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0447 Heating and Cooling a Home

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 447: Heating and Cooling a Home.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast number 447. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. On it, you can download a Learning Guide for this episode to help you improve your English even faster. You can also take a look at our ESL Podcast Store, which has some additional courses in business and daily English we think you’ll be interested in.

This podcast is a dialogue between Carla and Trent. They’re going to be using some common vocabulary to talk about “heating,” making your house warmer, or “cooling,” making your house cooler. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Carla: It’s freezing in here! Why is the air conditioner on?

Trent: I just finished exercising and I’m sweating like a pig.

Carla: That’s no reason to turn the A/C on full blast! I’m cold. I’m turning on the heat for a little while.

Trent: Are you crazy? It’s 70 degrees outside!

Carla: I’m no crazier than you are. How come you can turn on the A/C and I can’t turn on the heat?

Trent: I only turned on the A/C because it’s so humid outside, and it was taking a long time for me to cool down. If you’re cold, just open the windows and doors, and we’ll get some ventilation in here. It’ll heat up again pretty quickly.

Carla: What should I do in the meantime? Put on my winter coat or crawl under the covers?

Trent: Go sit outside. I’ll get myself a glass of iced tea and I’ll get you a cup of hot tea. How does that sound?

Carla: Leave it to you to come up with the best idea of the day!

[end of dialogue]

Carla begins the dialogue by saying, “It’s freezing in here!” “Freezing,” in this case, means very cold, extremely cold. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or zero degrees Celsius; it just means it’s very cold in here. Carla asks, “Why is the air conditioner on?” The “air conditioner,” sometimes called simply the “A/C,” is a machine that makes the air colder in a room. It’s something you would use during the warm season, in the summer in the northern hemisphere.

Trent says, “I just finished exercising and I’m sweating like a pig.” This is an expression: “to sweat (sweat) like a pig.” To “sweat” means that you have water that is coming out of small holes in your skin, what we call “pores” (pores), and if you are exercising or working very hard you may sweat. Another verb for this is “to perspire.” That sounds a little better; sweat is a little more informal.

Trent says he’s sweating like a pig. Carla says, “That’s no reason to turn the A/C on full blast!” “That’s no reason to (do something)” is a phrase we use to show that what the other person is doing is unnecessary or silly, perhaps even illogical. “That’s no reason to turn the A/C on.” To “turn something on” means to start the machine running; in this case, the machine is an air conditioner – the A/C. The expression “full blast” (blast) means at the highest or most powerful setting, at full power. So, Trent has turned the air conditioning onto the coolest possible temperature and the highest possible fan setting. The “fan” is the part of machine that blows the air out of the machine.

Carla says, “I’m cold. I’m turning on the heat for a little while.” The “heat,” in this case, would simply mean the “heater,” a machine that warms your house. Trent says, “Are you crazy? It’s 70 degrees outside!” A “degree” is a measurement of heat. In the United States we use Fahrenheit; in most other countries the degrees are measured in Celsius – we’re a little slow here in the United States!

Carla says, “I’m no crazier than you are,” meaning you are as crazy as I am. “How come (or why) you can turn on the A/C and I can’t turn on the heat?” Trent says, “I only turned on the A/C because it’s so humid outside.” “Humid” (humid) means there’s a lot of water in the air – a lot of water vapor in the air. Trent says, “it was taking a long time for me to cool down.” To “cool down” is a two-word phrasal verb meaning to help your body become less hot; to help your body, in this case, relax after exercising. That’s also called cooling down. If you exercise very hard you need to cool down – your body needs to cool down. To “cool down” has a couple of different meanings in English; take a look at our Learning Guide for some additional explanations.

Trent says, “If you’re cold, just open the windows and doors, and we’ll get some ventilation in here.” “Ventilation” is the movement of air within a room, going in and out of a room. Trent is suggesting Carla open the windows so they can get more movement of the air, which would heat the room up a little bit. Trent says, “It’ll heat up again pretty quickly.” To “heat up” means to increase the temperature of something, to make something hotter, in this case, the air in the room. Notice that word “up” is used a lot with verbs in English to mean many different things. Unfortunately, there isn’t one hint – one thing I can tell you about what “up” means with the verb because it means something with each verb, typically.

Carla says, “What should I do in the meantime?” The expression “in the meantime” means before something else happens, while you’re waiting for something else to happen. So for example, if your wife or husband says to you, “Dinner will be prepared (will be done) in 10 minutes. In the meantime, please set the table” – please put things on the table for us so that we can eat: dishes, cups, that sort of thing. In the meantime is that time before something else happens.

Well, Carla says, “What should I do in the meantime?” because, of course, she’s cold. She says, “Put on my winter coat or crawl under the covers?” She’s saying, well, should I put on my winter jacket – my winter coat – to keep me warm, or should I crawl under the covers. To “crawl” (crawl) in this case means to go underneath the covers. The “covers” are sheets, blankets, what we call “comforters,” large blankets that keep you warm when you are sleeping on your bed. So to “crawl under” means to get underneath, below so that they are covering your body. That’s why they’re called covers. “Cover” has several different meanings in English, however, so take a look at that Learning Guide. You know what you’ll find there! To “crawl” also can mean to get down on your hands and knees and slowly move your body forward. A little baby usually starts crawling, and then they start walking. So they go from being on hands and knees to just being on their two legs.

Trent says, “Go sit outside. I’ll get myself a glass of iced tea and I’ll get you a cup of hot tea. How does that sound?” Carla says, “Leave it to you to come up with the best idea of the day!” The expression “leave it to you (to do something)” is a phrase we used to show that the other person has some special gift or talent for doing something, or is very good at doing something. Although, it isn’t necessarily always a compliment – it isn’t always a nice thing to say. Someone may say you, “Oh, leave it to you to get into an accident.” That means you have some sort of special talent for doing that, even though it’s not a good thing. But here, Carla is saying that Trent has come up with a good idea, the best idea of the day.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Carla: It’s freezing in here! Why is the air conditioner on?

