Every summer with a blink of an eye, we switch on our air conditioning to improve the comfort of our homes as temperatures and humidity rise. Even though it might seem like you can’t live without it, air conditioning is a relatively new discovery. Did you know the first unit was patented in 1902 in Brooklyn, NY?
The process of controls, thermodynamics, energy efficiency and cooling are what make it a marvel of engineering – and it is only a century into its existence! It’s also widely considered as one of the ten greatest mechanical engineering achievements of the 20th century.
The Roots of AC
It is said that an inventor crafted a manual rotary fan in China during the second century A.D. The concept of cooling was necessary in the hot seasons – and this inspired American inventor and political figure Benjamin Franklin in 1758, who conducted experiments that lead to the concept of evaporating hot air (and alcohol) to get cold temperatures.
The Modern AC
In 1902 the basis of the modern AC was developed, which was essentially a system that sends air through coils filled with cold water. This cooled the air while also removing moisture – acting as a way to control humidity in a room.
By 1933, this system was being manufactured. It became the basis of modern air conditioning – and this system is still in place in today’s units. The main differences in advancements include:
- Vapor compression
- Better diagnostics and controls
- Electronic sensors
- Updated materials
- Better energy efficiency because of strict government regulations
- Quieter machines
Smart technologies have also presented a better way to automate air flow. Thermostats now have an array of settings that allow you to control the AC’s temperature and frequency far more accurately, in order to lower energy bills.