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Global Skywatch

heat wave

As the heat wave landed on us with both feet, I took a trip back to Idaho to really savor it! Actually, this shooting vacation was planned long before the heat wave arrived. Returning home with the uncomfortable weather still dominating the entire region highlights for me the differences in that aspect between my old home and the new… and, of course, further affirms the wisdom of making the change.

In Idaho, heat pumps and air conditioners are requisite. It is highly unusual to find any building without. Popping out of our air-conditioned motel room at sunrise finds the temperature outside to be a warm-feeling 70-plus.

In Montana, air conditioners are in large commercial buildings. Most homes are well insulated against heat and cold, but electricity-consuming air conditioners are not the norm. Instead, indoor/outdoor thermometers as a single or multiple units are the ‘hot setup’. Near bedtime, the outdoor temperature falls below the indoor. Open ‘er up.

Montana home windows are opened with the cool outside air allowed or encouraged to bring the interior back down to 70 or so. Before leaving home, or if there is a home-body by about 10:00 the outside matches the inside temp and the windows shut down to retain the cool.

From experience, I know that the Nevada, Arizona and Utah norms are like Idaho, while northern California is more like Montana.

One side effect of having the indoor temperature controlled by a switch on the wall is a prevalence of actual COLD buildings in the midst of HOT outside temperatures. Many folks insulated from the real world by unobtrusive appliances powered from unseen sources tend to set the dial at a number that is downright shocking to someone walking in from the hot sidewalk. The reverse trip through the doorway feels like walking into a blast furnace.

I’m sure you can tell which model I prefer. I’m just saying “Yippee” one more time.