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In a time before Freon

August 15, 2017

It’s been said that August is the Sunday of the summer months. Maybe that’s true but August is certainly one of the hottest summer months and while we can enjoy the relief from our beaches, keeping cool hasn’t always been as easy as simply adjusting the thermostat.

Technically, the first air conditioner was invented in 1902 by Willis Carrier – though not intended for home use, rather a way to keep humidity low at the printing plant where he worked. It wasn’t until the 1920’s when air conditioning in the residential sense was introduced. But what did people do before the 20’s to keep cool? Here are a few ways that people beat the heat:

Water Fountains

Early water fountains were an easy way to cool off in the summers. Some fountains that were installed in big cities were large troughs – big enough for people to not only take a drink, but submerge their heads to keep cool. Sounds like a good idea until you find out that horses used them too and diseases were spread fairly easily.

Ice Blocks

During the winter, ice blocks would be cut and stored to use during the summer months – which required careful planning before proper refrigeration was available. Once harvested, it would be stored in naturally cool buildings (ice houses) where they would stay until delivered during the summer. The success of this approach depended on a consistently cold and long winter.

High Ceilings

Did you ever wonder why turn of the century homes had such high ceilings? If heat rises, it only makes sense to build homes to allow heat to rise and escape near the ceiling to create a natural air flow.

Front Porches

Another architectural treasure is the front porch which gave homeowners relief from the heat. Sitting outside during the evenings when the temperatures were cooler made for a more comfortable existence. Over time, porches became a place to socialize with family and friends after a long, hot day.

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As we turn the corner into fall, don’t forget about servicing your furnace as well as your air conditioner. It’s been working hard this summer – so call MaxAir and we’ll make sure you’re not cutting blocks of ice this winter! 

This time of year all many of us can think about is keeping our houses cool in 90-degree temperatures and 100% humidity. But trying to escape the heat that takes over in the summer months comes at a cost. For those who live in an older home, their summer utility bills can be astronomical. We are here to help with tips and tricks to keeping your house cool this summer.