National Air Conditioning Appreciation Days - July 3 to August 15
How Did We Ever Do Without Air Conditioning?
Every year we get to celebrate National Air Conditioning Appreciation Days. It’s not just a big opportunity for HVAC and air conditioning companies to market their services and products. Lack of air conditioning during hot spells and heat waves is physically dangerous.
Air conditioning, invented in 1932, has become a necessity of life for those who can afford it. Heat stroke, heat rash, heat edema, heat cramps, dehydration, and heat exhaustion are all illnesses due to exposure to prolonged excessive heat and humidity. Heat related deaths happen more than all other serious weather phenomenon such as hurricanes, tornadoes and lightning.
Older adults, very young children, and those who are sick or overweight are at a higher risk for heat-related illness. According to the Agency for Health care Research and Quality, about 6,200 Americans are hospitalized each summer due to complications from excessive heat.
The planet has experienced more heat waves in the 21st century than any other time period. Consider the European heat wave of 2003, where almost 35,000 deaths occurred as a result of heat related illnesses. Heat temperature records were broken in the Eastern part of the United States in July 2010. In the light of these extreme temperatures, 83% of American homes have air conditioning.
When are the best times to appreciate an air conditioner?
- When you hate being hot anywhere you go
- When using a fan in ninety-degree weather doesn’t cool down you or your house. It only circulates hot air
- When the humidity is high and oppressive at 60% and above
- When you first come inside from a sweltering heat, and the cool air hits you in the face, because you left the air conditioning on before you left the house. Your body starts to get wet and falls down your face and arm pits. But you don't care because it's a cold wetness.
- If you work at home
- While driving in your car
- When you need to do something in another location
- At any meeting place with a room full of people. Each person brings the heat on their clothing, generating a humidity-filled haze
Here are some ways you can stay cool, appreciate your air conditioner and give it a long shelf life:
- Do your air conditioner a favor and change the air filter every month. If you have central air, have it serviced every year. It will last longer and more efficiently. You don’t want your air conditioner to fail during a televised baseball game, or family game night. Actually, you don’t want it to fail anytime you need it
- Turn your air conditioner down when you’ll be gone for a few hours. That means, set it at 80 degrees while you are gone. Once you return, set it at 78 degrees or lower. It’s better than turning it off while you are gone. And once you set it to your comfort level, it won’t take long to cool the room.
- For your next purchase buy one with a temperature and timer control. That way you can set the time and pre-determine when your air conditioner should go on and off
- Turn off lights in rooms you aren’t using. Lights generate heat and will cause your air conditioner to work harder
- Keep your blinds or shades down so the sun doesn’t heat up your rooms
- Do not use your clothes dryer at the same time as your air conditioner. The dryer will produce excess heat
- Cooking in the oven and using air conditioning is counter-productive when it’s seriously hot outside. Save cooking for later in the day
- Don’t let anything come between you and your air conditioner. Keep curtains, shades, plants, animals, mini-blinds away from the front and sides. Keep your central outdoor system free from any obstructions
- Naturally, keep windows and doors closed while running your air conditioner. If you are too cold, don’t open something to ‘even out’ the temperature. Turn the conditioner down
- Close any gaps between your air conditioner and the window sills with weather stripping
- A good way to help out your major appliance is to run the ceiling fan at the same time. It will circulate the cool air, and should allow you to turn down the conditioner
Tips for Buying an Air Conditioner:
- When buying a new air conditioner, make sure it has an energy efficiency rating of 11 or higher. It will cost a few dollars more, but will save on your electrical bills in the long run
- Buy your air conditioner for the next year at the end of the year summer sales. This is when stores want to sell off remaining seasonal products and appliances. They don’t want to warehouse them until the next summer. You should be able to find some good deals
- Never try to buy an air conditioner at or after the first real heat spell. That is when everyone is looking to buy, driving up the prices. If the stores are selling air conditioners during the spring or before the summer arrives, that is their merchandise that didn’t sell last year. They’ll need the room for their newer models, so look for spring sale
- Finally, while you enjoy your air conditioner, don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids.
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