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Since the beginning of time, man has been trying to be more comfortable.  This includes attempting to alter the properties of the air which surrounds us. The earliest examples of this exist centuries ago back in Egypt, Rome, and other early civilization hubs.  Thankfully for us, men like Willis Carrier came around to bring us into the modern age of air conditioning!  As the decades rolled on by, the consumer’s desire to be cool made HVAC systems more and more popular. This same popularity has given rise to significant industry advances and hints at many more to come.

Ancient Times

In Egypt, they would hang reeds in their windows and let water trickle down them.  When the air from outside would blow across the reeds, the water would take some of the heat from the air.  This method is a very basic version of water to air systems similar to swamp coolers that are still used today in dry climates.  Then in Rome, where they had the aqueducts, the rich could have water circulated through their walls. Think about your whole house essentially being a radiator!  As primitive as these methods are, it shows that people will really go to great lengths to achieve comfort.

The First Real Air Conditioning

The first refrigeration unit was designed in 1755 by William Cullen.  The size and design of Cullen’s unit made it so there were no practical uses for it.  It wasn’t until 1902 that Willis Carrier invented the first electrical air conditioning unit that could be used on a large scale.  For this reason, Mr. Carrier is considered the “Father of Air Conditioning”. Even though an air conditioner now existed that was practical, most households could not yet afford one and it was regarded as a luxury item.


The economic boom after World War II is when residential air conditioning really started to take off.  In 1953, over one million units were sold! In the 1970s, central air conditioning was being implemented into most new residential construction projects.  By the 1980’s, the U.S.A. only accounted for five percent of the world’s population, but was using more A/C than the rest of the world combined! With such high usage rates, it only stands to reason that companies would try to further improve the HVAC process.

Significant Industry Advances

To begin with, A/C units could only cool an isolated area and remove humidity from the air in the process.  As technology and designs improved, air filtration and heating capabilities were included. One type of system in use today is the heat pump.  These units run like a normal air conditioner when they are cooling. Once they are set to heat, the refrigerant cycle is reversed in order to place the heat inside the home.  There are also options for mini split systems which require no ductwork and are installed in rooms as required. This type of system is very popular in Europe and Asia where most buildings are not designed with A/C in mind.

Possible Advances to Come

In the future, no one can be sure of what type of advance may come to the HVAC industry.  We do know, however, that there are plenty of organizations working on the topic. The University of Florida is working on a system that combines the water heater, dehumidifier, and air conditioner into one unit.  This is an attempt to provide more efficient heat transfer. A more efficient device translates into cost savings for the homeowner. United Technologies Research Center is also working on a new A/C that boosts efficiency by 25%.  Their system concept consists of a solid-state heat pump. This type of HVAC unit would eliminate environmental harmful refrigerants and also reduce mechanical pieces. Fewer moving parts mean less of a chance of your system going out during peak usage.

Need Help in Bay County?

If you find yourself thrust back into primitive times and are more worried about the “right now” of air conditioning.  You probably need an AC technician to check out your air conditioner. Beahan’s Heat and Air can stop the Sahara Desert feeling caused by a broken HVAC unit.  Call us today at (850) 866-2273 or send us a message from our contact page.

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