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Cool Touch Air Conditioning and Heating Blog

Is Turning Off Your A/C a Smart Idea?

A recent Slate article made fun of a new trend in the Northeast. Apparently, homes and businesses are shutting off their air conditioning in the middle of summer as a way to save the environment. Supposedly, air conditioning is an unnecessary “comfort” and people should simply learn to adjust to whatever temperature is outside.

As Arizonans, we all just shake our head at this logic. It would be absolutely crazy to turn off our a/c in the middle of a Phoenix AZ summer. While “adjusting” to an “extreme high” of ninety degrees for a few days each summer is certainly possible in New York, residents of Phoenix, Arizona have to deal with temperatures and a heat index that regularly go over 109 degrees for months at a time.

With these kind of really extreme temperatures, it’s dangerous to turn off an air conditioning system. Every year, thousands of people who live in the lower latitudes die because they are unable to cool down. This isn’t just limited to third-world countries. Several years ago, a heat wave in France was blamed for the deaths of over 3,000 people. Despite the country being very developed, too many homes and small businesses did not have an air conditioning system and many were exposed to severe heat exhaustion. When the body uses up it’s energy sources and electrolytes to keep the body hydrated and cool, you can go into shock or suffer from heat stroke.

Air conditioning is more than a comfort. Just last September, Chicago Public Schools had to close several of their schools and send students home early because temperatures inside the classrooms reached unsafe levels. Administrators and teachers reported that students were fainting and getting nosebleeds, even though they had opened windows and passed out cold water. Elementary schools without air conditioning were hit the hardest. Because young children cannot cool themselves through sweating as efficiently as adults, they are much more prone to heat stroke and other heat related problems.

Even empty buildings can be damaged by a lack of air conditioning. Most computer equipment and modern electronics such as television sets has to be kept at a temperature below ninety degrees. Many of these items contain rare earth metals and gases that have very low melting points. That means that getting these devices too hot will cause circuitry and other components to melt. A non-air conditioned building in the middle of summer can easily get over 110. By turning off an air conditioner to save money, it is possible to cause thousands of dollars of damage to the equipment inside a house or business.

While preaching that everyone should turn off their air conditioners might make some people sound environmentally conscious, the truth is that residents of Phoenix,AZ should not even think of attempting this. If you’re looking to save money, make sure your system is operating at peak efficiency (a licensed HVAC technician like Cool Touch can help with this) or consider making an investment in a programmable thermostat. Our professionally trained technicians could help you program your thermostat so you know how to do this efficiently all year round.

Contact our office today and we’ll help you get the most from your air conditioning system as well as help you save money. Our recommendations will not only be cost effective but will also aid in helping the environment.

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