The History of HVAC
The history of HVAC dates back a lot further than most people imagine. Certainly, it pre-dates the modern acronym that describes it — if you didn’t know, “HVAC” stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. As housing evolved over the years, so did the methods and means to make the indoor living more comfortable, supportive and healthy. Here are some highlights of the history of HVAC through the centuries:
- In ancient Greece and Rome, villas were kept comfy by fires in channels running beneath marble floors. This early example of residential heating is the primitive forerunner of today’s efficient radiant floors.
- In 14th century Europe, efficient fans were developed to remove toxic gases from mines. The principles would later be adapted to ventilate homes and other structures. Around the same time, chimneys were added to fireplaces and stoves to make heating safer and indoor air quality healthier.
- In 1861, William Siemens devised resistance coils that glowed red hot when electricity was applied. Installed in an enclosure with a fan to blow air through the coils, Siemens’ device proved the concept of the electric furnace.
- The 20th century became the fast track for HVAC development. In 1902, Willis Carrier combined a system of coils that circulated refrigerant along with large fans to “condition” the air inside a Brooklyn printing plant. Though his primary intention was to extract humidity, the process had the pleasant side effect of cooling air, too. Carrier soon patented this first air conditioner, which started finding its way into homes by the 1920s. By 1953, more than a million air conditioners were selling each year.
- Later in the 1900s, the air conditioning process was made reversible. Heat pumps that extract heat from indoor air in summer to produce cool comfort also harvest latent outdoor heat energy in winter to warm the home, as well.
At Sobieski Services Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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