Sunday, June 21, 2009

Home Improvement: Adding Air Conditioning

The upstairs guest room is officially air conditioned.

I hadn't thought about adding a/c to the house until one day I decided to spend the afternoon up in the guest room, writing. It was the hottest day of the year at 45°C (113°F). The windows and door were open and three fans blared. I tried writing in the hammock, at the table, in a chair, and the bottom line was a fiery fucking furnace in there! The fans simply whiffled my papers around the room while the fans blasted hot air in my face . It was a Thursday afternoon so my 'heat-relief', the swimming pool, was occupied by a class of splashing little boys.
All of a sudden the sky turned black and a mini-cyclone seemed to form in the patio. Winds whipped up the mats, swirled leaves into tornados, people ran to hide under the roof, and then the rains came. It poured and lightning flashed and thunder roared. It was May 28th and the first measurable amount of rain this year. It had been an extremely dry to date, so the rain was welcome relief. The rain didn't cool us off that day, instead the air was heavy and wet after the storm.
Today is June 21st, and we've had three weeks of rainy season pattern weather so far. The rains usually start in July. April through June are typically hot and dry. This year it was rather cool in the mornings and evenings until the rains came. Now it is hot and humid all day and all night. It still cools down enough in the hours before dawn to cover up with a sheet. But when that sun comes up, it gets hot. So much for the weather report.
The guest room is expecting an occupant. Via the coconut wireless a fellow writer looking for a place to retreat found out about the room upstairs, which I'd said I'd like to rent. (The kitties voted to adopt another human too: two more hands to feed and pet them!) Our new friend was all set to jet down here and then I wrote to her about the fiery furnace. She freaked. She lives in Minnesota, and really, folks, Mérida is HOT. Some of us prefer the heat to living in an icy freezer half the we don't complain MUCH. The Yucatán is a pleasant place to live so we learn to work with the extreme weather instead of against it.
In my attempt to work with all the conditions at hand, I bit the bullet and bought an air conditioning unit. The gal who cleans the house knew an installer, and he came out yesterday to give an estimate. "Easy job," he said, "900 pesos total." ($66US) Erick arrived on a motorcycle with a folding ladder stowed on the side and a tool box bungeed to the back. He assessed the situation and began to chisel a hole in the wall.

Within a few hours he was testing the electrical mainswitch and completing the instalation. He did a nice job, worked quickly and efficiently, and we were quite satisfied. The unit operates easily with a remote control switch, and the room cooled down rapidly. We got cold!
Before and after....on the outside looking in.

While I was up on the roof I decided to get a new angle on the patio. It occurred to me I have never taken any photos from outside the gate, so to speak, and you know I am crazy about pictures! So I took some to share.

A look at the upstairs enclosed patio from beyond the solar panels on the roof.

Ok, I should have cleaned up all the fallen cement first, but as you can see, we are working on it. If you notice the air conditioning unit is directly wired to the electric box. There's room to hang a hammock out here or laundry, but there is no shade and it rains!

Looking down at the swimming pool. Inviting, isn't it?

A partial shot of the patio. Scattered about are lots of flowering plants, like jasmine, miniature roses, hibiscus, oleander, succulents, desert rose (hah! Lisa! I remembered!), all sizes and colors. They thrive in the rainy season on their own, and Pablo likes to meditate while watering the plants, so the "garden" always looks really clean and nice.

The Guatemalan papaya (fingers crossed - sweet little papaya like the Hawaiian Strawberry kine'), the basil bush (smells fantastic), and the ground cover are the highlights here. The palms could be happier, there is an unidentified vine taking root...stay tuned for melons or cucumbers.....and we are anticipating a few annual flowers too!

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