Saving Money During The Hot Auburn Summer.

If you’ve gotten sticker shock from your latest electric bill, you may already suspect that Americans spend more than $22 billion a year on electricity to cool their homes with air conditioning — and use a whopping 183 billion kilowatt-hours, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That accounts for at least 15% of all energy used in some homes, and in warmer climates can represent up to 70% of your summer electric bill.

Here’s another way of looking at it: While a floor fan uses only 100 watts on the highest speed, and ceiling fans use only 15 to 95 watts depending on speed and size, a window unit AC uses 500 to 1440 watts — and a 2.5-ton central system uses about 3500 watts. That’s a massive amount of energy and suggests that if you’re using air conditioners alone to cool your home, you’re not thinking in economic or environmental terms.

Basic History Of Air Conditioning/ Auburn, Ca.

And while we may take air conditioning for granted, it wasn’t that long ago — 1881, to be precise — when a team of naval engineers built a cooling contraption to comfort a dying President James Garfield. While the device — which blew hot air upwards and employed rags soaked in freezing water — could lower room temperatures by 20 degrees, it also ate up a quarter-million pounds of ice a month. (Think of all the Pina Coladas they could’ve made instead.)