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Did You Know? HVAC Facts

Many of us take our comfortable, climate-controlled existences for granted. The only time we really give thought to the air conditioner or heater is when there is an issue and we are being denied the luxury of heated or cooled air. The origins of modern heating and air conditioning go further back than you might think. Here are some interesting facts that just might give you a new appreciation for the comforts we enjoy today!

Air Conditioning

1. The ancient Egyptians applied the basic concept behind air conditioning by hanging moistened reeds in windows. The air blowing through the window was cooled as the water evaporated.

2. The first primitive air conditioner was created by Ding Huan, a Chinese artisan, in 180 A.D.

3. Willis Carrier invented and used the first large-scale electrical air conditioning unit in 1902.

4. The New York Stock Exchange was one of the first buildings to install air conditioning (1903).

5. Movie theaters were some of the first businesses to install air conditioning in their efforts to bring in customers.

6. Charles Gilbert Gates, of Denver, Colorado, built the first fully air-conditioned home in 1913 in Minneapolis.

7. The first President of the United States to have air conditioning in the White House was Herbert Hoover. The oval office was set up to be climate controlled at a price tag of $30,000.

8. The cost of a window air conditioning unit first on the market in 1932 would cost over $100,000 in today’s prices.

9. Air conditioning was added to the White House bedrooms by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

10. It is estimated that the amount of energy used annually by the United States for air conditioning, alone, is the same as the energy used to power the entire continent of Africa each year.

11. The invention of air conditioning changed architecture practices. Buildings no longer required high ceilings, breezeways, sleeping porches, and other amenities that were previously used to endure unbearable summer heat.

12. In 1936, Packard became the first automobile manufacturing company to incorporate air conditioning in cars. 

Heating

1. The first central heating system, known as a hypocaust, was developed by the Romans. It sent hot air from a wood-fed fire furnace into hollow spaces under the floor and in the walls.

2. After the fall of the Roman Empire, furnaces were forgotten and people used fireplaces to stay warm instead.

3. The word “furnace” comes from “fornax,” the Greek word for oven.

4. Natural gas was originally used for light, not heat.

5. The Chinese first transported natural gas via bamboo pipelines (circa 500 B.C.).

6. The first municipally-owned natural gas company was in Philadelphia and opened in 1836.

7. The first car heater was invented in 1893 by a mechanical engineer named Margaret Wilcox.

8. Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Fireplace and Franklin Stove were the predecessors of modern heating units.

9. The Governor of the Bank of England installed the first steam-heating system to allow him to grow grapes in England’s cool temperatures.

10. Cast iron was used to build old radiators at a whopping weight of more than 450 pounds per square foot.

11. Alice Park of Morriston, New Jersey was granted the first central heating system patent in 1919.

12. Your furnace helps keep your water pipes from freezing. Water lines in an unheated house can freeze in about three days when they are sealed during freezing temperatures.

Extra Tidbit about Water Heaters

The first self-contained water-heating system was actually used for hatching chicken eggs!

The next time you use your air conditioning or heating system, think about how far these technologies have come. Questions about heating and air conditioning systems? Contact GV’s Heating and Cooling.