Air conditioning not only keeps us cool and comfortable; it changed the face of America. That wasn’t its purpose when it was first invented by Willis Carrier. Air conditioning was first used for industrial uses with an emphasis on humidity control. Here are 6 things to ask yourself – would you live in one of these cities and would have been one of the first to put it in your home.
1. It was Costly. If you’d wanted to stay cool with an air conditioned home in the 1930’s, you might have thought twice. You could buy that home for about $5000, air conditioning would have cost a whopping 30% of the price of the home. A small portable unit was $400. Today you can get one for under $300!
2. Still, it was a Good Thing! Keeping comfortable is something everyone wants. By 1955 one in every 22 American homes had A/C. In the hot, humid south it was one in 10. Today 87% of all homes have an air conditioner.
3. It is a Hot Spot! The crashing waves. The warm ocean water. The glittering nightclubs and they magnificent homes. Miami is the place to be – now, that there’s air conditioning. The population of Miami grew an amazing 2,121% between 1940 (read air conditioning becoming more common) to 2010. That’s a change from just over 250,000 to over 5 ½ million.
4. Did You Know 3,342 was Even a Percent? The desert dwellers of Phoenix know that 3342% was the growth of this metropolis from 1940 to 2010. Talk about growth – from 121,828 to 4,192,887 and still growing. Hear all those A/C units just humming away.
5. If You Gambled on Las Vegas, and air conditioning hadn’t been invented. In 1940, it hadn’t even tipped the scale at 10,000 people yet. In 2010, it was almost at 2 million an increase of 6,831% and you can bet that those casinos are blasting cold air, but if you are going to take a stroll down the strip in July, it’s going to be soft asphalt and an average high of 106 degrees. Whew!
5. Mild Winters are the Attraction. It’s the mild winters that attract people to the Sun Belt (Virginia to Texas plus Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico). But, the hot summer weather was the drawback. Add air conditioned offices, air conditioned cars and air conditioned homes and, suddenly, the summer isn’t so bad. The Sun Belt went from a population of 33 million in 1950 to 88 million by 2002. Hot was “in” and cold was “out.” Except for New York City, many major cold-weather cities lost population while the Sun Belt cities grew.
Got you thinking hot? If you’re one of that 87% with an air conditioner, remember it needs you as much as you need it. Make sure that the filters are cleaned and have a yearly maintenance of your central air conditioner before it gets hot. That maintenance, by a licensed air conditioning contractor, will keep your air conditioner working at top efficiency and catch small repairs before they become big ones. That will really help you keep your cool.