Whether you’ve ever admitted it or not, you owe a lot to the people who had a hand in inventing and perfecting the modern air conditioner. During a hot Athens summer, your home would be hard to live in if it weren’t for your air conditioner. To fully understand just how far air conditioning has come since its inception, here’s a bit of a history lesson on air conditioners.
The Need to Stay Cool
Humans have always had a need to beat the heat. From early advanced civilizations, including the Egyptians and the Romans, there are records of various methods that individuals used to keep themselves cool on the hottest days. Noting the temperature reduction that evaporating liquid brings, many Egyptians would hang wet cloths over their doors to allow the evaporating moisture to cool their homes.
Changing the Properties of Various Substances
If you looked inside a modern air conditioner, you would see that it still lowers the temperature of the air through evaporation. Long before the first modern air conditioner was invented, early inventors, among them Benjamin Franklin, noted that liquids that evaporate faster tend to be more effective at cooling a space.
The problem, though, was how to control this evaporation so that you didn’t have to constantly add more liquid to the system. A closed system is the ideal answer. However, the problem with a closed system is that you have to turn the refrigerant back into a liquid after it has evaporated so that you can continue to cycle the system. This became possible when Michael Faraday discovered how to liquefy certain substances by compressing those substances.
A Time-Tested Design
Two years were especially important in the development of the modern air conditioner: 1851 and 1902. In 1851, inventor John Gorrie patented his “cold air machine” that cooled the air by compressing liquid water and air. This still wasn’t the closed system that is integral to modern systems, though. That advancement came in 1902 when Willis Carrier improvised a system of coils that stayed cold while a fan blew air over the coils. This design, with a few modern enhancements, is the design that’s still in use today.
Unlike the modern air conditioners from Clockwork Heating and Cooling, early air conditioners were large and loud. This meant that most air conditioner installations were in large industrial facilities. Adding indoor cooling to manufacturing facilities helped the Industrial Revolution really kick into high gear.
Another unexpected use of air conditioners was in movie theaters. With new and varied entertainment options coming to fruition in the 1920s, movie theaters had to find a way to continue to attract crowds. One smart tactic that many promoters used was to install air conditioners in their facilities so that movie-goers would have a reason to stick around longer. With kids out of school for the summer and parents looking for relief from the heat, adding air conditioners to movie theaters became a successful business model.
Fortunately, today’s air conditioning systems from Clockwork Heating and Cooling are much smaller, quieter, and easier to use than the early air conditioners that kept movie patrons happy. One major advancement has been the improvement of the SEER of new systems. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy-Efficiency Ratio. This rating measures how efficiently an air conditioner uses power to create cool air.
New standards set to go into place in 2023 will raise the minimum SEER rating from 13 to 14, with a minimum SEER of 15 being required in southern states. These improvements mean that any new air conditioner you purchase from Clockwork Heating and Cooling will be more energy-efficient, providing the quality cooling you expect without draining your bank account.
Other modern advancements, including ground-source and air-source heat pumps, mini-split systems, and other cooling options, provide plenty of variety for homeowners in Athens.
Modern Comfort in Your Home
At Clockwork Heating and Cooling, we take pride in offering our customers state-of-the-art heating and cooling solutions. Whether we’re maintaining your furnace, repairing your air conditioner, or installing a new HVAC system, you can be sure that we’ll do it with pride. Plus, we can install humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and other indoor air quality improvement equipment. For over 35 years, customers have counted on us to keep their homes comfortable in every season. To learn more about modern air conditioners, contact us at Clockwork Heating and Cooling today.