The air conditioner is one of the most important modern inventions in history, allowing for climate control of homes and businesses. With the heat and humidity of summer bearing down on us, it’s hard to imagine a comfortable world without it.
Modern air conditioners use refrigeration to chill indoor air, utilizing a process that forces special chemical compounds to evaporate and condense over and over again in a closed system of coils. The compounds involved are refrigerants that have properties enabling them to change at relatively low temperatures. Air conditioners also contain fans that move warm interior air over these cold, refrigerant-filled coils. Central air conditioners have a whole system of ducts designed to funnel air to and from these serpentine, air-chilling coils.
The first modern electrical air conditioner was invented in 1902 by a New York-area engineer who was tasked with solving a humidity problem at a publishing company. The device cooled air and controlled humidity levels via air circulated through cooling coils. The invention prompted engineers and businesses to experiment with the technology, and the American public was first exposed to air conditioning at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.
A big breakthrough in comfort cooling technology came in the 1920s, when Americans flocked to movie theaters that were outfitted with air conditioning systems. Despite technological advancements, air conditioning units were too large and expensive for public consumption. In the 1930s, smaller residential units were developed but still remained cost-prohibitive to the public. By the late 1940s, inexpensive versions of residential air conditioners became available. By the mid-to-late 1960s, most new homes had central air conditioning, and window air conditioners were more affordable than ever, fueling population growth in hot-weather states like Arizona and Florida. According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2015 air conditioning was used in nearly 100 million American homes, representing 87% of all households.
Your friends at Dixie are proud to be a part of more than 100 years of the home comfort industry. For all your air conditioning needs, just call Dixie, and it’s done.