How the Invention of the AC Changed the Way We Live: 12 Fun Facts

Air conditioning condensers

Our air conditioning units are probably appliances we have at home that we don’t pay much attention to. When it’s breezy and the weather is cool, we tend to take our air conditioners for granted. But the moment the temperature starts to rise, drastic measures kick in and that includes keeping our homes cool while overworking our AC systems.

If you have ever lived in the southeast corner of the country, you have probably had enough of the sweltering heat. As the high temperature becomes unbearable, we try to think of ways on how to fight the extremely hot weather. Good thing air conditioning was invented, a breakthrough that has caused a staggering impact not only on the economy of the country but also on worker productivity. While climate control may cost us considerable amount of money, it sure is the one that saves us at the end of the day.

Here are 12 interesting facts about how air conditioning has changed the world.

#1- Willis Carrier invented the first modern air conditioner

The first modern air conditioner was used in a publishing company in Brooklyn in 1902. It was invented by Willis Carrier. Contrary to modern day use, this high piece of technology wasn’t intended to be used solely for comfort, it functioned to keep the temperature low so that paper would not expand and contract.

#2- Movie theaters were the second to adopt air conditioning

Then came the movie theaters. They were the first ones that used modern AC systems, thus making them one of the coolest places in town. When the long-lasting heat started to get unbearable, especially during the summer, people clumped in theaters to watch films. And because movie-goers flocked in large numbers, studios put out their best productions, hence the birth of summer blockbuster.

#3- Industries slow down during hot weather

Before the birth of air conditioners, many industries literally slowed or stopped working in the summer. When the buildings got too hot, workers tended to get sulky which then caused them to take a break until the temperatures cooled down. As a matter of fact, American workers got month-long vacations because of the unbearable heat during this period.

#4- Climate control changed the construction industry

Building construction and design also significantly changed because of climate control. Gone are the days when people tried to keep their homes cool by installing transoms and constructing sleeping porches and breezeways. The thick walled tract houses that you see today are not as cool as those with brick structures. And because they don’t have the same heat-defeating features, the extremely hot weather becomes unbearable especially without air conditioning.

#5- Air conditioning is the reason why school's out during the summer

At the turn of the century, stuffy schools were extremely intolerable. Many advocates became very concerned about the spread of diseases, thus summer vacation was implemented. Even though AC systems have helped students to become comfortable all year round, the schedule for summer vacation never changed.

#6- Temperature control and refrigeration revolutionized every aspect of industry

The use of air conditioning systems made the manufacture of computers and chipsets possible. In addition, it also radically changed the storage of food, its production, the way data storage centers operated, and the way chemical as well as the pharmaceutical industries were run.

#7- The amount of energy the United States uses is about the same as that consumed by the entire continent of Africa 

The United States consumes more energy each year for air conditioning than the rest of the world combined. Between 1993, and 2005, the amount of energy consumed by residential air conditioning has increased tremendously. According to statistics, there was a 20% increase in U.S. alone in 2010.

#8- The Northeast was the former economic powerhouse of the U.S. before AC was invented

Before air conditioners were invented in 1902, a huge percent of the economic growth took place in northeast. But since 1960, most of the economic activities were transferred to the South where AC units made year-round factories operate efficiently.

#9- Air conditioning has made us want more cool air

According to various research and studies, the more time we spend in cool environments such as in malls and movie theaters, the more difficult it is to tolerate heat.

#10- AC systems still consume massive amounts of energy despite technological advancement

According to statistics, about $20 billion each year is being spent by the Department of Defense on air conditioning in Iraq. This amount is more than the total yearly appropriated budget for NASA.

#11- The government also had the tendency to shut down during some parts of the summer

Many historians blamed the growth of federal bureaucracy on the development and use of air conditioners. Because of air conditioning, lawmakers stay in session longer than the usual.

#12- Advances in medicine and human life expectancy were made possible by air conditioning

Hospitals and even clinics installed air conditioners to help defeat certain illnesses, inhibit bacteria, reduce mortality rate among infants and further advance developments in surgery.

Throughout the world, AC systems have played an immense role in making our lives comfortable. For one, it allowed us to live and work in great comfort. And because of its countless benefits, this piece of technology has improved our way of living in ways you may never have imagined.

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