When the Air Conditioning Dies, You Notice!
It’s amazing when you realize how much we take basic ‘necessities’ like air conditioning for granted here in the 21st century.
I came home Friday to a sweltering apartment.
Charleston, South Carolina, often voted among the top cities in the nation — and even the world — to visit, packs a huge punch in the summertime.
The heat mixed with a tremendous dose of humidity can make it feel like you’re swimming in the air.
It’s great if you’re on the beach where the refreshing ocean is just a few steps away. But when the water isn’t that near, not so much.
The dog, a Rough Collie with a long coat, was even unhappier than I am. It’s a common belief that long-haired dogs like Collies should be shaved for winter, but it seems experts strongly disagree with that notion: the dogs with long-haired coats are able to better regulate how warm and how cool their bodies are thanks to their coats the way they naturally are. Shaving a long-haired dog interrupts the dog’s ability to self-regulate its body temperature, so I never shave him when the weather is warm.
But still, it was clear from all the panting that he was not particularly pleased with this situation.
Fortunately, a call to the maintenance team was returned right away — in Charleston, a lack of air conditioning on a day when the temperature is greater than 80 degrees is actually considered a legitimate emergency.
The maintenance man said the fan on the compressor had died, which made the compressor shut off to avoid overheating itself. He replaced the fan and within a few minutes, the temperature began dropping slowly. By the time I went to bed last night, the temperature inside the apartment was actually cool enough that I slept better than I had in a couple of days.
I guess I had assumed the warmer temperatures I’d been feeling those nights were just because it was that hot outside and the air conditioning inside just couldn’t keep up. Until it felt that the air conditioning had surrendered to the heat completely, it didn’t dawn on me that there might actually be a mechanical problem involved in the situation.
Air conditioning as we know it today was the result of chemical advances in the 19th century, but as far back as the 1750s, Benjamin Franklin and Cambridge University chemistry Professor John Hadley conducted experiments about cooling objects with evaporation.
The first large-scale electrical air conditioning unit was created by Willis Carrier in 1902. The Carrier brand is still a well-known brand in the air conditioning business.
Most of us who are around today grew up with air conditioning.
The lack of it, even these days, can often lead to death during extreme heat waves.
Sometimes, it just takes a brief absence of something to which we’ve grown accustomed to remind us of one more thing we have to be thankful for.