Tip #6 Air conditioning (instead of swamp coolers)
I found some great images from Google images this morning. The first photo is a swamp cooler, that's what I grew up with. You remember those-you have a water line from the hose on the back of the house, it goes up to the swamp cooler and the cooler pads act as 'filters' and send cool, moist air into the house.
Great, right?! Well, as long as you keep the filter pads changed and the unit doesn't leak and cause water damage to your roof. How often do you go up on your roof during a hot summer day to change the pads? Often times people don't bother, so you are blowing air through slimy filter covers into your house. Take a deep breath! Aaahhhh.
So when we bought our first house (years ago) Father In Law talked us into installing central air. "That's how much????!!!!" They're more expensive than swamp coolers, so I was very doubtful. Then I learned the differences between swamp coolers and air conditioning.
First, when you have a swamp cooler, you need to keep the windows open a bit. This can be a bad thing to do if pollen levels are really high (hello sneezing and wheezing time!) or if it's a bad air quality day. Where we live, our home is in the bottom of a 'bowl', so the dirty colder air gets trapped where we live in the valley, the warmer clean air is up above us at the ski resorts. We have a unique set of mountains here that are beautiful, but being surrounded by them at the bottom of the bowl means we get dirty air some days. It's usually worse in the winter, but the air quality can get a bit gunky in the summer as well.
And that leads me to forest fires. That is another time when you want the windows to your house closed up tight, not open a little so the swamp cooler can work. Can you imagine sucking smoke from a fire into a house filled with people with asthma?! We don't get a lot of fires here, but when we do, they can be deadly. That's what caused Son #2 to end up in the hospital one 4th of July weekend years ago. Very scary. We didn't realize until later how close he came to death while he was in the hospital. But that's another story......
After I got over the initial shock of how expensive air conditioning is, I started to enjoy it. And I felt even better when Asthma Doctor was asking questions about our home the first time we met him. One of the things he said was no swamp coolers for kids with asthma. Central air is much better for them. Ha! We made the right choice, even if I was still grumbling about the cost.
I'm not that good at explaining all the technical stuff of swamp coolers versus air conditioning, but if Asthma Doc tells me to use it, I will. I have also read articles in allergy and asthma magazines that have recommended using air conditioning. It's the first call I made when we bought our 2nd house since I learned the benefits for us. Hubby and I and all 3 kids have allergies (that's all 5 of us), the kids and I all have asthma (that's 4 of us).
I'll do any little thing I can to make our lives easier, and to have less episodes of sneezing, coughing and wheezing.
So, think about it, and do a little research on your own. And check into air conditioning if you don't already have it. It would be better to get it now, rather than waiting until the middle of July-it would probably be less expensive now too since it's off season.
Anyway, just another tip from what I've learned along the way of My Life As an Asthma Mom. I'll do anything to make our lives a little easier and our home a little safer. Stay tuned for more tips on keeping your house a little more allergy and asthma friendly.