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The White House Wasn’t Always A ‘Cool’ Place

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White House HVAC History - Call Dixie

President’s Day is a good time to think about history, and here’s something to ponder: Do you realize if you’re a baby boomer there’s a good chance the White House did NOT have central air conditioning when you were born? It wasn’t installed until a major renovation in 1952 during the Truman administration.

That little tidbit is just one example of the HVAC revolution we’ve seen in just a handful of generations. Imagine what your life would be like without the comfort your heating and cooling professionals at Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air to provide for you.

Until the White House installed central air, presidents tried everything they could think of to deal with the stifling summer heat in Washington, D.C. During the day, President Woodrow Wilson often worked in an open-air tent set up in the Rose Garden. The 27th president, William Howard Taft, had a screened-in porch built on the roof of the White House so he could sleep outdoors. Can you imagine the Secret Service dealing with THAT security risk in this day and age?

While heating came to the White House much earlier, the process didn’t start until 1840, nearly 50 years after construction commenced. At first it only heated rooms on the first floor and took several years to be expanded to the entire house.

In the early days of the White House there also wasn’t much need to call the plumber. When the country’s 2nd president, John Adams and his wife Abigail, moved into the new White House in 1800 they were dismayed to find there was no indoor plumbing. On the plus side, outhouses meant there was no such thing as a clogged toilet. It wasn’t until 1833 that running water was introduced, mostly for drinking water and to fill reservoirs for fire protection.

Of course, those days are in the past. Today, the White House has 35 bathrooms among its 132 centrally heated and cooled rooms. If there is a plumbing or heating problem in the White House there is a staff of skilled workers to call on, as is befitting the leader of the free world.

We hope you enjoyed learning more about the history of cooling, heating, and plumbing in the White House for this Presidents’ Day. We want you to know that your HVAC and plumbing needs are just as important to us at Dixie as the needs of the White House and First Family are to the professionals who serve them.

We can help with all your home comfort needs, including yearly maintenance and emergency repairs. Call Dixie, and it’s done!

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