Monday, May 16, 2011

Climate Control

For those moving to the BVI or the States, one of the difficult aspects to get used to is the lack of electronic climate control systems. The tropical latitude provides all the climate control the majority of residents need, and as a result, it is fairly uncommon to find HVAC systems anywhere on the island. With temperatures rarely dropping below 65F, even in the mountains, the heat component of the HVAC is simply not needed.

The same is not true for separate AC units, which are certainly more prevalent. High temperatures average close to 90F from mid-May to late October, and AC is definitely desirable during these warm summer months. Still, although most businesses have AC units to keep you cool during your workday, they are not as common in residences on the islands. Our apartment does not have any sort of electronic climate control, and a quick survey of apartments listed for rent indicates that only about 30% of available apartments have AC systems. Usually, if a residence does have AC, it is a small unit in the bedroom(s) only.

The up-side to not having AC at home is the smaller electric bill. Electricity is fairly expensive in the BVI. HB and I pay as much for electricity now as we did in Florida, where we were running central AC almost all the time. Having a bedroom AC unit can add about $100 per month to your electric bill. So although on still summer nights I miss the quiet, gentle cooling offered by the AC, the cost savings helps me rest easy, and our ceiling fan and oscillating floor fan help keep our bedroom cool enough to sleep

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