of the climate the longer I stayed there. I think I only spent a few nights in those ten years with no AC at all, mainly during extended power outages, but for the first two and a half years I only used AC in the bedroom while sleeping. During that time I was actually outside most of the time that I wasn't sleeping. Even when using AC, I was still hot as I never (in 4 different structures) found an AC unit that would drop the room temp below 25 there.

About my humidity discovery; a couple of years ago I was in Las Vegas during the summer and it was hot! I took a walk at around noon one day down the LV strip for a couple of miles round trip. The air felt like an oven but I noticed near the end of that walk that I was dry. I was never dry for a minute in 10 years in Thailand. I was always sweating somewhere and usually all over. Away from AC or a fan there my clothing would become completely soaked in minutes as if I had gone swimming fully clothed. More than once I had Thai people on the street express concern for me because I was sweating so much. Back to Vegas; I noticed an electric sign that had the time and temperature flashing on it. It was 100 degrees F which is almost 38 C. It rarely, if ever reached that temp in Hua Hin but in Vegas I was walking down the street for an hour in direct sunlight at that temperature and not sweating a drop anywhere. All along it was the humidity I couldn't handle in Thailand!
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Re: The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by handdrummer » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:56 am

hhfarang, ditto here, it's the humidity. I lived in Florida for 19 yrs. and never got used to it there either but the desert in New Mexico and Arizona was fine. What I really miss are seasons. Well, the list is longer than that but I don't want to start a whine.

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Re: The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by Big Boy » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:01 am

A very good point about the humidity hhfarang. I have always sweated more during times of higher humidity, although I always found that was a daytime problem. It never really affected me after dark.

Also interesting about the temperature the aircon drops it to. In our living room, the remote has a built in thermometer. It rarely achieves the required 26C, and will often hover around the 28C mark, although this is more than adequate. It used to worry me at first, until I realised I was comfortable enough anyway.

Out of interest, were you affected by a lot of colds?
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Re: The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by Nereus » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:08 am

Big Boy wrote:Also interesting about the temperature the aircon drops it to. In our living room, the remote has a built in thermometer. It rarely achieves the required 26C, and will often hover around the 28C mark.................
And there is the reason why your electric bill gets so high. Several reasons why the unit cannot pull the temperature down to the set point, but the main reason is, it is simply undersized for the area, and so runs continuously.

Ask 6 different air con service people how big a unit should be and you will get 6 different answers. That is another reason why inverter types are so much more efficient, as they can be oversized but just run enough to maintain the set point.

In high humidity the sweat on your body cannot evaporate off, so natures built in cooling system cannot function as designed. That is also the reason why evaporative water based air cons do not work here.
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Re: The Pros & Cons of Using Aircon

Post by Big Boy » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:07 pm

Yes, I have wondered about that, but it has never been used that much in the living room, so I've not considered changing. I think the last time it was switched on was 2 months ago.
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