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AirCon- do we really need it?

(50 Posts)
MawBroonsback Wed 15-May-19 07:27:13

Do you use it as a matter of course/regularly/occasionally in your car?
Somebody on another thread has said how “horrendous” the school run journeys are this week as her AirCon in her car is not working, and this got me thinking.
Yes, it is invaluable for long drives through France going on family summer holidays. Jolly welcome too last summer when we had wall to wall heatwave.
But a) is it environmentally friendly, (given that I certainly have noticed increased petrol consumption when it is on?)
And b) in our “normal” U.K. climate - do we need it and can we justify it?
My last little car but one - a Polo- didn’t have it, so I did that other thing of opening the windows front and back. Not ideal, but I coped and frankly about 80% of the time that was enough.
(Added to which, I personally find my sinuses start playing up and my eyes feel dry when the A/C is on for any length of time).
So if we are looking at fuel economy and effects on the environment, should we not also reconsider whether we are becoming accustomed to something which may be hard to justify?

kittylester Wed 15-May-19 07:42:44

I heard an expert on the radio say that more fuel is consumed by opening the windows than switching on the aircon.

I wonder whether aircon uses more than the heater which we gladly use?confused

M0nica Wed 15-May-19 07:43:47

A car can be a bit like a conservatory without blinds. Even if it is quite cool outside, if the sun is shining, the interior of the car can get very overheated. In this past week when there has been sunlight and a cold wind, we have at least once opened the car door and been greeted by a gust of hot air.

We certainly do not have the aircon on all the time. It is usually put on for a short period to bring the interior temperature down and then turned off.

Does anyone automatically turn the aircon on when they get into the car and keep it on for the whole duration of the journey?

Aircon is just the opposite of heating the car in cold weather or having some means of listening to music or text in the car. Not entirely necessary but can make a journey much more enjoyable, and probably safer because we are driving in comfortable conditions.

tanith Wed 15-May-19 07:47:59

I do use mine if it’s hot and I’m in a lot of traffic which is often as I live in London the fumes can be awful. Windows open instead if I’m on an open road without much traffic.

kittylester Wed 15-May-19 07:48:02

Some cars have climate control which keeps the car at set levels regardless.

gillybob Wed 15-May-19 07:51:43

That “someone” is me Mawbroonsback .
.....and yes the PM school runs yesterday and on Monday were horrendous .

Firstly I have a long drive with a baby strapped in a car seat . She is suffering with a horrible hot rash due to an adverse reaction to the MMR jabs.

Secondly I couldn’t open the back windows as she was sitting in the back, facing backwards so could really only let air in through opening the front driver side half way.

I then travel to another town to pick up 2 from primary, then yet another town for the last pick up from secondary and then back to mine in yet another part of the town. The trip all in all is around one hour and 40 minutes.

I don’t know when on earth I will manage to get the car in to the garage as I am fully booked all week with work, school runs, baby care, my dad etc.

Whitewavemark2 Wed 15-May-19 07:53:22

Not terribly keen, but last year driving from the Lakes to the South in 35c and in interminable traffic jams it was a godsend.

MawBroonsback Wed 15-May-19 07:54:04

Take your point Gillybob - exceptional circumstances.

MawBroonsback Wed 15-May-19 07:59:15

But like heating in shops or AirCon in other public places which have us reaching for our cardis are we placing our comfort above environmental considerations? And are we not becoming accustomed to an enhanced and possibly unnecessary level of comfort?
(Not that the two examples I have given involve “comfort”! )

TerriBull Wed 15-May-19 08:02:05

We have it on in the car, I'm not a great fan, although in some very hot countries I have found it a godsend, since the menopause I feel unnaturally hot quite often these days.

My first experience of it was many years ago in Singapore, sweltering humidity outside and unnaturally cold inside taxis and buildings, I don't know which was worse hmm

aggie Wed 15-May-19 08:03:44

when I am sitting in the passenger seat , bowling along at the speed limit , with the sweat running down my back and DD1 turns on the air con I breathe a sigh of relief . Opening the windows is ok , but what about the pollution that comes charging in too ? Petrol fumes Diesel , not to mention fresh country smells .......... silage scent is not conducive !! and then there is Muck spreading .............. better stay at home wink

Mamissimo Wed 15-May-19 08:16:14

One of my cars is a convertible......the ultimate in aircon!

