Natural gas air conditioning promises to soon make a comeback. Even though most of us have become used to the idea of high electric bills in the summer for air conditioning, it may come as a surprise to learn that electricity wasn’t the energy of choice for cooling not so long ago.
Most homes and businesses from the 1930s through the 1950s in the United States utilized natural gas air conditioning when temperatures rose. It wasn’t until the 1960s that electricity replaced gas as a cheaper way to cool air in hot summertime climates.
But then the Japanese government subsidized efforts to create more efficient ways to cool with natural gas air conditioning during the 1980s and by the 90s were meeting up to 30 percent of that country’s cooling needs with gas.
Natural gas air conditioning units costs more than those powered by electricity. But this disadvantage soon becomes minor when the considerably more efficient and lower maintenance characteristics of gas units are compared to those of electric air conditioners. Using up to 30 percent less energy than gas units from years ago, new models offer up to 20 years or longer of non-stop service that comes nearly maintenance-free.
With significantly lower operating costs than electricity, natural gas air conditioning can save consumers up to 50 percent of what they’re paying for the same cooling air they now get from electric air conditioning units. This can amount to a considerable savings in a very short period of time.
Besides natural gas air conditioning, other ways to cut down on energy consumption include some of the following tips:
- Set thermostats as high as you can bear in the summer and as low as you can stand in the winter.
- Turn air conditioning off during the summer when temperatures dip below 85 degrees.
- Apply caulking and weather-stripping to doors and windows to keep hot air out and cool air in
- Keep filters in air conditioning units clean. Check them once a week.
- Take advantage of cool morning and evening temps – open the windows!
Even natural gas air conditioning doesn’t hold all the answers to our current energy-consumption crisis, but with costs rising like they are, this common-sense alternative can do nothing but help.