ratcreature: RatCreature is confused: huh? (huh?)
RatCreature ([personal profile] ratcreature) wrote2018-04-23 10:05 am
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a cultural question...

I've noticed several times references in fiction about people airing out their house once it got warmer that made it sound as if Americans don't open their windows in winter to let fresh air in. Like as if they don't air their house if it's freezing outside.

Is that true? Is it a central air conditioning thing where you don't really need windows to get fresh air, and shouldn't disrupt climate control or something like that? Because otherwise I can't imagine not to open my windows at least twice a day for a little while. Admittedly it's rarely extremely cold here, but this winter we had days when the daytime high was below -10°C and I still aired out my place briefly.

Here you are even required to do so in rental agreements because otherwise you get problems with moisture buildup and such.
madripoor_rose: milkweed beetle on a leaf (Default)

[personal profile] madripoor_rose 2018-04-23 10:15 am (UTC)(link)
Yeah, you don't open up in the winter because you've got the furnace running and it would be letting the heat out. And winter air is so dry (maybe because of the heating?) that moisture buildup isn't a problem, in fact we run a humidifier to add moisture to the indoor air in winter, and stop that in late spring.

Of course, we do get low temperatures around -28 °C.
madripoor_rose: milkweed beetle on a leaf (Default)

[personal profile] madripoor_rose 2018-04-23 11:40 am (UTC)(link)
The air does get stuffy, but I guess we're just used to it? And that's why the Spring Airing Out is such a thing, something to look forward to.

Thinking about it, our house does get aired out a bit when it isn't absolutely freezing, just because when we do the shopping we leave the door propped open while bringing bags into the house, but don't consider it an official 'airing out'.
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

[personal profile] sholio 2018-04-23 07:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Rarely. My dorm actually had a rule where we weren't allowed to open our windows when it was below freezing because it supposedly raised heating costs (which really sucked for people on the top floors, because those floors were stuffy and hot while the ground floor was barely comfortable).

I occasionally open mine in winter but usually just for things like letting out smoke if I accidentally let something burn in the kitchen, or cooling down the room if it gets too hot, and not very often otherwise; I guess, like madripoor-rose said, I think of it as something that would be inefficient because of letting heat out. It's so interesting to me that it's such a common thing there!
sheron: (Default)

[personal profile] sheron 2018-04-29 05:19 am (UTC)(link)
Wow, so don't ask me how I tripped over this post, but hi! Random sholio encounter!

(i think it was via some post-IW browser trip, [personal profile] ratcreature, sorry to barge in)

But... this is SO deeply weird to me. I mean, I know it's true, because I'm constantly having to figure out if hotels I'm staying at will let me open windows or not, because sometimes they don't and I cannot breathe. But just... I always have my window open, 365 days a year. It's an apartment though. I guess if it gets to -20C (-4F) or lower I might consider shutting the bedroom window at night and getting my air through the open door/living room window, but those days are rare.

So. Just a random culture clash moment. I can't deal with air-less rooms. Now you know!
gwyn: (abed spaceman grosserpepper)

[personal profile] gwyn 2018-04-23 09:34 pm (UTC)(link)
No, never. I have a forced-air furnace that would kick on if I let cold air in, and I don't want it to run anymore than I have to have it, because like madripoor rose, I have to add moisture to the air (that's the big issue with forced air). Maybe it's different for people with radiant heat of some sort, but I really don't know people who do that. We'd think it's as weird in reverse as you think it's weird we don't. :-D

Though I do know people who open windows when they sleep, since they like it cold. I don't even leave windows open when I sleep in summer, despite stifling heat, because I live alone on a single floor house and anyone could just break in. I'm not comfortable with that.
peoriapeoriawhereart: Blair freaking and Jim hands on his knees (Jim calms Blair)

[personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart 2018-06-13 08:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Forced air is very common here, and is the rule for more modest old homes while the quality older homes have/had boilers and thus radiators. Newer homes may have one or another electric systems.

