Way Far Back in the Day
For ancient air-conditioning…it is said that in desert regions, slaves rolled large stones out into the cool night air, then rolled them back inside to cool the interior.
In Rome, hundreds of miles of aqueducts, supported by towering arches, supplied fresh aqua pura to millions of residents. Certain elite homes were privileged to receive cooled water from this source as it was channeled through pipes in their brick walls, lowering the room temperatures. They were way ahead of their time in the HVAC industry.
Next the Romans developed what became known as a hypocaust system. Homes and public bath houses had tiled stone floors raised by columns. The space beneath was used to heat or cool as needed.
In More Recent Times
…before electric A/C became available everywhere, folks relied on open windows, fans (manual or electric), swamp coolers (evaporated), spray misters, etc. Every homeowner knew the secrets peculiar to their house in keeping cool during the summer, vacations, and holidays.
For example, venting became important. Drawing from one part of the house through an open window, and sending the air out through another, created cross-breezes. Placing a fan in a window and letting cool night air ventilate worked. Today many homeowners elect to install a whole house fan that operates in much the same manner, only far more efficiently.
In some parts of the country, evaporated coolers worked very well. Especially in dryer climates. Usually box shaped, the sides were lined with straw woven with string into pads. Hoses and pipes released water onto these pads while a fan revolved in the center, sending cooled air inside through a vent. But, if you lived in a humid climate, these added even more moisture to the air.
In sweltering heat, like can be found in places like the deep southeast or southwest, there was little that could be done to fight the soaring 100+ temperatures. Folks went to great lengths to stay cool from the way they dressed to how they ate. Going to the beach or the lake was popular. Children played in kiddie pools. Women prepared cold foods and refused to turn on the oven and heat up the house to bake anything!
How do we Compare in Modern Times?
…in most cases, we set our automatic or digital thermostats to a certain temperature, and voila, we get cool air.
But What if the Power is out, or What if our Air-Conditioning Breaks Down in the Middle of Vacation or the Holidays?
Have your system checked. Before this happens at the worst moment, be prepared by having your system checked today. But first let’s consider what to do if the power is out or your system has failed and it will be several hours or more before it can be repaired.
Stay out of the sun. Avoid over-exercising, walking or running, especially during the hottest part of the day. If the outage is not too widespread, you could visit a public place such as the library, a restaurant or the mall. Have a pool party.
Watch the weather reports. Don’t always go by the temperature, see what the heat index will be.
Wear lightweight lose fitting clothing, especially cotton. A hat is important. Wear less makeup as it can keep you from perspiring.
Drink plenty of water and other beverages, but avoid sugary drinks. You will know if you are becoming dehydrated if your rate of urination decreases.
Eat cool meals, like salads and fruits. Meat can increase metabolic heat production, which can add to loss of water. Don’t eat junk food.
What are the Top Reasons an Air-Conditioning System Quits?
Dirty Condenser Coils – These are part of the outside unit. Dirt and grime can accumulate and heat transfer is hampered. This causes your unit to work harder, eventually leading to failure.
Low Refrigerant – If your unit develops a leak and there is not enough refrigerant to effectively cool the air, coolant must be replaced. However this is not so simple as the leak must first be found and repaired…if possible. This takes an expert.
Frozen Evaporator Coils – If the air flow is not working properly, the system can get too cold and a layer of ice will build up on the outside. At some point before the air-conditioner refrigerant is lost, the evaporator coil temperature drops below the freezing point, and the coil ices up. There could be a puddle of water gathered at the base of the furnace, and smelly wet fiberglass insulation.
Thermostat Problems – Your thermostat may not be programmed correctly.
Clogged Drains – The moisture that is removed from the air by you’re A/C must go somewhere, and this water travels across the evaporator coil to the drain pan, and out a pipe. If this gets clogged or over-filled, the water can back up and damage expensive electrical components of your system.
Fan Problems – A fan blows indoor air over your unit’s evaporator coil to cool the air. If this fan is not working properly due to a faulty motor, lack of lubrication, worn belts or too much debris on coil, it can lead to compressor failure. A death sentence for your air-conditioner and your pocket book.
What Can YOU do to Prevent Air-Conditioner Failure?
Inspect the ducts and see if there is plenty of air coming from the registers. Also, pay attention to your energy bill…is it going up?
Replace dirty filters often.
Keep dirt, weeds and brush from growing around your outside unit.
Dangerous for your air-conditioner!
Best for your Air-Conditioner performance!
Consider getting a new system, the median age for air-conditioners is 18 years.