Perhaps I'm deluded in thinking there is some nobility in doing a Perth summer without aircon. Yep. We don't have one, and I'm reminded just how sweltering it can be in a small (rented) townhouse when the temperature soars above 40 and spiders die on the west-facing wall.
I guess you could say I'm tight in refusing to buy a small evaporative aircon unit, but I really can't see the point as the (town)house is so poorly insulated that filling a room with a desirable 16C zephyr will be all but eradicated. And even then, come the afternoon, when the Fremantle doctor breezes though Perth, it's bearable enough to open the house. So reallyyou're spending a lot of energy (and money) on cooling something that will eventually be lost. I can understand if your house was designed with an energy conscious mind: have double glazed windows, reflective blinds etc, then you'd get more efficiency from running a said unit. Given that most of the houses in Perth are appallingly designed to maximise heating/cooling efficiency, where does that leave those (like us) who don't want to Bikram conditions, but CBF wasting money on a crappy aircon unit?
Then you mosey on down to a department store to find a quality fan.
Let me tell you, finding a quality fan is as hard as finding an 1970s energy efficient townhouse.
So a bit of research, on design, quality, build brought me to an American brand of fan called Vornado. I know the name and marketing is dorky (and so is the box it comes in), but by-gees it's a good fan! The model that caught my eye, the Vornado VF20 is a re-jigged replica of the very model released by the company in the 1940s. Sleek all steel construction, double-cone inlet, and deep pitched propeller blades speak volumes of the insightful design. You can feel the solid construction -- this fan is quality. Operating at full-bore it chews up only 29 watts, 26 watts on medium and 20 watts when it purrs on low. It can be tilted directly upwards, though it doesn't have a oscillate function. Vornado's website suggests this is because it's less of a fan and more an air circulator. By moving air in summer or winter, you reduce heat gradients that naturally occur, reducing heating/cooling costs.
Simply aim the fan to the farthest point of the room and it circulates enough air for you to reconsider running aircon in summer. But at $239 (not what I paid online, but RRP) it's not an easy sale, especially when you can get a simple, plastic pedestal fan for $30. Weighing up the option of a small (evaporative) aircon unit, which will: 1. only be efficient when the humidity is low, 2. require a constant flow of dry air (so as to remain efficient) -- hence an open window letting in warm air somewhere in the house (thus more-or-less negating the aircon in the first place), 3. use 1000+ watts of energy, 4. only really needs to be used on 35C plus days, (but when the Freo doctor comes in, it's therefore more eco-nomical to turn it off)... ... it was obvious the fan was a better year-round purchase. We bought this thinking that if the fan was a dud in some way, it'll still look dapper as a 60-year-old curio does on a shelf. So impressed we were, we now have two.