Air conditioning is a luxury – a rant

The past few days I’ve seen quite a few people around the internet stating that people in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada are stupid for not having air conditioning.

I’d like to remind those people that air conditioning is a luxury. It’s not automatically installed in every home that’s built.

Why? Why should it be?

We don’t all live in Arizona. I say that jokingly, but also truthfully. The Pacific Northwest is the rainiest place in the continental USA. Western Canada is covered with snow 6-8 months of the year, and the rest of the year, barely manages to reach 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). It’s not normal for the weather to be this hot. Nor should it be.

Fewer than 50% of homes in Canada are built with air conditioning. Actually, it’s probably closer to 30%.

I’m not as familiar with the warmer states, but I have a hunch that air conditioning is not as likely of a regular feature there as well. Air conditioning costs money. A lot of money. To install. To run. To maintain. With so many people at, or below, the poverty line, air conditioning isn’t likely something accessible to them.

Please don’t call people stupid for not having air conditioning.

Be grateful that you have air condition and recognize it for the luxury that it is. Then, understand that not everyone in the world does, and that’s okay. Heat waves like this make life unnaturally difficult to bear in this part of the world. But, there are people who deal with this heat regularly where no one has air conditioning at all! Have some compassion. It’ll take you a lot farther in life.

End Rant.

21 thoughts on “Air conditioning is a luxury – a rant

  1. I lived in Seattle for 18 years and never had a/c. How could the few really hot days warrant it? I can’t tell you how grateful I’ve been this week to be back in NY where a/c is a must. I have been thinking of people out there and I feel for their very real suffering. The animals too. It’s tragic.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s a good point! Police in the city here said they physically broke the windows of 8 vehicles already this week to free dogs out of cars. Animals, especially those with fur coats, have it really hard this week.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awful that people say such things! I grew up in the PNW, never had ac nor a need for it. I moved to Arizona and most everyone here has it (or evaporative cooling at least). But not everyone does. My first two years here, I taught in a high poverty area and some of my second graders mentioned in passing that their houses were hot, some of them slept on their porches to capture any night breezes that might cool them off.
    Our ac went out a couple years ago in the dead of summer. It only took us an hour or two to quickly pack up our kids and dogs and head to a motel for the night while we got our ac worked on. And I consider ourselves lucky to be able to do that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely believe you when you say that kids spoke in passing about sleeping on the porch because when the sun went down that was when it was more bearable to be outside then inside.

      My coworkers in Texas, who got their asses kicked by that winter storm in February, are acting like every house on the planet is built with air conditioning and that those who don’t have it are just idiots for selecting on the few homes that don’t. It’s ridiculous. Like you say – growing up in the Pacific NW you never needed it. There’s probably A LOT of the population in AZ and TX that don’t have air conditioning.


      1. Sadly, I think you are right in that there are many people, families, pets that do not have access to ac living in places like TX and AZ that really need it, but simply can’t afford it. Sad.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Not a luxury here in South Texas, but I totally get it for those of you up North. That’s silly for anyone to expect you to have a/c when your summers are so mild. Just like it’s silly when people make fun of us in Texas for shutting down the state when it snows. Totally not normal weather. Lol.


  4. I totally agree with you! I feel that way about so many luxuries here in general, it constantly boggles my mind the level of luxury that is accepted as normal and often expected. Even though I did write a comment on your other post asking if you had air conditioning, I totally get why you wouldn’t. I half-expected you might because when I lived in Vancouver (which is nowhere near where you currently live I know), it was relatively normal to have it, and coming from the UK where exactly nobody has it in their house that then biased me into thinking it might be relatively normal because of the continental summers, which generally can be extreme (to me), as with the winters, even so far up north. Also because of the massive difference between your winter and summer, the heat would be even more unbearable and deadly because heat adaptation is a real thing and takes ~6 months to achieve. So that’s a thing to consider. I also agree that the entire concept of air conditioning is a great act of arrogance of mankind! A lot of cities can only exist because air conditioning already exists.

    It’s a funny situation— you clearly have much more cold than me, yet even your normal summers reach max. temperatures higher and more reliably than here (though for a shorter period of time). But then here we rarely have dry heat, it’s a lot more humid, so for most people the difference in feel wouldn’t be much or it would feel hotter here. I personally find dry heat much worse to deal with!

    But that’s absolutely crazy for people to be calling them stupid for not having it!! That’s just classical victim blaming. Really going out of your way to avoid actually empathising with someone!


  5. We had to explain this to my mom who has AC in Ontario. We told her that people in the West typically don’t have AC because it doesn’t get this hot or stay this hot for very long #climate-change. This is abnormally hot temps for us out here. 100F is not the norm here.

    Sure, people in the ‘could’ afford AC but most homes here don’t have AC. Just like most homes here don’t have brick. It’s not stupid – just different.


  6. You mentioned Arizona. 😂 I checked the lender’s stats here and they estimate only 2% of homes don’t have air conditioning. That’s only 60,000 homes in the state. I lived in Poulsbo for a few years. The seasons were nice. I still rode my bicycle. I think my relationship to amenities changed when transportation changed. I haven’t had a car in a long time.


  7. When we first moved into our new place and found out we had air conditioning, I laughed. I thought it was unnecessary (and ridiculous) for our weather. But Holy Hanna .. I don’t think I would have survived without such a luxury over the past week of record breaking temperatures. I feel awful for family living in places with inside temperatures upwards of 40°.


  8. I’m with you on this. In ireland, our houses arent built with air conditioning, because we rarely get temps over 23 or 24 c! Most of the year is cooler, rainy, etc. Not everyone has air conditioning. If you do, be grateful for it!


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