8 Facts You Didn’t Know About Air Conditioning

facts about air conditioning

Summer is the season of air conditioning. With air conditioners in nearly 100 million US homes, it’s practically a given. These days, we tend to take our high-powered cooling machines for granted. For many, the thought of going without seems impossible. We sprint from the a/c in our home to the a/c in our car to the a/c in our office at work. In honor of summer, we dug up some unusual facts about the history of air conditioning. You might not look at your a/c unit the same way again.

  • People used huge blocks of ice to cool things off before air conditioning was invented. When a/c finally hit the market, a machine’s cooling capability was measured by how much ice you would need to produce the same effect. Imagine hanging out with a giant block of ice just to keep cool.
  • Air conditioning made places like Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico more livable. Populations spiked in these areas as soon as air conditioning was invented. Before that, the rest of the country pretty much existed in the Northeast.
  • Movie theaters would attract big crowds during the summer because they were one of the few public places with a/c. That’s why movie studios would release huge blockbusters in the summer to ensure a return on their investment. You can thank air conditioning for today’s summer blockbusters.
  • A/C units in the 1940s usually cost around 350 dollars. With inflation, that’s about 3,500 dollars today. Air conditioning was a rare luxury reserved only for the wealthy. It wasn’t until the 80s and 90s when air conditioners became a common household item.
  • Every year, the US uses the same amount of electricity on air conditioning as Africa uses to run the entire continent. If you can’t stand the heat in the US, think about how hot it must be in Africa.
  • Willis Carrier was the first person to invent a form of air conditioning. He worked at a publishing company where his main concern was to stop paper from expanding and ink from melting and running across the page.
  • Air conditioning did more than just keep people cool. It also led to numerous breakthroughs across many different industries. Certain medications could only be tested and developed in cooler environments. Air conditioning also allowed new exotic foods to travel further distances, drastically changing the diets of millions of Americans.
  • Scientists have confirmed that air conditioning has actually lowered people’s tolerance for heat. The more comfortable we stay, the more excruciating the outside world feels. The next time you find yourself complaining about the heat, remember that it’s all about perspective.