The History of Air Conditioning in the United States

Homeowners often take their air conditioning units for granted. These AC units not only save families the trouble of installing dozens of fans to achieve the same results, they ensure year-round comfort.

  • Willis Haviland Carrier invented the first air conditioning unit in 1902. His AC unit sent air through coils filled with cold water, subsequently cooling the air and removing moisture in the room to limit humidity.
  • Later, in the 1920s, air conditioners were used to cool theaters during the summer. In 1922, Carrier and his engineers modified heating apparatuses to reserve the heating process by shutting the vents where cool air entered the theater and by simplifying the AC units.
  • Not too long after, the home AC unit became semi-popular in the early 1930s. The first installments were window units and large, bulky systems. Then came General Motors to the rescue by introducing chlorofluorocarbons as a non-flammable coolant.
  • Air conditioners in the 1950s were much more widespread throughout American homes, and they worked great — but they wasted so much energy. In fact, air conditioning units today use roughly 50% less energy than they did back in the 50s. Another breakthrough in the AC timeline happened in the 50s, as well, when automobiles starting offering air conditioning.
  • AC innovation changed everything in the 1960s and 1970s. Central air conditioning removed window units, and then came evaporators, compressors, AC fans, and intricate ductwork. Also, there was a major energy problem in the 70s, which led the U.S. to regulate air conditioning. The government created federal standards for energy-efficiency levels in all appliances.
  • By 1993, approximately 68% of all occupied housing units had air conditioning inside their homes. During the 1990s, automobiles used dichlorodifluoromethane (R-12) for air conditioning but had to stop using this gas because it was causing serious environmental concerns and depleting the ozone layer.
  • And finally, TODAY: AC units are much more environmentally friendly and can be found in the majority of U.S. homes. And it doesn’t look like the need for AC is going anywhere for a long, long time.

If you’re in need of AC maintenance or other HVAC repairs, call Comfort Master Heating and Air today!

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