From a First-Class Luxury to an Everyday Necessity
The heating and cooling industry is one of the fastest-changing industries in the nation. Air conditioners and heaters from just 10 years ago are considered outdated and inferior. Knowing this, one can only imagine what the first modern air conditioner looked like when it was invented back in 1902. This month, we’re going back in time and covering the history of HVAC to compare the first residential air conditioners to the ones we know today.
In 1902, Things Were Heating Up in a Brooklyn Printing Plant
And not in a good way! High humidity was interfering with the plant’s ability to operate. That’s when engineer Willis Haviland Carrier devised a solution. Carrier is credited with designing the first modern air conditioner using the concepts of mechanical refrigeration. By filling the coils with cold water, Carrier’s system was able to successfully cool and dehumidify the Brooklyn plant. This breakthrough marked the start of modern air conditioning in the 20th century. Today, Carrier maintains its position as one of the most innovative and reputable HVAC manufacturers in the industry.
The Wealthy Had First Dibs
Like many other inventions, air conditioning was initially accessible to only the rich. Carrier himself envisioned a world in which, “the average businessman will rise, pleasantly refreshed, having slept in an air-conditioned room. He will travel in an air-conditioned train, and toil in an air-conditioned office.” This paints a clear picture of who Carrier believed would benefit from his invention.
Thankfully, air conditioning became much more accessible with time. By the late 1960s, most new homes had central air. Finally, air conditioning had transitioned from being a first-class privilege to a basic necessity in American households.
What Major Advancements Have Been Made?
If you took a look at Carrier’s first air conditioner, you most likely would have no idea what it was. This is because today’s air conditioners look nothing like the one made 120 years ago. Carrier’s large, bulky contraption has evolved into the sleek, minimally invasive air conditioners that we know today. Here are some other advancements that have occurred since Carrier’s first model:
- An enhanced focus on energy efficiency. When air conditioning was first introduced, people were in absolute awe. It wasn’t until years later that the efficiency of air conditioners became a top priority. The new question was not how do you cool a room, but how do you get more out of your air conditioner for less money? Efficiency has become so important through the years that today’s air conditioners are classified based on their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), which we covered in-depth in this blog post.
- The introduction of programmable thermostats and smart home automation. For years, cooling and heating your home felt like a balancing act. Depending on what the weather was like outside, you needed to constantly fiddle with the thermostat to keep your home comfortable. Inventions such as programmable thermostats and zoning systems have set entirely new standards for comfort control. Perhaps the most exciting new development is home automation using smart technology. These systems can do everything from automatically adjusting the temperature based on your preferences to turning the lights on and off on a preset schedule. Even better, you can control all of these features right through your smartphone. Smart homes are rapidly gaining traction and will forever change the way we get to experience our homes in the 21st century.
- Improvements and government regulations to reduce the environmental impact. Since the 1970s, billions of dollars have been spent on air conditioning and refrigeration research. In its mission to protect the ozone layer and promote a more sustainable future, the government has implemented a number of regulations, including the phaseout of R-22 refrigerant led by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) back in 2010.
- A streamlined customer experience. Gone are the days of sitting by the phone and waiting on hold for a half-hour. In today’s digitally driven world, you can schedule appointments online and have 24/7 access to the information and resources you need. When it comes to their heating and cooling systems, today’s homeowners are more empowered and informed than they’ve ever been.
We’re Here to Give You the Best
That’s our promise to you as your local HVAC partner in Bastrop, TX, and the surrounding areas. We’re passionate about staying ahead of industry trends and giving our customers the very best that the HVAC industry can provide. Air conditioning has come a long way through the years. Since there’s no such thing as the perfect machine, there is always room for improvement. We vow to stay on the cutting edge of technology and work with the most reliable manufacturers because they share our values for innovation and superior home comfort! Whether we’re doing something as simple as changing air filters or as intricate as installing your new equipment, we’re the crew you can count on each and every season.
To take the next step, conveniently schedule your next service online or call Blue Ribbon at 512.308.3515 today!