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Most newly built homes in Washington include air conditioning – a change from decades past

In years past, AC was not standard for homes built in the Pacific Northwest. Now, they're in most new builds.

SEATTLE — Nineteen years ago, Jennifer Suemnicht became a realtor. Back then, people hardly ever asked her about air conditioning in homes. When they did, the prospective buyers were usually from out of state. Suemnicht would offer them this advice.

"I would say, just open your window at night and things really cool down most days. There's usually a couple of days a year it's that warm," Suemnicht said. 

However, she'd never offer that advice now.

"Now, it seems a lot more new construction has air conditioning because we kind of need it now. We do need it now," she said.

According to data from the U.S. Census, around 44% of homes in Seattle are currently air-conditioned. This trend is seen throughout the Pacific Northwest.

"In the Pacific Northwest as a whole, you'll find homes of a certain age are not going to come with air conditioning," Samantha Mountain, a realtor for three years, said. 

With increasingly hot, record-breaking heat becoming the norm because of climate change, Mountain says those buying older homes will more than likely invest in getting some sort of air conditioning. If you're buying a new build, both realtors tell KING 5, it will more than likely come with AC.

"New builds are catching up with the idea that heating and cooling are extremely important here in Seattle," Mountain said.

"I think having AC is a great benefit. A lot of the new construction, all of it frankly, is planning for that," Suemnicht said.

Last year, the Washington Building Code Council voted to require new apartments and homes to have a heat pump. During the warm months, heat pumps pull hot air out of the home. During cold months, it pulls hot air into the home. That requirement goes into effect in July.

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