12Michael Wed 15-May-19 08:25:22

I had personal experiences with air conditioning , and overhead fans.
I was working in the Sultanate of Oman, in the late 70`s , and accommodation plus work place had a mixture of both.
Where I worked was actually in the desert considering temperatures it seemed cool.
On the coast some 50 miles or so away , it was tropical ,and the climate change was higher heat wise plus you had a warming monsoon season.
In the UK , most places are airy as to where we live , but think in some of the more built up areas such as the inner city's, the need for it is greater say for example 25C in the countryside is between 30C and higher say in London.
Mick

M0nica Wed 15-May-19 08:28:27

aggie ....and the noise. I once made a long motorway journey in a heatwave in a car without aircon. I tried opening windows, but the noise was unbearable, plus at speed, surrounded by cars also travelling at 70 the buffetting from the wind, whether I had front or back windows open, was also unpleasant.

I think comfort is essential in a car as a contribution towards safety. If you are baking hot, sticky and sweaty, then you cannot concentrate on your driving and are more likely to lose concentration.

If you argue against aircon, surely you should argue against heating cars and, as I said, do people really have aircon on all the time?

MawBroonsback Wed 15-May-19 08:34:47

That, I.e. frequency of use was one of my questions M0nica
And yes, car heaters -apart from de- icing windscreens and really cold weather not a daily occurrence south of the Trent, and given that we are in outdoor clothes-are we also overheating the interior of our cars?

aggie Wed 15-May-19 08:42:18

Maw one of my Uncles thought that car heaters were optional . He lived North of Glasgow and was a travelling salesman , his driving gear was a fur lined coat and driving goggles , he took them off when getting out of the car to reveal a dapper navy suit , and of course , a bowler hat ( to be doffed to any passing female) .We wore scarfs and gloves when he gave us a lift , and if we hadn't a bluish tinge he thought we were too hot and opened the windows

ninathenana Wed 15-May-19 08:46:22

My automatic reaction is to open the window, I "forget" my A/C is there. The only time I use it is on a motorway as it's too noisy to have the window open.
If I lived in a very built up area then I would use it more but I like the sea breeze on my face.

Luckygirl Wed 15-May-19 09:03:56

I use the air con as it helps to make sure that I am awake and alert in very hot weather. I direct it towards my face.

Bellasnana Wed 15-May-19 09:06:01

When I first came to live in Malta, almost 40 years ago, there was no air-conditioning anywhere so we all sweltered in the heat and humidity.

Our first two DDs used to be wet with sweat after a car journey, even with windows open. We were so excited when we bought our first car with a/c and it certainly made a huge difference when DD3 and DS were babies.

Having said that, now I’m on my own, I don’t much like the a/c. As Maw says, it affects my sinuses, so I only use it in the car when desperate!

In the house, I rarely use it, but my daughter in the US has the house so cold I call it the ‘meat locker’, ditto the shops and restaurants over there where you really need a cardi.🥶

Framilode Wed 15-May-19 09:13:00

In Spain we had it in the bedrooms only. In the height of summer it was impossible to sleep without air con. Here, unless we get radical climate change I don't think it is necessary in the house. However, in the car especially if you are travelling with pets or children, it is a must for me.

J52 Wed 15-May-19 09:13:11

I used to drive 2CVs - what air con? What heating? grin

FlexibleFriend Wed 15-May-19 09:26:56

I personally couldn't live without A/C I even use it on cool days. Without it I'd be a puddle of sweat on the seat, been like it for over 10 years now and no sign of it easing up anytime soon.

Nannylovesshopping Wed 15-May-19 09:50:54

Don’t use mine, but only do relatively short journeys, I
open the windows, the spaniel likes to put her head out😂

Cherrytree59 Wed 15-May-19 09:57:05

Yes
a) are cars environmentally friendly?
b) yes if its there why not use it?

I can't imagine any manufacturer would remove aircon from vehicles that were going to used in countries with climates such as Britain.

On my wish list would be to out-law 'Over' dazzling headlights

Gilly I quite understand the issuse of transporting little children when the weather is hot.
We have a child in family who has sensory issues the fast blowing air from an open car is a problem.
(We also have to use air con directed from the floor not dash board) .
Child also petrified by flying insects including butterflies.
So a wasp flying through the open car window at the traffic lights for instance would be a nightmare.

I hope little Evie is better soon.thanks

Izabella Wed 15-May-19 09:58:02

Oh yes in winter and summer. Invaluable for the hot flash brigade