In American everyday life, air conditioners have become indispensable. One encounters this “progress of civilization” in almost all parts of the country, primarily of course in the warm and hot regions. Nearly all rental cars of the big car rental companies are equipped with it, the absolute majority of hotel rooms, many restaurants and “shopping paradises”.
Not for nothing do Americans hold the sad record as the world’s highest energy consumer. Any average European who spends his holidays in the west, southwest or south of the states on summer days will appreciate air-conditioned zones as a source of recreation and will pay tribute to the achievements of the settlers, who once carried out the settlement without even the slightest comfort. But even on warm spring and autumn days in these regions and on hot days in metropolises of the north, an air-conditioned area (for example in the atriums of skyscrapers or in supermarkets) is a source of relaxation and regeneration for the overheated visitor.
However, this “refreshment” also entails health risks. The constant change between hot and cold puts a considerable strain on the body and the risk of colds is permanent. If you have problems with your circulation or are sensitive to “trains”, you may want to seek medical advice before travelling. In any case, a warming garment (sweater, scarf, etc.) should also be carried in your luggage when travelling in midsummer. The settings of the air conditioning in restaurants, supermarkets, etc. cannot be influenced, but must be taken for granted. Here only the “onion” look helps against stiffening of the neck muscles and colds. In our experience, the “inhalation” of Japanese medicinal herbal oil has proven itself against swelling nasal mucous membranes. Simply hold your nose over the open bottle and inhale (in the evening and in the morning or at every drastic change of climate).
Air Conditioning in the rental car can be regulated. A look at the operating instructions will help you here. By the way: if you discover water stains under the vehicle after driving in an air-conditioned car, this is usually naturally generated condensation water, which is permanently released. So there’s no reason to get excited.
In the hotel room, it depends: In modern systems, all air conditioning settings can be individually configured and the recirculation systems are usually located at the ceiling level. Then the problems should be small. Frequently, however – especially in the range up to the good middle class – you will also find air conditioners that are installed under the window (with connection to the outside) and not only circulate the air at bed height, but also bring with them a considerable noise level.
The latter should be classified as a beneficial isolation against further environmental stimuli – since the noise level remains relatively constant! However, those who are sensitive to noise have little alternative but to switch off the device. Changing rooms seldom brings success.
The air circulating over the duvet can be unpleasant for those who do not spend the night consistently under the duvet. Here the following reference may be helpful: Place the chairs of the hotel room between the air conditioner and the adjacent bed and “hang” them with bath sheets, pillows or the like. Through this “wall” the draught rises upwards and does not affect the sleep seeker.
However, air conditioning systems also have practical advantages for which they are not actually intended. If you put the wet bathing shoes in the draught shortly afterwards or directly in front of it, they dry quite quickly. However, towels and similarly large objects should not be placed on the apparatus, as this can lead to overheating.
Do without the air conditioner
Cool air at the touch of a button – air conditioners are a tempting affair. The hotter the summer, the better they sell. Compact mobile devices cost from 200 euros. But the electricity costs are quickly higher than the purchase price: Cooling can cost up to 90 euros a year – that’s more than some refrigerators consume, which remain switched on 365 days a year. How much electricity an air conditioner draws can be seen from the energy efficiency label; it should be at least an “A”.
In the case of so-called mono devices, a window must also always remain tilted in order to conduct the warm air out of the room via a hose. This means that there is a constant flow of warm air from outside, and the air conditioning system has to work continuously. This is not necessary for split units, which consist of an external and an internal module. However, the installation is more complex and is often not permitted in a rented apartment.