Air Conditioning is a Luxury
Air conditioning is a system that introduces cold air into a hot space to make it more comfortable. Air conditioning typically is used when temperatures are above 70 degrees. It is used in cars, houses, offices, retail stores, restaurants, and other indoor facilities. Unlike heat, air conditioning is considered a luxury, and it is possible to go without it. Heat is considered to be a necessity and all homes must have it. When heat warnings exist, however, lack of air conditioning can present a problem for many elderly people who may live in older brick homes. Without air conditioning, these types of homes literally turn into an oven at a certain temperatures and can cause death.
Alternatives to air conditioning are fans, either electric or handheld, or open windows. Air conditioning is used primarily in the summer when temperatures are higher. Therefore electric bills are usually higher in the summer months. Many electric companies offer budget billing, which balances out the high and low bills into a constant monthly payment. Budget billing is based on usage and may gradually increase over time as usage goes up.
There are two types of air conditioners that are primarily used in homes. Window style units are placed in a window. Window air conditioning mainly cools the room that they are placed in. More expensive units may cool off more of the surrounding rooms. Window air conditioners run on electricity. They are placed in windows because the heat in the room is passed outside and swapped with the cold air coming in. Alternatives to window air conditioning units are wall air conditioners, which do not need to be placed in a window. Window units are more common in older homes.
New construction typically has central air conditioning built in. Central air conditioning runs the air throughout the entire house with the actual unit located outside. A thermostat controls the temperatures of the house. Older thermostats need to be changed manually to the desired temperature. Newer thermostats are programmable. Temperature settings can be programmed to change at certain times of the day. This can help lower electric bills by allowing the house to be warmer when the house is empty. Running central air conditioning uses a lot of electricity but it is generally more energy efficient than window air conditioning. Many older homes use either window units or have no air conditioning at all.
Air conditioning is available in most new cars today as well. In extreme heat, air conditioning provides considerable comfort on a long car ride. In cars operating without air conditioning, one can roll the windows down to let wind blow in. Wind, however, is not as comfortable, and can be noisy, especially if driving on the highway. After a period of time, air conditioning may not work as well. Sometimes recharging the freon gas will help improve performance. Other times, the air conditioning may need more extensive costly repair work. Many times people will choose not to fix the air conditioning in their cars when the cost outweighs the remaining value of the car.
With new technology comes improvements to air conditioning systems. As time goes on, air conditioners will become more energy efficient.
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