When people hear the words “air conditioning”, the image of walking into a nice, cool room on a hot summer day most often comes to mind. Yet the process of using any type of mechanical procedure to modify the existing condition of the air goes back thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians would hang wet reeds in the windows of their buildings. As the water evaporated, the air blowing in would be cooled. The Romans directed water from their aqueducts through the walls of buildings to bring down the temperature. During the middle ages, Persians used cisterns and wind towers during the hot summer months.
Mechanical cooling can be traced as far back as the 2nd century Han Dynasty in China where the first rotary fan was developed. However, modern air conditioning, as we know it, came about in 1902, when Willis Carrier designed and developed the first modern unit for a commercial printing enterprise. Importantly, Carrier's invention controlled humidity as well as temperature, which helped stabilize the amount of moisture in the plant's products.
In the late 1930s and 1940s, use of air conditioning in private homes, particularly in warmer parts of the country, became more prevalent. As a result, more people chose to relocate from colder climates to what is commonly referred to today as the “Sun Belt”. As the technology improved, the types of modern day systems available have increased. These new products provide much more than lower temperatures; the very quality of the air inside a building can be improved.
There are advantages to having a modern system in the home or office. The first, and obviously most important, is the level of comfort for those inside. When temperatures are high, the impact on health (mental and physical) can be profound. Having a comfortable environment promotes a more relaxed and focused atmosphere. A second advantage is clean air inside the space. A modern unit can reduce the level of allergens, insects, and outside contaminants, making breathing easier and healthier (especially for those with allergies or asthma).
There are several types of air conditioning systems available today. The classic window units, suitable for individual rooms, have been in use since the late 1940s. Many modern residential and commercial structures have a central system, commonly known as HVAC, that combats heating, A / C, and ventilation functions. A recent development is the “split air system”. This application utilizes two separate units: the external compressor and inside outlet unit. The major feature of this type is that ductwork is not required and that the location of the system can be customized to fit the building.
Creating a comfortable, healthy space to live, work, or play in is the primary function that modern day air conditioners perform. Whether it is a small window designed unit or a major commercial HVAC system, these products will continue to make a positive impact on the health and comfort of all who use them.