Decorating & Design

July 19, 2012

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

I live in an apartment on the second floor of an old Victorian house with knob and tube wiring and, that’s right, no air conditioning. Earlier this week, temperatures soared to 36°C. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but that’s really, really hot. As a result, my usual defenses — lowering the blinds to keep the sun out, cracking the windows for a cross breeze — were not up to the task. I arrived home to a soupy abode that only started to cool down a full three hours after the sun set.

The humble fan is my only true weapon to beat the heat, and recently one of mine died rather dramatically when its motor issued a sudden pop of light followed by a puff of smoke. It had given me close to 10 good years — not bad for an ancient technology. I’ve always been partial to vintage-inspired stainless steel fans, but I decided to replace it with Dyson’s bladeless Air Multiplier. I love its sleek look and it promised a quiet, powerful whirl that sounded (literally) perfect for my bedroom.

I brought it home, plugged it in and marveled at its ultra cool appearance and smart design. In seconds, I put it together and was impressed with its smooth movement and easy to use knobs. But the breeze it produced? Meh. I also found it surprisingly loud. Not in the soft white noise way of traditional fans, but in a mechanical way that reminded me of the fan in my computer when it kicks into high gear.

In the end, I kept my old stainless steel fan (the one that’s still alive) in my bedroom. On a sultry summer night, a good fan determines whether you sleep soundly or wake up a hot mess (putting your pillowcase in a plastic bag and placing it in the freezer for a few hours before you go to bed helps, too). So the Dyson is in my living room, which faces north and stays cooler longer. It’s the perfect place for it: although utilitarian, it’s a statement piece that commands ooohs and aaahs from anyone who walks into the room. And when friends visit with little ones in tow, I don’t worry about curious fingers trying to poke through a grate.

In the end, I still favour my vintage fans. But if anyone tries to swap my Dyson vacuum for a mid-century model, they better be prepared for the fight of their life.

How about you? Which fans are you keeping cool with?

For Sarah Hartill’s favourite fan, read her blog post.

Photo credits:
1-2. Kimberley Brown