life in a tiny apartment.

May 30, 2012

fan Tip #15: Buy a fan.* Make it one you like. Clean it often.

three tips for the price of one.

beyond the difficult-to-reach window in our bathroom, we have just one small window in our apartment. just the one. as mentioned before, our window overlooks our neighbors’ expansive back patios. a new neighborly duo moved in last month. they’ve installed bamboo fencing and a grill and seem to have invited all of their friends and family for weekend shindigs. we gaze at them moony-eyed from our tiny window, but to no avail. i suppose we’ll need to toss them a tin can telephone line to give  the message that we’re coming over for dinner.

all of that is to say that i relish our window. our solitary window is our only link to the verdant back yard of our neighbors and i am loathe to seal it off and block a full quarter of it with a window air conditioner. call me crazy, but i rather enjoy listening to birdsong, and when there is one, there’s nothing more delicious than a breeze.

the one caveat with this system: prop a fan in front of a new york city apartment and before you know it, it has attracted just about every greasy, black, inexplicable bit of grit and grime the city has to offer. make sure you can pry your fan apart and give it a good scrub.

quickie poll: air conditioner or fan? i’ll be writing more on the subject over here, soon.

*this is ours. we’ve had it for five years. still going strong.

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  • Reply Rebecca D. Martin May 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Ah, fans v. AC.

    We live in the South in a 1946 house built pre-AC. There have been years we went ahead and put units in the windows late spring, but this year, we've developed a good system for opening certain windows and closing certain blinds at the right time of day to keep the house cool enough that we don't have to use the AC yet. It's glorious. Right now, I can hear birds and morning crickets. One thing that's been key is heavy curtains across a large window that gets mid-day light. I'm not a big curtains person, but keeping them closed makes a huge difference.

    I love your fan!

    • Reply Erin May 30, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      yes, curtains! also, you should know that your mention of a 1946 southern abode has gotten me dreaming of calico and crepe myrtle and afternoons so hot you can barely bat your eyelashes. in other words: my favorite kinds of afternoons.

    • Reply Rebecca D. Martin May 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      Ah, the house and the trees really are wonderful, but the hot afternoons I could do without! We're in the mountains, anyway, so it's not *true* South. For that, we'd need to go to Alabama, where I'd just melt into a puddle. I was built for New England!

  • Reply bigBANG studio May 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Ha! We've been having the exact same conversation! AND we have the same exact fan. How bout them apples. We're fortunate and have a few windows in our place and are loath to block our view with a big AC, but man, after this heat wave we're wondering if we might just spring for it. Either way, we really need to get shades for our big windows (Rebecca nailed it above) because the place just microwaves us to death on a sunny day. When we lived in the desert we'd actually seal the house up at sunrise -shut all windows, draw all curtains- and the place would stay surprisingly, incredibly cool enough that when we got home at the end of the day we didn't have to turn on the AC. Saved a lot of energy and cash!


    • Reply Erin May 30, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      there's that desert again. never was a desert girl, but i think i need i need to make a sojourn there. that's what deserts are for, no? sojourning?

  • Reply Norma May 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Big house dweller here. FANS! We do have one window air conditioner but we live in the Pacific NW and there's really only a few days a year when you really need it. Short fans on the ground, tall ones, one ceiling one and one retro table top one. Looks similar to yours except wider grill so no real protection. Don't get your fingers near that one or you'll lose a hand! Love your fan!

    • Reply Erin May 30, 2012 at 6:46 pm

      forgot to mention we have a ceiling fan that's a god-send, too. though it's started to make a very unnerving buzzing sound this week. sigh.

  • Reply Linda Zimmerman May 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    fan any day of the week….

  • Reply Shelly { @ Quiet Luxury } May 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    i like the apt survival tip posts. i HATE cleaning fan blades, but you're right. it's necessary.

    • Reply Erin May 30, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      glad you like! i know: no fun. admission: before i realized that we could actually take apart this fan, i had at it with about 25 q-tips. not a recommended strategy.

  • Reply sweet harvest moon May 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    What a beautiful fan (yes, there are very ugly ones)!

    • Reply Erin May 30, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      handsome, right?

  • Reply tinajo May 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    I don´t need a fan at all but I´d want one just because they are pretty! 🙂

  • Reply Melissa May 31, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Fan over A/C any day. I feel like we wait all winter here in NYC to finally get outside and enjoy any bit of nature we can. It seems like a shame to just seal our apartments up again when it gets a teeny bit sweaty. Of course I am from the South so I may be conditioned to enjoy hot weather! 🙂

    • Reply Erin May 31, 2012 at 12:55 am

      spot on. i want every ounce of it i can handle (i'm no southerner, but i have survived four southern summers, so i think that must count for something).

  • Reply Mae of Longfellow May 31, 2012 at 1:44 am

    After being cooped up all winter – fan – DEFINITELY! 🙂

  • Reply Elizabeth May 31, 2012 at 2:08 am

    We live in a brick and plaster turn of the century apartment – there's no way for us to put an AC in so…fan and strategically opened windows it is!

  • Reply Tara May 31, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Fan. We only recently moved into a house with A/C and we are having a hard time adjusting – I'm happier without it.

  • Reply Kayla Poole June 1, 2012 at 3:04 am

    I'm in the minority here, but AC all the way once the humidity index spikes and temps climb above 85. I'm a miserable person in the heat.

  • Reply Mandy00 July 12, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Your Fan is Lovely! But how have you Faired with this Heatwave we have had here on the East Coast Latley? Just curious…But still The fan is a classic. 🙂

  • Reply LYnda July 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Fan vs. A/C
    Well, I would say a fan is hands down the healthiest way to go if you would like to breathe fresh air and not deal with a sore throat at night from the a/c which can happen occassionaly. When it is 100 degrees outside though and you're inside it feels like you're baking yourself. Even with a fan it doesn't help the stagnant air. My boyfriend has been feeling very weak from dealing with IBD and believe me A/C is the best way to go when you're ill. The heat just made him weaker and more sick. So, like anything it depends on the situation.

  • Reply Jenn July 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Tip from my southern Mom back in our pre-ac days: point a fan OUT of the window–it draws hot, stagnant air out and helps circulate air inside.

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  • Reply Anonymous January 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Living in South Florida…….AC & Fans are a must!! With the exception of the occasional cold front, you need both to survive here in the tropics!

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