Air Conditioning is Necessary in the Southern US
In much of the United States, an HVAC System is only necessary for a few months of the year, and may be seen as more of a luxury than an actual need. Perhaps the temperature only rises into the 80s during the day, and then cools off to the 60s or cooler at night. In cases like these, keeping a house cool without air conditioning is possible by strategic opening of windows at night, planting shade trees, and using fans and swamp coolers. Coolers, perfected in Phoenix, Arizona, work by evaporating water in pads though which air is then blown, which cools a room or building.
However, despite being developed in Phoenix, swamp coolers are not really adequate for this desert city. Most Phoenix residents consider air conditioning to be a need, more than simply a luxury. This is because Phoenix, Arizona is probably the hottest metropolitan city in the entire country. There are certainly other places that are hotter (such as Lake Havasu City, also in Arizona), but these places are much smaller in population, and often do not stay as hot for as long.
The Phoenix metro area extends over more than 900 square miles. While there are several mountains and a lake in the middle of this sprawling urban space, a good deal of it is paved roads, parking lots, concrete buildings and other man-made structures. These things hold in heat and create what is commonly called the “urban heat island” effect. This means that nighttime temperatures in Phoenix stay warm in the summer months. From mid-June until late August, the overnight low in Phoenix is 80 degrees or warmer. During the peak of summer, usually a few weeks in mid-July, the overnight lows may reach into the 90s. These are low temperatures. At midnight it can be 100 degrees or more. The record, set in 2011, was week-long stretch of overnight lows that did not dip below 94 degrees. During the days it was between 110 and 120.
With such oppressive, constant heat in Phoenix, air conditioning is a necessity. Phoenix residents joke about the dry heat, emphasizing that it’s not as bad as humidity, or claiming it’s better than extreme cold, because “117 is hot, but you don’t have to shovel it off your driveway”. But the truth is that living without out air conditioning can even be life-threatening for young children, older people and the infirm. Hospitals, schools, grocery stores, and other sensitive locations depend on reliable air-conditioning for safety reasons. This means that a quality air conditioning repairman carries not only a valuable set of skills, but can be in high demand in the summer months. Phoenix Heating and Cooling repairmen can also offer service in the realm of advice. Even if your air conditioning unit is working perfectly, there are probably things that can be done to make it and your house operate more efficiently. In such a hot city like Phoenix, where air conditioning units are run for nine months or more, keeping a unit working properly and efficiently is a real need.
Scott Baker attended American Trade Instituted with a concentration in air conditioning, heating and refrigeration, and ventilation. He founded Air America Inc in early 2011, and also instructs at EVIT, the East Valley Institute of Technology.