Air conditioning in coastal San Diego?

I’ve lived in a few places in San Diego over the last 20 years; 4 relatively close to the coast and 3 further inland. In that time, I had air conditioning in the places inland, but rarely used it. In fact, when we lived 20 minutes more inland than we do now, I don’t recall turning on our A/C for the first few years we lived there; we used ceiling fans and just dealt with the warmer days. So when we bought our house and remodeled it, adding A/C didn’t even cross my mind. We’re pretty close to the coast, and I figured we’d get a coastal breeze. Within the first year of living here, I knew that this was a bad decision. It turns out that last year was the hottest year on record in San Diego with 12 days over 90 degrees at the airport whereas there are normally 1-2 days over 90 degrees. I thought maybe I had become a wimp and couldn’t take the heat (well, that still may be true), but the facts confirmed that I wasn’t completely crazy.

So, at the beginning of this year, I had air conditioning installed. It was pretty painless as we already had duct work, a thermostat and a place to put a compressor. Since the installation, we’ve turned it on 3 times. Twice last week because the humidity was so high and one of the days, it rained which required us to close our windows (it was well over 80 degrees outside so closing up the house rapidly increased the house temperature). I really hate to use air conditioning as it is a dry air and it isn’t cheap, but with outside temperatures increasing, this was a wise decision. We still use ceiling fans as much as possible, but knowing that we have this backup just makes our house even more comfortable.

One Reply to “Air conditioning in coastal San Diego?”

  1. Good move. AC is useful not only for temperature control, but for humidity control.

    Where we live in NW Connecticut, humidity is the real culprit and we have a dehumidifier running all summer in our basement. I take a gallon of water out of it twice a day. We have two window AC units and only turn them on maybe 10 times in the summer. I take them out in the winter to keep the house better sealed.

    When you add humidity to heat it becomes a real problem. And, given that I do fine art printing I have a lot of expensive paper in my office and when that gets damp it curls and is ruined. So, I can’t let things get too out of hand.

    In our case the environmental “hit” is offset a bit by the fact that we heat with wood. We have an oil furnace and boiler that runs baseboard heat and an extra zone for domestic hot water but we keep the thermostats set at 60F and use wood to keep the temp over that. The oil rarely kicks in, only when we get home late after being gone all day or on the very coldest nights. So, we use about 500 gallons of oil a year which isn’t much for the northeast.

    So, we suck a bit of electricity for the AC and dehumidifier and don’t feel too bad about it.

    Rationalization is a great thing!

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