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Who Invented Air Conditioning?

North Carolina summers get hot and humid. Whittier residents depend on their air conditioning systems to beat the heat. At Premier Indoor Comfort Systems, we know that a well-functioning AC is critical for home comfort. Our skilled technicians can handle every aspect of air conditioner maintenance and repair.

Human beings have always looked for a way to cool down, but it has not always been as simple as lowering the thermostat. Once a feature reserved only for the wealthiest homes, air conditioning is the product of years of scientific progress and ingenuity.

Ancient Cooling Techniques

From an early age, people realized the cooling effect of evaporating water. Ancient cooling techniques worked on this principle. In ancient Egypt, homeowners would hang wet cloths across windows and doorways. Adding a little moisture would cool the air as it entered the home.

For royalty, a servant with a fan was one of the first versions of air conditioning. VIPs would moisten their faces with a towel, and the breeze from a waving fan supplied cooling relief.

Ancient Romans took advantage of the cool mountain water that filled their aqueducts. In wealthy homes, people would channel the stream through pipes in interior rooms. The frigid water would lower the temperature in rooms without a breeze.

Icy Relief

As people migrated north, they came to regions that had ample supplies of ice in the winter. Over time, they learned ways to harvest and store blocks of ice well into the warm summer months. They could dig a hole in the ground to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and insulate the ice with hay or sawdust.

Communities with an ice house used blocks for both refrigeration and cooling comfort. A breeze blowing over a block of ice supplied some relief from warm temperatures. Of course, relying on ice for cooling leaves the user with a wet puddle at the end.

From Ice to Mist

John Gorrie was a physician in Florida who wanted to find a way to cool his patients’ rooms. He noticed his patients with fevers suffered even more in the naturally hot air. His first attempt at a cooling machine involved ice transported from northern states. While this was a workable solution, it was expensive and impractical to store ice in the southern climate.

In 1851, he developed a process that used compressed air and water to make ice. He could then use the ice to generate a cooling mist for patients. Since he made his machine before electricity, he designed it to run on wind or waterwheel power. Gorrie’s device was the first mechanical cooling apparatus.

Incorporating Electricity

After Gorrie, the progress on cooling technology stalled for about 50 years. However, in 1902, Willis Carrier was challenged to build a device that could keep paper at a Brooklyn printing company from curling in the humidity. His invention was a machine that used evaporation and condensation to control a room’s temperature and moisture. Carrier is given credit for developing the first electric air conditioner.

From Luxury Item to Standard Feature

Carrier’s device was big and expensive. His air treatment machine and other early air conditioners were mostly put to commercial use. Only wealthy individuals and upscale hotels purchased these devices for residential customers.

As the decades of the 20th century passed, air conditioning technology improved. AC units became smaller and more affordable. Engineers discovered how different refrigerants could improve their efficiency.

World events also inspired innovation. The African-American inventor Frederick Jones designed a portable air conditioner to control the climate in field hospitals during World War II. When the war ended, Jones’ smaller units gave rise to the window air conditioners found in many homes and apartments.

Improvements to every generation of AC equipment make climate control more efficient and cleaner. Modern refrigerants like Puron do not have the same negative effects on the environment as their predecessors Freon and ammonia. Multi-speed fans reduce the energy draw of the equipment. Technological advances will continue to improve your home’s climate.

AC Help When You Need It

Problems with the air conditioner at your Whittier home can make things hot and humid quickly. Premier Indoor Comfort Systems is the company you can trust to fix your system any time of the day or night. When it is time for new equipment, we will handle your AC installation needs.

At Premier Indoor Comfort Systems, we are dedicated to client comfort in every season. Our team also supplies comprehensive heating and indoor air quality solutions. Contact us today for complete home climate services.