The History Of Air Conditioning

Today, air conditioning is an essential part of modern life, used to cool and dehumidify buildings, but what was its origins?

ย min. read
August 5, 2023
The History Of Air Conditioning

Air conditioning has become a staple in modern life, providing a way for people to stay cool and comfortable in hot and humid environments. But where did this technology originate from, and when was it first invented?

The idea of air conditioning dates back centuries, when people made use of natural methods like wind towers and evaporation to keep their dwellings cool. But the first mechanical air conditioner was developed during the early 1900s.

In 1902, Willis Haviland Carrier designed the first modern air conditioning system for a printing plant in Brooklyn, New York. His goal was to solve the problem of humidity control, which was causing the paper to curl and the ink to smear in the printing process. Carrier's system used a compressor and a cooling coil to cool the air, and it proved to be a success.

Air conditioning has been a part of many industries such as textile and pharma for a while, enabling better control of temperature & humidity. It wasn't until the 1950s that this technology became widely accessible to households and commercial buildings.

Air conditioning has come a long way over the years - the technology is more efficient and environmentally-friendly. These systems are sleek and compact, making it easy to install them in any building or space. Additionally, their energy-saving properties ensure that you save money on your monthly electricity bill.

The development of air conditioning in the 1950s was driven by the increasing use of refrigerants and the development of more efficient compressors. Before then, air conditioning systems were relatively large and expensive and were primarily used in commercial and industrial settings. However, as refrigerants and compressors became more advanced and affordable, air conditioning began to become more common in residential and automotive settings as well.

In the 1950s, one of the key developments in air conditioning was the "split system," which divided the condenser and evaporator into two separate units connected by a refrigerant line. This allowed for more flexibility in the installation of air conditioning systems and made them more suitable for use in residential buildings.

In addition to the development of more efficient and affordable air conditioning systems, the 1950s also saw the rise of air conditioning in the automotive industry. The first car with an air conditioning system was the Packard, which was introduced in 1939, but it wasn't until the 1950s that air conditioning became more widely available in cars.

The 1950s was a significant decade for air conditioning, as it brought more efficient and reasonably priced systems. This made the technology available to a broader range of people & businesses, bringing new comfort to homes & workplaces.

The development of air conditioning has continued since the 1950s, and there have been several significant advancements in the technology over the past four decades.

In the 1980s, there was a shift towards the use of refrigerants that had a lower environmental impact. One of the most common refrigerants used in air conditioning systems at the time was chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), which was found to contribute to ozone depletion. In response to this, the Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987, which called for the phase-out of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances. As a result, the use of CFCs in air conditioning systems declined, and alternative refrigerants such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) became more common.

During the 1990s and 2000s, there was a focus on improving the energy efficiency of air conditioning systems due to concerns about energy conservation and the rising cost of energy. Subsequently, variable speed compressors, which can modulate their delivery based on the need of cooling, have become the norm. This technology offers an efficient and cost-effective solution for air conditioning. Additionally, there was an increase in the use of inverter-type air conditioners, which can adjust their output based on the cooling demand and operate at a lower capacity for longer periods of time, leading to increased energy efficiency.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in air conditioning systems that use natural refrigerants, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) or ammonia. These refrigerants have a lower environmental impact than traditional refrigerants and are more energy-efficient. There has also been an increase in the use of smart air conditioning systems, which can be controlled and monitored remotely using a smartphone or other device.

Air conditioning technology has undergone a variety of changes in the last 40 years, striving to increase energy efficiency, reduce environmental harm and provide enhanced usability & control.