As a Midwesterner, airing out the house happens for the final time prior to heating season and then only again after heating season has ended. There is some exchange, because of older houses not being air-tight. (That would have been lethal back in the coal burning days.) Mind you, there is some weirdness regarding some people opening the windows regardless of time of year.

In case you didn't know, many American homes have bathroom fans (you do lose some heat unless there is an exchanger, but don't get too much cold air in) and or range hoods in the kitchen.
domarzione: (Default)

[personal profile] domarzione 2018-04-23 10:29 pm (UTC)(link)
I have a Dalek-sized humidifier for my apartment because it gets so dry in the winters, but I keep the windows closed save for a crack in certain rooms because I don't control my heat -- the building does. And my building does not blast the heat like most NYC buildings do, so if I open the windows, it's gonna get really cold and I have no way to deal with that save by putting on more clothes.

So, yes, getting to open the windows is a definite sign that Spring Is Here.
katarik: DC Comics: Major Slade Wilson and Captain Adeline Kane, text but I can make you better (Default)

[personal profile] katarik 2018-04-23 11:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Like everyone else American who's commented, I keep the windows closed if I've turned the heat on. I live in a very moist area of the country, but there's definitely nothing in the rental agreements about airing out an apartment during winter. I do find it gets stuffy, so any day it's warm enough that I don't *have* to have the heat on, I open the window for a bit, but ultimately I would rather be stuffy than cold, and really cold days are almost always dry anyway.

(I also grew up in a part of the country that only dropped below freezing at night, and that only for maaaaaybe a month. I don't handle cold well.)
mirabile: made just for me (Default)

[personal profile] mirabile 2018-04-24 04:55 am (UTC)(link)
Here's the reverse: I'm now living in the Southwest where it gets really, really, REALLY hot, and we don't open the doors or windows in the summer, at all, so we go months without opening the house. Then, in the (very short) autumn, we fling open the doors and windows and let the house air out. It's a wonderful moment. The winters do get cold here, but nothing like the rest of the country, so we can keep the house open during the day.

As an illustration, my husband checked the temperature and realized that (at 10 at night) it's still warmer out than in, so the house is still shut up. If he wakes up in the night and the outside temperature has dropped a bit, he'll open the doors and windows, but in another couple of weeks, the temp won't drop enough and we'll be locked up all summer.

lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)

[personal profile] lilacsigil 2018-04-24 05:29 am (UTC)(link)
I'm in a part of Australia where it will be very hot for several days (up to two weeks) in a row then have a sudden cool change. It's such a relief to open the house up after those hot days and nights! Where my grandparents lived, though, they were locked up all summer like you, and I don't think I could deal with that.
mirabile: made just for me (Default)

[personal profile] mirabile 2018-04-25 10:19 pm (UTC)(link)
It is hard to be locked up for months like that, I agree. We might get another cool spell but mid-May, it's hot all the time here in the southwestern part of the US. I envy you the sudden cool change!
lovelokest: Gray Critical Role logo (Default)

[personal profile] lovelokest 2018-04-25 02:39 am (UTC)(link)
Don't open the windows in the dead of winter (very dry and well below freezing), but the moment spring weather hits the windows open.
peoriapeoriawhereart: cartoon men (Egon and Peter)

[personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart 2018-06-13 08:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Warm air holds moisture, cold air sheds it. As cold as it gets in winter, then using natural gas to heat, hanging my laundry in the basement is a viable means of adding humidity. And it does get the clothes dry. So, that's how dry it is in a Midwestern home during winter. Loads of laundry air dry in the basement.

I find it very weird to see windows getting opened during the heat of the day (because I'm used to a system of summer night venting and then conserving that cool the whole of the next day.)
mific: (Possum close-up)

[personal profile] mific 2018-04-25 05:09 am (UTC)(link)
Heh. I live in humid semi-tropical Auckland, in a decaying old wooden house in the bush. Almost none of the windows open any more but I often leave doors open for airing, and anyway there are draft cracks all over the place and the cat door is a hole cut in the front door, so it’s pretty aired out!
My main cultural dislocation with city or harsh climate dwellers is cats who live all their lives inside and can’t come and go freely. Possum wouldn’t like missing his bush adventures at all.