It’s been a hot and strange (weather-wise) summer – let’s celebrate the fact that we can escape the scorching summer heat and humidity with just a flick of a switch. It’s a bit mind-blowing to think that it’s only been about 120 years since air conditioning was invented.
We thought this history would go great with our our fantastic and informative interview with Robin Wurzel, owner of 1st Home & Commercial, your go-to source for plumbing, HVAC, and electrical throughout the great state of Texas.
#1: The Inventor Who Beat Humidity
It wasn’t the heat, but the humidity. In 1902, the workers at Sackett & Wilhelms Lithographing & Printing Company in New York City had problems with the humid summer air ruining their prints. A young engineer, Willis Carrier, realized that air could be ‘dried’ by passing it through water to create fog and therefore controlling humidity – the fundamental building block for modern air conditioning.
Today, Carrier® is one of the largest air conditioning manufacturers in the world. Their innovations are found across the globe and in virtually every facet of daily life – creating comfortable and productive environments, regardless of the climate; safeguarding the global food supply by preserving the quality and freshness of food and beverages; and ensuring health and well-being by enabling the proper transport and delivery of vital medical supplies under exacting conditions.
#2: From Mansion to Mainstream
Initially, air conditioning technology served only the commercial market. The first home equipped with air conditioning was in 1914. The unit was 20 feet long and 7 feet high,costing roughly $500,000 in today's money. In 1931, another a/c option was introduced in the form of a window unit, but the price remained out-of-reach for many. However engineers kept working on smaller, more efficient, options and by the late 1940s over 43,000 units were sold with more manufacturers producing window units.
By the late 1960s, most new homes had central air conditioning, and window air conditioners were more affordable than ever, fueling population growth in hot-weather states like Arizona and Florida. Air conditioning is now in nearly 100 million American homes, representing 87 percent of all households, according to the Energy Information Administration.
#3: Cooling the Planet, One Standard at a Time
As Americans enjoyed keeping cool, the energy crisis of the 1970s initiated scrutiny into air conditioning efficiency. Laws were passed to reduce energy consumption across the board, setting the stage for the Energy Department’s Appliance and Equipment Standards Program, which established a single federal energy efficiency standard for air conditioner manufacturers.
Since 1992, the Energy Department has issued conservation standards for manufacturers of residential central air conditioners and heat pumps. The standard passed in 2006 is anticipated to result in around $70 billion in energy bill savings from 2006 to 2035 and avoid more than 369 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 72 million cars.
The program has already driven huge efficiency improvements in new air conditioning technology that has helped consumers save energy and money. In fact, new air conditioners today use about 50 percent less energy than they did in 1990.
Enjoy the great weather and be sure to check out The Single Lady Estates Practical Guide to Air Conditioning on Amazon!
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