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Heating & Cooling the Evergreen way: Because Bill O’Reilly’s not the only person who knows about being full of hot air

November 11, 2010

by Ashley Akin

This year has been a year of extremes, Smallest Users, and I don’t just mean the extreme ridiculousness of my breaking two feet in one year. (Yup – click on over here and read that story if you want to feel better about your crappy life.) Our resident MLGW experts tell me that this was the warmest year since the 1850’s. On top of that, Mother Nature – that finicky little trick – went ahead and threw us a pretty bone-chilling winter as well.

That resulted in more than a few totally cray-cray utility bills. You know how it goes – you brave the sweltering 105 degree heat to go to the mailbox, you calmly open your bill and then you scream like a little girl… well, a little girl with a dirty mouth because cussing is definitely involved, at least at my house. And then you implement some sort of insane plan under which no one is allowed to set the thermostat below 78 degrees, you only let the dog out once a day because you don’t want to let cool air escape, and bathing suits become the house uniform. And that is an ugly, sticky hot mess. Especially if your Dad owns a Speedo.

Anywho, I bring up this unfortunate trend because enterprising Evergreener Jessie Marshall came up with a truly inspired solution: if you have a house with a central stair (as many midtown houses do), you can turn on only the upstairs air conditioning and it will cool the whole house. I know – pretty unbelievable. It’s like magic or voodoo or some other imaginary thing like science.

Really, though, this does make sense: since cold air falls, you’re essentially benefiting from gravity by using your cold air to cool two floors instead of one. And speaking of gravity, I made a pretty serious pact with myself that I would mention The Best Song In The World from The Best Musical In The World whenever the word “gravity” comes up, so if you haven’t heard the song “Defying Gravity” from the magical musical experience Wicked, click on over. No really. Listening to one song from one musical doesn’t automatically make you a pansy, despite what all those football players told you in high school.

Musical-theater rant aside, my extremely underdeveloped scientific ability leads me to believe this system might also work in the winter with heating. If my 5th grade science teacher is to be believed (and I’m not entirely sure she should be – that woman had a scary wart and a seriously heinous attitude), heat rises, so using the heat only on the ground floor should allow it to rise and heat the second floor. Put that in your pipe, nerds.

Now go give that a try and report back, Smallest Users. I would hate to learn that my in-depth scientific study on heat rising (i.e. a whole minute of Google-verification) was flawed. I don’t want this blog to turn into my own A Million Little Pieces scandal. Because I honestly think disappointing Oprah should be a capital offense. She’s FLIPPIN’ Oprah, dude. And you’re still not.

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