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HVAC: An Interesting History

HVAC history and theory is an area we don't often hear about, so I thought for todays blog, I would drop some knowledge on you all! After you read this blog, you can go on our app and take our certified courses, Heating Theory and Air Conditioning Theory for more fun facts!

First, lets start with how air conditioning was invented in the first place, and it was earlier than you think! Though there are stories of cooling rooms in crazy ways dating back to ancient Egypt, the first scientific record of MODERN use was recorded in 1820,when Michael Faraday invented the first refrigerant, by compressing ammonia and then allowing it to evaporate. The first modern air conditioner invention came in the 1840's when doctor and inventor John Gorrie theorized that cooling could be a great remedy for the sick! It was a process of collecting HUGE blocks of ice from frozen ponds and lakes and bringing them to hospital rooms to cool them. This was obviously not a logical system, so instead he came up with a refrigeration system that made ice in the room using horsepower, wind sails, or steam!

Perfection of the system, however, was done by Willis Carrier (yes, THAT Carrier) Who was engineering for the FORGE company and later used his apparatus to mobilize Carrier Engineering Corporation with 6 other engineers. All of this culminated in the first modern air conditioner being invented in 1902 which is, of course, credited to Carrier!

Now that we know how it began I will list here some fun facts you may not know about the history of HVAC!

  • The first commercial building with air conditioning was the New York Stock Exchange!

  • The reason children have summer break from school, is that before air conditioning, summer was thought to be too hot to learn!

  • The Romans had the first recorded residential heating source, and even had their own version of radiant flooring

  • Scientists have found that living with air conditioning can actually decrease our human tolerance for heat!

  • The first president to have AC in the White House was Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression. Imagine how hot it was before that??

  • About 60 percent of all homes are heated with gas furnaces today

The more you know about the history of HVAC the better you can understand just how far this industry has come! One thing is for sure, as long as humans have brains we will continue to advance in this field and implement technology to make our jobs as techs easier. Until then, catch me sweating in the attic or freezing on the roof. Just like you!


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