Thanksgiving in July – Why I am Thankful for AC in the United States

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In the United States, November is the traditional time of  giving thanks for all the good things in our lives.  For most of the country though, by the time the Thanksgiving holiday rolls around, we are usually only thankful for “winter things,” like “shelter from the cold” and warm “comfort food.”  By then, we have usually forgotten about how muggy and hot it was in July and August and how really good we felt coming inside to a comfortable, air conditioned place on a hot day.  So, the following is a little summary of why I am thankful for our  air conditioning style in the U.S.

  1. In the U.S., air conditioning just works. Most people will buy eight or nine cars in the same period they might have to replace their AC system.  With a little periodic maintenance, your central AC system could work for up to 15 years or even longer if you live where there is a short cooling season.
  2. In the U.S., air conditioning is not just for the wealthy.  AC has become so common in the U.S. that we often take it for granted.  According to the 2011 U.S. Census, the adoption rate of homes with air conditioning in the U.S. is 84 percent, and according to a 2013 survey of a little over 500 Triple Pundit readers, over half of those surveyed said that air conditioning was more of a “necessity” than a luxury.
  3. In the U.S., air conditioning is really efficient.    Although I am not a big fan of more government regulations, in the case of air conditioning, the systems in the US simply had to become more energy efficient to become compliant with some of the highest efficiency minimums in the world.  In doing so, we have also avoided a lot of the power grid infrastructure problems that are happening in other countries that have low (or no) minimum efficiency  levels  and also have a much higher adoption rate of lower efficiency room air conditioners.  It’s always nice to be “world class!”
  4. In the U.S., air conditioning has allowed significant economic growth in the south and southwest regions.  Could you imagine doing business in Florida or Arizona in the summertime without AC?
  5. Last, but certainly not least, in the U.S., air conditioning saves lives.  There was a time in this country when a severe heat wave could cost a lot of lives.  In a 2012 article, the Washington Post reported the results of a study that was titled, “Home air conditioning cut premature deaths on hot days 80 percent since 1960.”  Thanks to American air conditioning!

Now, this is the time of year when you will read a lot of stories about people who wish they were back in the “days before AC” or that we should try to “live without AC” for one reason or another.  For me, I am just thankful that I live in the U.S., and on those really hot days and nights I am truly thankful for my central AC system.


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