Debating the Rating The National Better Business Bureau and the Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute (ARI) wanted all room air conditioners to be advertised with Btu capacity ratings, beginning in 1956.

In light of that, George M. Hanning reported on manufacturers’, dealers’, and wholesalers’ reactions during the 1955 home furnishings market show on the topic of whether rating room air conditioners by Btu rather than horsepower or tonnage would be more helpful for sales.

Those who backed the Btu rating system thought that this step toward a uniform rating system would eliminate customer confusion. Those who didn’t back the idea argued that Btu ratings weren’t any better than using horsepower or tonnage, that it wouldn’t bring forth the desired “honest” ratings, and that it would only confuse the public.

Since the public was accustomed to Btu ratings for heaters by that point in time, some people interviewed at the show thought that knowledge would be a help and others thought it would be a hindrance.

The Btu rating was adopted, and it is still used to select a room air conditioner for a particular location.


Cool Pads According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, two-thirds of the 38,500 residential buildings with two or more housing units that were started in 1975 had air conditioning installed. The multiunit residential building counted as having air conditioning if it has a central system serving all units, if a majority of units have their own air conditioning system, or if a majority of units had room air conditioning units.

Throughout the United States as a whole, 66% of these buildings and 76% of the housing units were air conditioned. In the South, 87% of these buildings and 91% of the units were air conditioned.

This same survey revealed that electricity was the predominant fuel used for heating these new buildings in all regions except for the East, while oil was used in nearly one-fourth of the edifices, reported in the July 12, 1976 News.


Banding Together The percentage of construction workers who were also labor union members decreased from 21.1% in 1991 to 20% in 1992, showed a survey by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Sheet Metal and Air Con-ditioning Contractors’ National Association’s (SMACNA’s) summary of these results appeared in the July 12, 1993 News. The apex for union membership was in 1954, when it was at 34.7%, but the percentage of workers who were union members had dropped to 16% by 1992.

Men (18.7%) were more likely to be union members than women (12.7%). Blacks (21.3%) were more likely to be union members than Whites (15.1%) or Hispanics (14.9%).

Publication date: 07/09/2001