Americans love air conditioning!
Salvatore Basile, the author of Cool: How Air Conditioning Changed Everything, says that A/C has “made its way into American life” and it’s a major creature comfort that’s here to stay.
The United States uses a lot of energy on air conditioning according to Washington State University researchers. The 318 million people in the United States — 4.5 percent of the worldwide population — use six times the amount of electricity as Mexico!
Air conditioning, once a luxury and used sparingly, is now seen as a necessity and is often a staple in newer homes. It’s no longer a question of whether a new or remodeled home has air conditioning, but whether it’s central air or not. However, a lot of Americans are also concerned with keeping costs down with their HVAC usage, especially during July—the hottest month of the year in Utah. It can be tough to balance the desire to keep cool and also keep your wallet green.
The Right Use of A/C
Air conditioning is a critical social and economic technology. The vast majority of businesses in 1957 credited air conditioning as their No. 1 productivity booster — this was one of the first years that A/C was standard in a majority of businesses. Cinemas in particular are well-known for being ice cold, and provide reprieves for many during the dead heat of summer.
Some homeowners are concerned with the environmental side effects of A/C usage, too. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that U.S. home electrical usage accounts for 37 percent of CO2 emissions. Too much A/C can lead to an urban heat island situation (a geographical location, almost always in a metro, that is significantly warmer than surrounding areas because of human activities). California in particular has experienced record-breaking heat waves along with droughts and wildfires, and oftentimes residents in the state are truly dependent on air conditioning for safety and comfort.
Using air conditioning wisely takes trial and error, as well as making sure your HVAC is properly maintained year-round. An overworked, clogged or failing air conditioner simply doesn’t work as it should. It ends up costing you dollars and isn’t very kind to the environment. While it’s best to schedule air conditioning and HVAC maintenance checks in the spring, it’s not too late. Taking care of a faltering air conditioner now and reaping the financial savings is much better than putting it off for another year.
Choosing a reasonable thermostat setting is another way to work with your air conditioner and save money. Some businesses consider “forcing” customers to put on a sweater in the summer as they enter the store a sign of prestige. If you’re wearing a sweater indoors, that’s a sign that you could raise the temperature!
Contact Roberts Mechanical for more tips, and for all your air conditioning questions.