As summer brings soaring heat and oppressive humidity, millions will turn on the air conditioner. These comfort units that homeowners activate with a switch are complex electromechanical systems, the result of a century of engineering research in cooling, thermodynamics, controls, and energy economy. Air conditioning/refrigeration was recognized as one of the 10 best 20th-century mechanical engineering achievements in 2000. Continue reading our article to find out more about When Was The Air Conditioner Invented and contact HVAC contractors near me or us at (708) 748-1946 for HVAC assistance!
Ding Huang invented a manually operated rotating fan in second-century China. Benjamin Franklin experimented with evaporation and alcohol to chill air in 1758.
IMAGINE LIFE WITHOUT AN AIR CONDITIONER.
Once a luxury, this technology cools homes, companies, hospitals, data centers, and labs. According to the Energy Information Administration, 48 percent of home energy use is for cooling and heating.
Modern commercial and residential air conditioning technology is the result of scientists and inventors coming up with imaginative solutions to issues. Read on to learn about major air conditioning milestones.
Dr. John Gorrie of Florida advised cooling towns in the 1840s. Gorrie believed freezing was the key to avoiding illnesses like malaria and making patients more comfortable, but his basic technique required northern ice.
Gorrie began experimenting with artificial cooling to avoid expensive logistics. He patented an ice-making machine powered by a horse, water, wind-driven sails, or steam in 1851. Gorrie’s discovery created the groundwork for contemporary air conditioning and refrigeration, but he was unable to commercialize it due to the death of his significant financial supporter.
Willis Carrier invented the first modern electrical air conditioning machine after years of stagnating artificial cooling ideas. While working for the Buffalo Forge Company in 1902, Carrier was entrusted with solving a humidity problem that was causing magazine pages to wrinkle at Sackett-Williams Lithographing and Publishing Company in Brooklyn.
Carrier created a device to control humidity using cooling coils and patented his “Apparatus for Treating Air,” which could humidify (by heating water) or dehumidify (by cooling water) air. As he tested and refined his technology, he also invented and patented a humidity and temperature management system for textile mills.
Carrier soon recognized humidity management and air conditioning could assist other sectors, so he left Buffalo Forge and formed Carrier Engineering Corporation with six other engineers.
COOLING PUBLIC BUILDINGS
1904 World’s Fair organizers cooled the Missouri State Building with mechanical refrigeration. 35,000 cubic feet of air per minute cooled the Missouri State Building’s 1,000-seat theater, rotunda, and other spaces. It introduced Americans to comfort cooling. Americans flocked to cinema theaters in the 1920s to see Hollywood stars.
Early cooling systems for public theaters were heating systems modified with refrigeration equipment that distributed cold air through floor vents, resulting in hot, muggy conditions at upper levels and much colder temperatures at lower levels, where patrons wrapped their feet in newspapers to stay warm. Carrier Engineering Corporation constructed the first well-designed theater cooling system at Metropolitan Theater in Los Angeles in 1922. The system blasted cool air through higher vents for greater humidity control and comfort.
In 1922, Carrier introduced a centrifugal chiller with fewer moving parts and compressor stages at New York’s Rivoli Theater. The innovative system boosted reliability and cut the cost of huge air conditioners, boosting their use nationwide.
Despite technological breakthroughs, these cooling systems were too pricey for homes. Frigidaire debuted a radio-style room chiller in 1929. Heavy, costly, and remote-controlled condenser. Frank Faust created a self-contained room chiller. 1930-1931 saw 32 GE prototypes.
General Motors’ Thomas Midgley, Albert Henne, and Robert McNary developed CFC coolants to improve air conditioner safety. In the 1990s, the Montreal Protocol banned the chemicals due to ozone depletion. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) cause climate change. Building Technologies Office and Oak Ridge National Laboratory produced eco-friendly refrigerants and technologies.
H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman patented a window-mounted air conditioner. 1932 units were pricey and scarce. Henry Galson created a cheaper window air conditioner and set up production lines. By 1947, 43,000 of these systems were sold, and homeowners had affordable air conditioning.
Most new homes had central air by the late 1960s, and window air conditioners were affordable, fueling population growth in Arizona and Florida. Energy Information Administration: 87% of homes have air conditioning.
STANDARDS DRIVE IMPROVEMENTS
The energy problem hit in the 1970s as air conditioning consumption surged. In response, politicians created regulations to reduce energy use across the board, laying the way for the Energy Department’s Appliance and Equipment Standards Program, which creates a unified federal energy efficiency requirement for air conditioner manufacturers.
The Energy Department has mandated domestic air conditioner and heat pump conservation since 1992. The initial standard should save $29 billion from 1993 to 2023. The 2006 guideline is expected to save $70 billion in energy bills from 2006 to 2035 and avoid 369 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to 72 million cars’ yearly emissions.
The program has helped clients save energy and money by improving air conditioner efficiency. Air conditioners today utilize 50% less energy than in 1990.
Ingersoll Rand and other manufacturers will integrate smart technologies into their systems to control units based on geography and weather. Grid interoperability could lead to fully variable-speed air-conditioning systems, lowering energy use.
Energy Information Administration: 80% of American residences have air conditioners, usually central systems. Air conditioning has gone from a luxury to a necessity, improving living in the industrialized world. The air conditioner changed architectural design, allowing windowless office buildings and dwellings without porches. Air conditioning greatly influenced U.S. migratory patterns and economic development, allowing millions to live, work, and start enterprises in hot, steamy climes.
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