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Heating and cooling our homes with an HVAC system is nothing foreign to the modern society, and the development of such a system has a long history. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems provide our indoors with a thermal comfort and good air quality.

Before the development of the HVAC system, even back then, homes were built with the idea to capture the sun during winter and the summer breeze during summer, and heating in the house was mostly gained from a fireplace and stove.


The “Pennsylvania stove”, developed by Benjamin Franklin in 1744, could take in the fresh air that increased the home temperature through radiating heat into the house while smoke was decreased. Throughout the 1800s, stoves continued to develop; a good example is the base burner stove which was invented by Eliphalet Knott in 1833. Isaac Orr created an airtight stove in 1836, and the one with the thermostatic draft invented F.P Oliver in 1849. As the 1900s approached, thousands of designs were available from dozens of manufacturers, and the cast iron stove manufacturing was a well-established industry during this era.


Cooling homes can be traced way back to Ancient Rome where water circulating through pipes in the walls helped to keep houses cool. Later, houses have been humidified and cooled with a spray system, while steam engines got driven by an air supply and exhaust air. During the 1800s, many engineers inspired the making of today's modern air conditioning system. Michael Faraday discovered in 1820 that ammonia could be compressed and liquefied, which allowed air to cool as it evaporated. A physician, John Gorrie created an ice making machine in 1842, which provided a cold air for his hospitalised patients. Gorrie's idea of the centralising air conditioning system that can cool down the whole city was great but never complete, and so the centralised AC system faded for the next 50 years.


The first AC machine was actually the air blower that functioned with ice, and it helped President James Garfield to keep cool when he got a fever after being shot in 1881. This machine could decrease the indoor temperature by 20 degrees. However, the first modern air conditioner came to life in 1902. The engineer Willis Haviland Carrier was able to create a system that cooled air and removed moisture in the room by sending the air through coils filled with cold water. This machine decreases the temperature and also dehumidifies the room.


As the industrial revolution flew, the HVAC system started to develop, so many new methods, better efficiency and control got modernized over the time.



By 1920, heating systems and devices were not that expensive and very reliable because of the efficiency improvements over the years. Today, we are spoiled with heating systems and smart technology that keeps us out of touch with the extreme temperature while enjoying the comfort of our homes. The HVAC system has come a long way and still being developed and improved. Today the focus is more on eco-friendliness, and that should make us excited for what the future will bring.


About The Author:

Matt J is a writer and editor for local HVAC contractor, specialized in smart technology, home improvement, and design.