By Omar Obeidat – Aug 10,2015

AMMAN — Having air- conditioning units in houses may have been seen as a luxury a few years ago, but the hot summer this year has made it a must for the majority of Jordanians.

According to several homeowners and traders interviewed by The Jordan Times, fans are no longer enough, especially since temperatures exceeded 40°C last week.

“Where we live is a relatively cold area even in summer, but the heatwave last week pushed us to buy air conditioning units,” said Tamara Khatib, a resident of the Tlaa Al Ali area in Amman.

The public sector employee said she and her husband bought two AC units to make their apartment a liveable place.

Ibrahim Btoush, from the southern governorate of Karak, told The Jordan Times that his house was equipped with air conditioning units last year.

“I had cooling units installed just to cope with the rising temperatures,” he added.

Mohammad Hijazi, an air-conditioning technician in Amman, said the recent heatwave has sharply increased demand for air conditioners, indicating that he installed units for an average of 15 clients a day last week.

“I used to finish work at 5am most of the days,” Hijazi said.

The technician, who has been in the field for almost a decade, said demand for the cooling units surged considerably over the past three years.

Nabil Sharabati, board member of the Jordan Chamber of Commerce representing the electronics sector, said last week’s hot spell was a surprise for merchants and consumers.

“Households rushed to buy air conditioning units last week as fans were not sufficient to mitigate the heat,” Sharabati said, adding that the demand registered last week was beyond expectations.

Usually the highest demand is registered during April and May ahead of summer, but in recent years it has been surging in July or August, the sector representative said.

Prices of air-conditioning units were relatively expensive a decade ago, but they are affordable now for the majority of Jordanian households, which caused a boom in sales, Sharabati explained, describing the sales recorded last week as unprecedented.

He indicated that the government has recently decided to restrict the import of air-conditioning units to inverters, which he said are more energy efficient.

Asked on whether demand outweighed supply recently, Sharabati noted that stores have large numbers of units to cover the domestic market, adding that Jordanian importers were the major suppliers for the Iraqi market but instability there brought exports to a halt over the past months.
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