Once upon a time, air conditioning was considered a luxury to most Americans. Often, it was the wealthy who could afford air conditioning, but today it’s become the norm for all income demographics. In fact, these days air conditioning is an essential part of life – it cools homes, businesses, hospitals, storage facilities, manufacturing facilities, laboratories, grocery stores, and other buildings that make up our daily lives.
According to the Department of Energy: The Energy Information Administration reports that, “air temperature is so important to us that 48 percent of all energy consumption in American homes is a result of cooling and heating.” The Department of Energy goes on to say, “modern commercial and residential air conditioning technology is a result of a series of advancements by scientists and inventors who challenged themselves to come up with creative solutions to problems of the day.”
Before Air Conditioners Were Invented
In the 1840s, there was a Florida man by the name of Dr. John Gorrie who believed that if we could cool cities, we would be able to relieve residents from “the evils of high temperatures.” Gorrie strongly felt that if we could create a cooling system, not only would hospital patients be more comfortable, but we could avoid diseases, such as malaria.
Unfortunately, Gorrie’s early cooling system for hospitals was difficult at best; it required that he ship ice from frozen lakes and streams in northern states down to Florida. Faced with this great expense, Gorrie decided to experiment with artificial cooling methods.
By 1851, Gorrie had designed a machine that involved ice, a horse-powered compressor, water, steam, and wood-driven sails – wow! Even though Gorrie patented his idea, his technology was unsuccessful because his chief investor passed away. Still, Gorrie’s invention did lay the foundation for future air conditioning technology.
Fast-forward to 1902, Willis Carrier was employed at the Buffalo Forge Company, where they were having a problem with humidity, which was wrinkling magazine pages. Carrier designed a system that could dehumidify by cooling water and humidify by heating water. Before long, Carrier left Buffalo Forge to form Carrier Engineering Corporation with several other engineers with the same vision.
Before cooling systems were in homes, they were in public movie theaters and certain types of businesses. In 1929, Frigidaire introduced a room cooler that could be used in homes; it looked a lot like a radio cabinet. However, it was heavy and expensive. In 1930 and 1931, General Electric produced over 30 similar porotypes. Still, not many were purchased because they were so expensive.
In 1947, everything changed when Engineer Henry Galson developed a compact, affordable window air conditioner. By 1947, 43,000 units were sold and finally home air conditioning units were affordable to the average homeowner. “By the late 1960s, most homes had central air conditioning, and window air conditioners were more affordable than ever,” according to the Department of Energy.
These days, we know better than to take our air conditioning for granted, so when it breaks down, we’re quick to call on a trained HVAC technician. So, if you’re having issues with your air conditioning unit, don’t hesitate to contact our Cleveland AC repair company to schedule a service call!