Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's hot.

When your air conditioning breaks in the summer it sucks. When your A.C. breaks in Georgia it really sucks. 

Let me tell you how my day went. My parents were visiting from New York this weekend. It was about 10pm or so. We were all sitting around chatting and generally enjoying our last evening together before they headed down to Mississippi to visit my Grandmother Bixler. 

As we're talking I hear something dripping. Thinking it was a facet that had been left on I went in search of the sound. As I walked up the stairs to the second story the sound became louder and louder. At the top of the stairs I noticed that our light fixture was leaking. What ensued next was a frantic search for buckets and towels. With that disaster under control my Father and Fianc√© braved the attic to see what was amiss. 

The air conditioning unit's condensation overflow drip pan was overflowing with water. The men folk probably removed about three gallons (at least!) of liquid which we poured down the bathtub drain. Fun times. 

No one ever warns you about certain parts of homeownership. Certainly no one ever warned us that our attic might flood in the middle of a drought. Go figure. So we're without A.C. until Thursday when the HVAC people are coming to dismantle, clean, and flush out our A.C. unit's condensation drainage system. 

The whole incident got me thinking though. How did the folks in the the first half of the 20th century keep cool down here in the south? They certainly must have had some way or you wouldn't be able to live here year round. So I did a little research and found some neat things; specially designed houses, massive attic fans, hallways and of course vintage electric fans! 

Wouldn't you rather have one of these lying around your home instead of those ugly white plastic things we all have? 

Vintage GE Table Top Fan - $9.99. Display only, not functional. 

Now finding vintage fans for under $25 takes a bit of searching. There is a very large contingent of vintage fan collectors out there that you're going to need to compete with. Still, there are a lot of vintage fans out there and you're bound to find one that fits within your budget. 

I also picked up a few things while investigating vintage fans. As with all vintage appliances check to see if the fan actually works. If the listing says something like "great condition" or "looks like new!" but does not expressly mention that the fan works properly it's a good idea to contact the seller. Most likely the fan doesn't work or rattles and shakes so much that it's virtually unusable. A good seller will give you the lowdown on your fan.

What do you do to cool off in the summer heat? Would you buy a vintage fan? Do you collect vintage fans? Let me know!


Nancy said...

I used to wonder about that, too: how did people stay cool in the old days? Besides our good old electric fans, there were things like swamp coolers.

The other thing that people did, especially before electricity, was to build their houses with the climate in mind. That's why there's "vernacular" architecture with features that factor in heat for those in the south, snow load for those in the north, etc.

But with modern conveniences like AC, we stopped building houses that could practically cool themselves....

Oh, or was this a rhetorical question? LOL!! ;-)

Ali said...

Great post! I picked up a vintage fan at a swap meet (prob for $5), its a gorgeous Kenmore, so so heavy, though I'm not quite sure what era. (50s?).

At first we only used as decoration because it sparked when we turned it on (yikes!). But when the dog days of summer hit last year, that baby was on. It's super loud, but so powerful, better than any other. We call it Old School Air Conditioning. We also joke that a kid would learn real fast not to put his finger in there (it's lethal!)

Nancy said...

Nancy: Thanks for the comment. I've got to get myself one of those swamp coolers. As for the homes, tell me about it. The house that Fiance grew up in was built in 1902 or something like that and they hardly ever need to turn the A.C. on. That house stays nice and cool on it's own! These new homes can be such a waste of electricity!

Ali: We have some old fans from the late 1960s that really cool things off quick. You're right they are not quiet, but they have got some strength! We'll probably have to put ours away when we decide to expand the family. Our fans could probably chop someone's arm off!

Sarsaparilla said...

I totally understand what it's like to not have air conditioning. Although living without AC in Minnesota is a little different than living without in Georgia!

Take a peek at my latest post when you have a chance - I had some fun cooling off via vintage ads.

Love the old fans - but you're right about chopping someone's finger off! The big gaps in the grills can be pretty scary...

disco said...

Love this post! And yes, I would buy it! Maybe cuz my grandparents had em so it's kinda nostalgic! =)