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July 30, 2021

Has the bum economy forced you to ditch your A/C?

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Living a summer in Canada without air conditioning brings two things to mind.

One, of course, is the unwelcome Dick Vitale sweat you get going after  a shower, yet the other is a kinder revelation that pops up in your bank account every 60 days or so.

Keeping the A/C off or low in the warmer months surely keeps the hydro bill down, as we all know. But, quite honestly, it’s likely the people without the option of climate control in the first place making the move to open windows and oscillating fans.

So it brings forth the question as Canada trudges through its first summer of the recession: has an economy that encourages penny-pinching forced you to ditch A/C, where you would normally use it, for the savings in hydro?

The answer appears to be a resounding “yes” in the U.S., at least, according to the New York Times. The paper says shipments of window air conditioners were down 39% in the first half of 2009 compared with the same time period a year earlier. Central A/C unit sales are down 10% apparently, too.

Blogs have even popped up detailing home owners' plights to cave on the A/C luxury for savings, complete with suggestions on how to cope with the loss.

One writer proposes a few tricks, like using high-thread sheets (they feel cooler, I guess) on your bed and keeping a pitcher of ice water near you at all times.

Of course, these tips and stats come out of the U.S., where locales like Texas and the Arizona Sun Belt boost August temps higher than Stevie Wonder’s hairline.

Our summers here are more manageable, granted, but the savings are still undeniable.

So the matter remains. Are you giving A/C, as my cheeseball roommate would say, the cold shoulder?



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...