When Did Air Conditioning Become Common?

Many homeowners today think of air conditioning as commonplace. But not too long ago, it was a luxury. Many places around the world have seen population growth due to the availability of air conditioning. 

Many southern states have significantly benefited from this boom. In Charlotte, NC, for example, the average high in July is 91 degrees. Before air conditioning in the home, people relied on fans and hoped for a breeze to get air circulation. Today, nearly every new home here has an air conditioning unit, making the climate inside comfortable year-round. 

When Was Air Conditioning Invented?

The air conditioner was inspired by another invention: electricity. In 1882, electricity was slowly introduced to parts of New York City. Although progress was gradual, it sparked the invention of modern air conditioning. In 1901, William Carrier invented modern air conditioning technology. 

The technology didn’t have a proper name until 1906, when Stuart Cramer created a system for adding moisture to the air. This invention was first used to maintain a consistent temperature in a printing plant in New York. He called it “air conditioning,” and Carrier took the name and adopted it to his system. Carrier named his company The Carrier Air Conditioning Company of America, which is now one of the largest HVAC companies in the world.

When Did Air Conditioning Become Common in Houses?

Air conditioning had a slow start. The first residential air conditioning unit was installed in 1914. In 1925, only half of the homes in the United States had electricity. At that point, the unit measured 20-feet-long and 7-feet-high and cost the equivalent of half a million dollars today.

The window unit air conditioner (which was invented in 1931) was more affordable and brought the machine’s widespread acceptance and popularity we know today. The unit very much resembled the window units we see today, albeit at a much higher cost. As prices went down and technology continued to improve, most newly built homes in the U.S. included central air conditioning. 

As air conditioning became cheaper and more common, the population of certain states like Florida began to boom. Today, about 90% of homes in the U.S. have some sort of air conditioning. In the warmer southern states, this number jumps to 99%.

How Popular Is Air Conditioning Across the World?

Although air conditioning in the United States is nearly ubiquitous, many places still see a low use throughout the world. The most common reason that AC is not installed or used in an area is for climate reasons. If you live in an area where the temperature is cool, air conditioning would not be a worthwhile expense, even during the summer. 

Another reason for the slow adoption of air conditioning is the cost. While in the United States, the price for AC is reasonable, many places throughout the world still cannot afford it. Increased use of AC is seen as the standard of living increases. From 1995 to 2004, the percentage of homes in China with air conditioning jumped from 8% to 70%. 

Many of the hottest places in the world still see a very low use of AC due to the cost and standard of living. In India, which sees average highs in the 80s to 90s, only 5% of the homes have air conditioning. The same can be seen in Mexico, where only 16% of households have air conditioning. As the middle classes and discretionary spending grow in each region, so will the adoption of air conditioning.

How Long Does an Air Conditioner Last?

For those looking to add or replace an air conditioner, the most common question is how long do they last? Luckily, modern air conditioners are more reliable than ever before. Most modern AC units will last anywhere from 15 to 20 years. In hot areas where you are using the air conditioner more often, the lifespan may drop slightly.

Properties that are close to a beach or other salty areas will experience lower life spans due to the effect of the salt air on the unit. Most beachfront properties can expect a unit to last anywhere from 8 to 15 years. Of course, the best way to ensure that your unit will last as long as possible is by having regular maintenance done by HVAC professionals. 

How Do I Find the Best AC Repair Near Me?

Finding a reliable technician to work on your air conditioning is increasingly important. Luckily it is easier today than ever before. A quick Google search for “AC Repair” or “HVAC” will reveal many companies in your area. Make sure to read reviews, ask friends and colleagues for opinions, and call for quotes to ensure your satisfaction. 

Air Care Heating and Cooling in Charlotte, NC, has been a community staple since 2007. We are experts in heating and cooling, all the way from installation to regular maintenance. Call us today to see how we can help all of your heating and cooling needs!