When you start sweating and heating up in the Summer, isn’t it nice to be able to simply walk to your A/C thermostat and make it cooler in your home within minutes? Imagine what life would be like if you didn’t have A/C technology! Once thought of as a luxury, the A/C unit is now an essential component in any housing/building project, from residential homes to large hospitals. But, it took significant scientific advancement and some brilliant minds to solve this everyday problem. Continue reading to discover how the air conditioner as we know it came to be!
Early Days of the Air Conditioner
It all started in the 1840s, when inventor Dr. John Gorrie proposed an idea to use a machine to cool cities, warding away the unpleasant heat. Gorrie thought that keeping cool could save people from diseases like Malaria. Unfortunately, the only system he had proposed seemed rather inefficient as it required ice to be shipped to hospital centers from frozen lakes. Because of its inefficiency, Gorrie created a machine that created ice through a compressor powered by water and wind sails. Alas, he was never able to bring his invention into the commercial scene, but his invention paved the way for future refrigeration and air conditioning technology.
Several years later, engineer Willis Carrier aided in the invention of the first modern electric air conditioning unit. He created the invention due to a humidity problem that was plaguing the publishing company he worked at.
Through several experiments, Carrier drafted a system that controlled humidity using cooling coils, which he named “Apparatus for Treating Air”, which could humidify and de-humidify any room through the process of heating and cooling water. Shortly after, Carrier knew that humidity control wasn’t just beneficial to textile and publishing mills. He decided to form a corporation with several engineers.
The Air Conditioning Explosion
From 1929 to around the late 1960’s, there had been many iterations and revisions on Carrier’s cooling technology. This includes Frigidaire’s split-system room cooler, and General Electric’s self-contained room cooler. There were many refrigerating fluids tested and tried throughout the 1900’s, many discontinued because of adverse environmental effects. It wasn’t until engineer Henry Galson developed a compact inexpensive version of H.H. Schultz’ window A/C that it became affordable for the common populace.
By the 1960’s homes were being built with air conditioners, especially in hotter areas like Florida and Arizona. This became very important within the next decade, as soaring usage of air conditioning created nationwide efficiency problems. Lawmakers and the Energy Department passed laws to reduce energy consumption, and issued conservation standards for residential A/C manufacturers. These laws, coupled with other ordinances and regulations have driven huge efficiency improvement projects since. It is estimated that today’s consumers use about 50% less energy today than we did decades ago.
The Future of A/C
Currently, the Energy Department’s Emerging Technologies Program supports applied research and development to further sustainable and efficient air conditioning solutions.
Next time your A/C has troubles, be thankful we even have it in the first place! Then you can call AirOne at 512-392-0022 for all your HVAC needs. We’ve been in the business for years and guarantee good prices and great services for whatever you may need!