Should I Splurge on an Air Conditioner?

The past two summers in my Silicon Valley studio sans air conditioning have been painful. I can’t sleep when it’s hot in my room, and boy did it get hot in my room. But, being frugal as I am, I sucked it up and dealt with the heat, only to be consoled by two fans that just blew more hot air in my face.

Every summer I put off buying an air conditioner until it’s too late — all the stores have sold out of the ones that I’d want.

Reasons I Should Buy An Air Conditioner

– It gets so hot in my apartment that I have trouble sleeping in the spring/summertime.
– In my current apartment, my electricity bill is included in my rent, and I don’t think there is any rule against using an air conditioner (though they can bill you for “excess electricity usage” whatever that means).
– I work from home 2-3 days a week, and it’s difficult to focus when it’s so hot.
– Every summer by the time August rolls around I am desperate for an air
conditioner, but all the good ones are sold out.

Reasons I Shouldn’t Buy An Air Conditioner

– Air conditioners are expensive
– In my current apartment I’d have to get a portable air conditioner since I don’t have the right kind of windows for a window air conditioner, and those are even more expensive
– Next year I might move out of this apartment, and likely the next place I get will not be “utilities included” so my electricity bill will go up greatly in the summer, if I move.
– So many people live without air conditioners, even in hotter climates. Do I really need an air conditioner?
– I have no idea what air conditioner I should get, as there are many options and they all seem to be imperfect. The window air conditioners would be nice as they’re cheaper, but my windows won’t hold them. The portable air conditioners are gigantic and ugly, AND expensive. Like $500 for the cheaper ones.

So… tell me my readers, should I buy an air conditioner for this summer?

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11 thoughts on “Should I Splurge on an Air Conditioner?”

  1. How much are they? can you afford it and still meet your other needs/savings goals?I don't have one in my new apt, but I'm not yet sure how hot it gets in the summer. I'm hoping that if I open the window at night I'll get enough cool air….In my old apartment, it was a necessity and I kept it cold. Iowa gets dang hot in the summers and it sometimes didn't even cool down at night.

  2. Living in Texas, I can't even imagine life without an air conditioner. I've lived with the AC set on 80 before, and that was miserable. To not have one at all? I shudder to think.

  3. Yes. That's the simple answer. Sure, people live without air conditioning – they also live without running water. An air conditioner is a luxury, but it is an important one. If you don't sleep well, you will be less productive throughout the day. This will cost you alot more in the long run. You don't have to run it all the time and if you move to a place with air conditioning, you can sell the unit to recoup some of the costs. As someone who suffered through a horridly hot summer without a/c, I say you can't afford to not get one.

  4. I don't have AC in my new place. It will be my first summer since I moved to CA without it. But I think I used my AC very little this past summer. It cools off at night here in Silicon Valley pretty well most nights. So barring another terrible heat wave like 2006, you'll probably be ok.

  5. I agree with the comments above. Can you afford it? I wouldn't be able to live in my apartment in the summer without an air conditoner…but I turn it off whenever I leave and I leave it pretty high so save money when I'm alone.

  6. Buy it. I moved from San Jose (where I always had central a/c) to Seattle (where no houses have a/c) and the summers were absolutely miserable for me. It doesn't get as hot, but 85 and muggy with no air flow doesn't get you a good nights sleep. I caved and bought a unit on ebay last summer and it saved my sanity. Try ebay, you might find something cheaper and it's best to look now before the demand starts. You can always sell it on craigslist next year for basically what you paid for it if you end up not wanting/needing it anymore. …Just my 2 cents.

  7. I agree – I wouldnt' be able to live without an AC here in California. Muggy, humid weather = less productive during the day + trouble sleeping at night (which in turn makes you even more tired/cranky the next day!)Just make sure you do your research, and try and get the best possible deal. Since it's not summer yet, you might evne get a good deal now. As opposed to waiting till the end of the summer.

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