Trent: I just finished exercising and I’m sweating like a pig.

Carla: That’s no reason to turn the A/C on full blast! I’m cold. I’m turning on the heat for a little while.

Trent: Are you crazy? It’s 70 degrees outside!

Carla: I’m no crazier than you are. How come you can turn on the A/C and I can’t turn on the heat?

Trent: I only turned on the A/C because it’s so humid outside, and it was taking a long time for me to cool down. If you’re cold, just open the windows and doors, and we’ll get some ventilation in here. It’ll heat up again pretty quickly.

Carla: What should I do in the meantime? Put on my winter coat or crawl under the covers?

Trent: Go sit outside. I’ll get myself a glass of iced tea and I’ll get you a cup of hot tea. How does that sound?

Carla: Leave it to you to come up with the best idea of the day!

[end of dialogue]

Leave it to Dr. Lucy Tse to come up with such a great script for this episode!

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2009, by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
freezing – very cold; extremely cold

* That girl is wearing shorts while it’s snowing! She must be freezing!


air conditioner (A/C) – a machine that makes cold air to make a room or building cooler, especially in the summer

* They turn on the A/C in their apartment whenever it’s hotter than 90 degrees.


to sweat – to have small amounts of water leave one’s body through one’s skin, usually because the temperature is very hot or because one has been exercising

* I sweat a lot while running so I drink a lot of water to replace my body fluids.


that’s no reason to (do something) – a phrase used to show that one’s actions were unnecessary or silly, and without logic

* I know you’re mad at your sister, but that’s no reason to stop talking to her.


full blast – at full power; at the highest setting

* Those teenagers like to play their radio at full blast, but it gives me a headache!


heat – a heater; a machine that makes hot air to make a room or building warmer, especially in the winter

* The more we turn up the heat, the higher our electricity bills will be.


degree – a measurement of heat, usually in Fahrenheit in the U.S., where water freezes at 32 degrees and water boils at 212 degrees

* According to the news, it’s going to be really hot tomorrow, about 102 degrees.


humid – with a lot of water vapor in the air

* Washington, D.C. is known for having hot, humid summers.


to cool down – to help one’s body become less hot; to help one’s body relax and recover after intense exercise, slowing down one’s breathing and heart rate

* After exercising, it’s important to cool down by walking around until you can breathe normally again.


ventilation – the movement of air within a room and into and out of a room

* I wish this house had better ventilation, because whenever we cook fish in the kitchen, the whole house smells like fish for days.


to heat up – to increase the temperature of something

* How long will it take to heat up the leftover pasta?


in the meantime – before something else happens; while waiting for something else to happen

* He has an appointment with the dentist on Tuesday. In the meantime, he’s trying not to think of the pain in his mouth.


to crawl – to move by resting one’s weight on one’s hands and knees so that one’s body is close to the floor

* How old was your baby boy when he learned to crawl?


covers – the sheets, blankets, comforters, and other large pieces of fabric on a bed that keep one warm while sleeping

* While asleep, she always pulls the covers off her husband when she rolls over.


leave it to you to (do something) – a phrase used to show that one has a special gift or talent for doing something, or is very good at doing something

* Leave it to you to finish the math test in just 20 minutes while the rest of us struggled for almost an hour. Good job!

Comprehension Questions
1. Why did Trent turn on the air conditioning?
a) Because he smells like a sweaty pig.
b) Because it’s really cold outside.
c) Because he’s having problems cooling down.

2. How might a person warm up?
a) Turn on the A/C.
b) Drink some iced tea.
c) Crawl under the covers.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to cool down

The phrase “to cool down,” in this podcast, means to help one’s body relax and recover after intense exercise, slowing down one’s breathing and heart rate: “The last five minutes of each dance class at the gym is used to cool down.” The phrase “to cool down” also means to make a room or building cooler: “They opened the windows to cool down their apartment.” The phrase “to cool off” means to calm down, especially after being very angry or upset: “I know you’re mad about what your boss said, but I think you should take a few hours to cool off before you talk to her about it.” The informal phrase “cool it” is used to tell someone to calm down or to stop what one is doing: “Cool it! If you don’t be quiet, Mom will hear that we’re not asleep in our beds.”

covers

In this podcast, the word “covers” means the sheets, blankets, comforters, and other large pieces of fabric on a bed that keep one warm while sleeping: “They bought new covers to match the color of the new paint on their bedroom walls.” A “cover” is also the heavy first or last page of a book that protects the other pages in the book: “Please open the front cover and let’s begin on page one.” If something is “a cover for (something),” then it is being used to hide a secret, especially if it is hiding something bad: “They run a restaurant as a cover for their drug sales.” Finally, if someone is working “under cover,” he or she is using a disguise and pretending to be someone else: “The police officer is working under cover to try to learn more about the gang’s activities.”

Culture Note
The United States is a very large country with a highly “variable” (changing a lot) “climate” (temperature and weather patterns). Many government agencies “record” (track and write down) “extreme” (maximum or minimum) temperatures in each state. As you might expect, Alaska has the lowest recorded temperature at -80 ºF (Fahrenheit), and California has the highest recorded temperature at 134 ºF, since northern states are “generally” (usually) colder than southern states.

It is interesting to look at the temperature “range,” or the difference between the highest and lowest recorded temperatures, in each state. The following map is based on “data” (recorded information) from the National Climatic Data Center and can be found online at ggweather.com/climate/extremes_us.htm. It shows that Montana has the greatest temperature range (187 ºF) and Hawaii has the smallest temperature range (88ºF).

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - c