Few people need to be reminded to appreciate the miracle of air conditioning during the most sweltering time of the year, but we’re doing it anyway. It’s AC Appreciation Week -- the perfect time to reflect on how this technology has improved our lives and continues to bring innovation to the science of staying cool.
Air conditioning has been around for more than a century, so it can be hard to picture what it was like before year-round comfort was a standard amenity. But you’re sure to see the influence air conditioning has had on home design if you visit homes built before residential air conditioning started to really catch on in the 1960s, especially in the steamy South.
Ceilings used to be much higher, allowing plenty of room for hot air to rise above the heads of the families inside. And porches used to be much deeper, to provide ample shade for families seeking an escape from their stuffy homes. In fact, some feared what the spread of residential air conditioning would do to socialization, as whole neighborhoods of people used to venture outside on hot afternoons, gathering on shady porches or strolling around to greet neighbors.
But air conditioning brought people together, too. Starting in the 1920s, movie theater operators discovered that they could get moviegoers to flock inside all summer long by using new air conditioning technology to keep theaters cool.
Air conditioning has come a long way since then. Besides making everyday life more comfortable, today’s air conditioners do much more for modern homeowners:
- AC units continuously filter and circulate indoor air, removing irritants like airborne allergens, pet dander, pollen, industrial pollutants and more. For those with respiratory conditions or sensitive allergies, HEPA filters and air purification systems work alongside air conditioners to bring needed relief.
- Air conditioners dehumidify the air as they cool. This is important because humidity inhibits the ability of our bodies to self-regulate temperature, and it makes cooled indoor spaces feel clammy and smell musty.
- Many modern air conditioners offer multiple fan settings, making it possible to filter and circulate indoor air even when the AC isn’t actively cooling. Variable speed fans let homeowners strike a balance between cleaner air and lower energy bills.
- Smart thermostats, the latest in thermostat technology, make it easier than ever to control air conditioning energy use. These thermostats can be controlled from anywhere using your smartphone, and they provide the most user-friendly interface for setting up detailed cooling schedules that will save you money.
- Air conditioners are built tough. Today’s outdoor AC units can keep cooling through drenching rains, punishing wind and even the occasional hailstorm.
If all this leaves you feeling more appreciative of your air conditioner than ever before, be sure to show that appreciation by taking care of your system in three key ways.
Change the filter regularly. Your air conditioner breathes through its filter, and when that filter becomes clogged, your AC unit struggles. A dirty filter can cause your fan to wear out prematurely and can sharply increase your energy use. Make a habit of replacing these on time!
Tune up your AC unit annually. A thorough tune-up from a licensed technician is the only way to get your system ready for the long summer ahead. You’ll experience fewer breakdowns, lower energy bills and a longer life for your air conditioner.
Schedule periodic energy audits. An energy audit is a thorough home inspection designed to identify opportunities for energy savings, and most of those opportunities are related to climate control systems. Through this process, you can seal up leaky ducts, upgrade insulation, locate hidden drafts and more -- all of which is good for your air conditioner and your wallet.
Is your air conditioner overdue for a little appreciation? Call up your local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning day or night to schedule prompt, professional service.