Friday, November 6, 2009

RE: The Determinism of Air Conditioning.

Michael Kuznetsov has left a new comment on your post "The Determinism of Air Conditioning":


I find your story to be most fascinating.
It manifests how different our worlds are!
A story like this would be impossible or even unimaginable in Russia for obvious reasons.

Your words:
"cut a hole through the wall" have aroused my special interest.

Could you tell me what exactly the stuff your walls are made of?

What is their thickness?

And with what exactly tool your son managed to make a hole in the wall to install the air-conditioner through your study wall.

Please satisfy my curiosity!



Good to hear from you again. You write that this couldn't possibly happen in Russia "for obvious reasons." Do you mean there are no single-family dwellings in Russia? That would surprise me. Perhaps we have some places like that in the U.S. where one must live in "flats," but if one looks away from the cities, then single-family units are going to be common. There will be apartment buildings (for those who must rent) and also condos (that people like to live in for various reasons), also single-family dwellings. Here in the San Jacinto Valley, Single-family dwellings predominate.

Older houses might be lath and plaster. Newer construction however, must meet more stringent earthquake standards. California is earthquake prone, so our houses are built to sway rather than break. My house was built in 1998 and has several safety features, my son tells me, that older houses don't have a sprinkler system throughout the house, for example, and metal "bands" here and there to reinforce the underlying wooden structure.

We have experienced a few earthquakes since we moved here. Typically the dogs will hop up and look about in excitement. I've rushed out back with them a time our two and they look about as though looking for whatever it was slammed against the house. But the worst thing that happened was that some books feel off some shelves.

I'm guessing that my walls are about six or seven inches thick. In regard to the walls, they are framed with two-by-fours, that is pine that has been cut into 2 inches by 4 inches and then of lengths necessary to the task. The frame goes up according to a pattern to leave openings for windows and doors. A stairwell goes up to the second floor which has pine planking installed on top of a framework.

The inside is covered with sheets of "dry wall." This is a fibrous material that isn't as strong as wood but can be painted or replaced without too much difficulty. Early construction used "lath and plaster" for the inside. My condo in Garden Grover (where I lived before moving to San Jacinto) had lath and plaster walls.

The outside of the walls are covered in, if memory serves me, something like chicken wire and then colored cement is sprayed onto the wire. My son cut this material loose in two segments. They are perhaps an inch thick and very solid.

As to the tools my son used, he used a drill to create a hole large enough for a saw blade, and then used a Sawzall to cut through everything. Don't you have Sawzalls in Russia?

1 comment:

Michael Kuznetsov said...


Thank you for your prompt, detailed, interesting and most educative response.

Of course, here in Russia there are a lot of "single-family dwellings." We call this type of houses "частный дом" = "a private house."
Those may be built either of bricks (usually three brick layers thickness of the walls) or of rather thick wooden logs.

The walls in Russia MUST necessarily be very thick, while the inner space should inevitably be rather tightened and crowded, in order to keep the house warm and to save and protect the inhabitants from THE FROST.

My words "for obvious reason" meant that it is the climate that plays the crucial role in all this matter.
Because nobody in Russia would ever make a hole in the wall to install a cooler (air-conditioner).
It is absolutely unimaginable.

You Americans have been concerned how to ensure the cooling of your SPACY rooms, while we Russians have always been concerned how to keep warm inside our SMALL rooms.
For the same reason the Russian house normally has only one ground floor (plus the subterranean basement shelter), without any second storey.

Yes, of course, I know what is Sawzall.
The point is that one could hardly make a hole through a Russian brick wall three-layers thick with such a tool.
Or through a wall of hard massive logs 14-18 inch thick.

By the way, when watching American movies on TV, I feel always surprised to see how easily the police (or the indruders) can burst through into the American house.
A couple of kicks would usually seem to be enough to break the door.
In Russia, one should blow at least an anti-tank grenade, or something of the kind, just for the same purpose.