Stepping Back into the History of Air Conditioning

history of air conditioning

Back to the Beginning: A History of Air Conditioning

Hot, hot, and hot. Those would be the three words anyone would use to describe a summer without any air conditioning. Though the warm summer days are meant to be enjoyed (because they don’t last too long), people still need a place to go and cool down so they don’t become too sunburnt, dehydrated, or ill. Many households have some form of AC at home, and these systems are used often during the summer months. But how did this system come about? Who was the inventor that helped to make hot, summer days more enjoyable? 

Homeowners can learn more about the history of the AC unit, including its inventor, in this article. They can also learn about the similarities between AC units back then compared to AC units today.

The Infamous AC Inventor

Willis CarrierThere are all kinds of modern-day inventions that were built to make life easier and more comfortable: electric mixers, washing machines, microwaves, robot vacuum cleaners, air conditioning, etc. But how many people can name the great inventors of those products?

Who was the man that invented the first modern AC? Answer: Willis Carrier. Carrier was born in Angola, New York in 1876, and he graduated with a degree in engineering not knowing that someday his future invention would be one of the most-used home systems for decades to come. 

While standing at a train platform on a foggy day, an idea struck when he realized how he could control the air’s humidity: he could reduce moisture in the air by passing it through water to create fog. In 1902, he built the first air conditioner and has been known as the “Father of Air Conditioning” ever since.

The Critical Time Period of AC Development

old style clock

The early 1900s was a time of many advancements, particularly within manufacturing and engineering as well as societal changes. For many years, people had longed for a way to create a more comfortable indoor environment by controlling its temperature. The invention of air conditioning made this possible for not only homeowners but businesses too, which led to incredible growth for all types of businesses. Movie blockbusters in the summertime grew in popularity, as people came to the theaters to escape the heat outside. 

The invention of AC improved facilities for manufacturing, making it more comfortable for employees with less heat from all of the machinery. For textile manufacturers specifically, it also improved the quality control of their products, so clothing wasn’t exposed to too much humidity during the manufacturing process. The invention of AC also paved the way for shopping malls, international travel, and eventually led to computers and servers, which are essential in today’s world. 

Air Conditioner Development From Then Until Now

outdoor hvac unitWhen comparing the first AC model to what the average person has in their home today, there have been quite a few advancements made. The original air conditioner was quite large. If someone were to try and fit the unit into their home today, it would take up an entire room, and then branch into the next room over. 

It was 7 feet high, 6 feet wide, and 20 feet long! The size of the unit has changed dramatically since the early 1900s, but it still uses the same engineering concepts: it draws out the warm air from inside of the house and pushes it outside, thus removing the heat. Only now, the device can fit right below a window or outside of the door. 

About G.F Bowman, Inc.

Since 1967, G.F. Bowman, Inc. has strived to provide quality work and high priority service. They proudly provide top-rated AC repair services in Harrisburg and Lebanon, PA. As a family-owned and operated business of three generations, they have a unique understanding of what the community needs because they are a part of the community. They believe that the only way to provide excellent service is to do it with respect and concern for their customers.

Learning About Air Conditioning Services

How Does Your AC Work?

Most modern homes have central air conditioners as their main source of cool air, and as they greatly increase the comfort of a home during hot summer months, they are a great appliance to have.

But most homeowners really don't know much about air conditioners, which is why the below frequently asked questions have been compiled, to help educate homeowners and the public about how air conditioners work. Not only will it give you a better understanding of your system, but also it can help you know the AC services you need without waiting for an emergency.

What Are Air Conditioner Parts?

An air conditioner’s main job is to, of course, keep a home and space cool. It seems like a simple task but it’s not actually the only thing an AC unit does. It also has to monitor the indoor temperature to know when to cool a space.

Additionally, they filter the air and act as a dehumidifier, too, removing moisture from the air. But even with all of this, there are a few main components that keep an AC unit moving between the indoors and outdoors:

  • ac partsRefrigerant: This is a chemical that changes between a gas and a liquid in the AC system to pull heat and cool air. It’s also known as freon.
  • Evaporator: This receives the liquid refrigerant and evaporates it into a gas.
  • Condenser: This helps transfer the heat inside the system.
  • Expansion Valve: This part regulates the refrigerant flow into the evaporator.
  • Compressor: This is a pump that pressurizes refrigerant, turning it into a liquid.

There are also drain lines, and vents and other pieces that all help make an HVAC unit work, but if you understand these AC parts, you’ll have a basic understanding of an air conditioner.

How Does an AC Work?

An air conditioner works by taking warm air from inside a house, removing the heat from the air, thereby cooling it, sending the cold air back into the house, and releasing the heat outdoors.

working ac

It seems like a simple process, but it actually has quite a few steps to accomplish this:

  1. Outside, the compressor circulates the refrigerant until it changes from a gas to a liquid.
  2. The liquid refrigerant is then sent indoors to the evaporator coils. The refrigerant cools the coils.
  3. A fan sends the indoor air over these coils, cooling the air, which also turns the liquid refrigerant back into a gas as it collects all the heat from the air.
  4. The warmed, gas refrigerant is sent back outside where the condenser works with the compressor to release the collected heat from indoors.
  5. Then the compressor once again turns the warm gas back into a cold liquid.

This process then repeats itself over and over until your house reaches the desired temperature.

Scheduling Professional Help

pro helpNow that you have a basic understanding of how your air conditioner works, you may be tempted to think you can handle any problems that come your way. But the truth is, AC units are more complicated and complex than this FAQ makes them seem.

They can face problems such as leaks and ice buildup, or frozen coils. And while it may be tempting to try and handle repairs yourself to save money, it may end up costing you more money in the long run.

Not to mention it could put yourself, and your friends and family in danger. This is because refrigerant is a dangerous chemical. It’s actually not safe to be around, which is why professionals are licensed and certified to handle it.

When refrigerant is in its gas state and inhaled, it can cause refrigerant or freon poisoning. If the poisoning is bad enough, it can actually be fatal. This is why it’s so important to leave the repairs and maintenance of your AC unit to professional tradesmen. They’ll make sure to keep your home safe and cool.

Trust Your Local Experts

G.F. Bowman, Inc. has been serving the Harrisburg, PA area for over 50 years. Their friendly and professional technicians are here to help you with your plumbing and HVAC needs. They make sure to go the extra mile to fulfill their promise and commitment to their customers.