The History of Air Conditioning

By Bob Erbacher, Sales Manager

During these dog days of August, where would we be without air conditioning.  Just like cell phones and laptops they have become ingrained into our society so deeply that we don’t even think about them.  Until they break down of course.

But mechanical chilling wasn’t always the norm.  We actually managed to survive as a race for about 135,000 years when the closest thing to personal cooling was a hand fan.  The earliest attempts at building cooling were wealthy ancient Romans who tried circulating water from their aqueduct system through the walls of their home to try and cool things off, without much success. 

It wasn’t long after electricity was being installed in homes that the concept of air conditioner was invented.  In 1902 Willis Carrier created the modern air conditioner and the first in home installation came in 1914. It was about the size of half a bus and the cost at the time was around $20,000, which in today’s adjusted dollars would be around a quarter million.  So, it is safe to say that most people were not buying them for every space in their house.   It wasn’t until the late 30’s that room air conditioners were trimmed down to fit in a window.  Still the price tag was over $400, while at the same time your average car was $760.  Still not affordable by Mr. John Q. Public. 

So now let’s fast forward to the 1970’s and with the use of Freon we find air conditioners in over one hundred million homes throughout America.  Although they are finally within most people’s price range, they were tremendous electrical draws.  With the energy crisis hitting and the world looking to become environmentally friendly air conditioners had to adapt to survive. 

Which at last brings us to today, where nearly 90% of homes in the United States have some form of air conditioner, from standard window mounted units to ductless mini splits.  Any multi-rise structure that accommodates large groups of people has a cooling unit on its premises to chill the masses.  They are efficient, streamline and constructed to be work horses.  Today’s air conditioners use fifty percent less energy than they did just 25 years ago.  They no longer use R-22 Freon and now rely on R-410A, a type of hydrofluorocarbon which does not contribute to the depletion of the earth’s resources.

And you can’t go into a modern building anywhere that doesn’t have a monster HVAC unit that keeps all of the occupants in a very comfortable atmosphere.  The chiller plant on top of the New World Trade Center, for example, has the capacity to keep 1.8 million square feet of public space cool.  And every single one of these units needs to be cleaned, maintained and supplied with fresh filters. 

That’s where Tristate Filter and HVAC Supply comes into the timeline.  Since 2003 we have been at the forefront supplying products to the business and commercial industry.  We have all your requirements covered.  Every kind of filter size and rating, drive belts, no rinse cleaners, and ultraviolet lights that sanitize the system.  If your air conditioning unit needs something, we have it and if we don’t have it then we’ll get it for you.  Call today and speak to one of our experts who will gladly help you. 

We have come a long way in the chronicles of air conditioning and the prospect of all kinds of advancements for even better equipment points to improved and more efficient comfort.  Tristate will be there every step of the way leading air conditioning history into the future.   

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