Editors Blog

Murphy's Law: A/C Is Important to Consumers

August 10, 2009
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An issue of USA TODAY revealed survey data about the percentage of Americans who consider air conditioning a necessity. Sixty-seven percent of 1,045 adults surveyed said “yes,” while 33 percent said “no.”

Don’t be misled by the numbers - a/c is probably even more important to most people than this data would suggest. Sometimes, statistical results vary considerably depending on how a question may be asked.

According to the Bureau of Census Characteristics of New Housing Report, 89 percent of all new homes constructed in the United States have air conditioning. I like that statistic better.

Here is an example of how questioning can affect statistical outcomes. If asked to make the choice between something I could live without versus something I consider a necessity, I might offer that I would rather go without a/c for a couple of weeks than to go without food or water.

However, if asked whether granite countertops were more of a necessity in my home than a/c, I would have to side with the air conditioning.

Obviously, if 89 percent of all newly constructed homes have a/c, there is something quite special about this feature - people sometimes die from a lack of air conditioning.

Heat waves are responsible for more deaths annually than from lightning, rain, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes, according to a 2002 study referenced at Wikipedia.com. The North American heat wave that began on July 15, 2006, killed at least 225 people, and this was not only in the typical hot climate zones.

Yes, air conditioning is important.
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