With the fall season almost on our doorstep, we thought it’d be nice to take a look back at our longtime summer companion – the air conditioner. Earlier considered an unnecessary luxury, air conditioning systems have now achieved must-have status, especially for residents of Clearwater, Miami, and other Florida locations. The question is, why? Other parts of our country also experience high summer temperatures, but none of them rely so heavily on ACs to keep cool. If you want more proof, here are some statistics worth considering:

  • 90 percent of the energy consumed by Florida homes is electricity.

  • The annual electricity consumption of the Sunshine State is 40 percent more than the national average.

  • Air conditioning accounts for 27 percent of the energy consumed by Florida residences, which is four times the US average.

  • Barring Arizona’s whopping 87 percent, Florida has the maximum number – 86 percent – of households with central air conditioning.

Two things become evident from this information – first, Florida households run their AC units considerably more than other US locations, and consequently, most homeowners in the state have to spend huge amounts on their monthly electricity bills. Unfortunately, given how the two things are interrelated, Floridians must be extra cautious when it comes to their AC usage.

Florida’s Historical Connect With ACs

Florida’s connection to air conditioning is not without precedent, however, as local resident John Gorrie, a physician and inventor in the 1840’s was one of the earliest proponents of cooling cities to free citizens from the extreme heat. According to Gorrie, cooling could prevent maladies and bring comfort to his patients. He even devised a rudimentary contraption that reduced the temperatures in hospital rooms, using ice shipped from frozen streams and lakes in the northern parts of the nation. To overcome the logistical constraints, the good doctor tinkered around with artificial cooling and finally created an ice-making machine.

Despite failing to introduce the patented system in the commercial markets, Gorrie’s efforts put Florida on the map as the birthplace of modern air conditioning and laid the blueprints for future AC technology.

Overcome Natural Challenges

  • Heat and Humidity

In Hideaki Anno’s cult anime classic Neon Genesis Evangelion, NERV officer Misato Katsuragi declared air conditioning represents “man’s triumph over nature.” And, she wasn’t too far off from the truth. Nature is a cruel and capricious mistress, and no one understands this better than Floridians on a hot summer afternoon. Considering how the temperature often goes up all the way to the high 80’s, it’s a wonder people rack up the nerve to step outside in the sun. Even if you ignore the heat, it’s the moisture that eventually gets to you. With the average relative humidity ranging between 63 at noon to 89 in the mornings, Florida’s swampy weather is enough to make you sick. Thankfully, staying indoors with the AC on full blast provides comfort and relief to the Florida crowd.

Florida owes a heavy debt to ACs. Many of its populated cities would not have existed without air conditioning.  Besides keeping the houses cool and comfortable, the system  makes sweltering summers more bearable for residents by Keeping the following at bay:

  • Mold

Where there are heat and moisture, there will be mold. Now, you might wonder how mold growth possibly affects you, if at all. Well, let me tell you that no matter how clean you keep your residence, an infestation is likely brewing behind your walls, beneath your tiles, or inside your air ducts – that is until you remove the excess humidity and cool the environment. Bathrooms are a natural habitat for mold, and you might spot them growing in a damp corner, around the baseboards, near the toilet. Now, installing an AC in your bathroom might prove difficult due to the risk of water damage and space constraints. But a central air conditioning system keeps multiple rooms in your home cool and dry, thereby keeping mold at bay.

  • Allergies

Allergies are a common springtime occurrence in most Southern areas. But Florida is an exception being a perennial pollen state. The lack of hard freeze in the region means plants continue to pollinate all year long. This wind-borne pollen triggers an allergic reaction if it comes in contact with the mucosal tissues of the eyes, nose, and lungs. To avoid symptoms like coughing, wheezing, watery eyes, itchy and runny nose, keep your AC running, especially between the hours of five and 10 when the pollen count is the highest. Install HEPA air filters in your unit and replace it frequently to minimize pollen and other allergens in the indoor air.

Floridians have to do everything to keep their air conditioners in good health. You can quickly find air conditioning services in Clearwater and other parts of the state. The least you can do is schedule an appointment with your local AC technician to maintain the unit and keep it in tiptop shape in spite of heavy usage.

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