As we approach summer and temperatures begin to soar, it’s nice to know that there are always cool places you can escape to. It wasn’t always like that. Modern air conditioning was invented in 1902 and has changed the way we live, work and play. Here are 7 cool facts about AC that you probably didn’t know:
1. Electric fans came before air conditioning and are still an important component to contemporary units. The air spinning devices began popping up in homes in the 1880s. Fans actually do little to cool the air, but the “wind chill effect” they create evaporates sweat from your skin and lowers your body temperature.
2. Air conditioners work by pulling warm, moist air out of a room and then circulating it over pipes containing a refrigerant before returning cool dry air to the room. Hot air exits through an exhaust, while cool air is circulated back into the room with a blower.
3. The air conditioner’s filter is one of its most important components. The filter removes particles from the air and must be changed periodically to keep the unit running at peak efficiency and prevent pollutants from entering the room. A sometimes deadly disease known as Legionnaires is often transmitted through improperly maintained air conditioning units with dirty filters.
4. Doctors universally agree that one of the very best actions allergy sufferers can take when their allergies get the best of them is to get indoors –with an air conditioner! The cool and filtered air from air conditioners helps keep allergens away and alleviate some of the worst symptoms of allergies.
5. The Folies Bergère theatre in NYC installed the first air conditioning system in a theater in 1911. It was groundbreaking at the time, but other theaters soon followed suit. Air conditioning and movie theaters still go hand-in-hand. In fact, the hotter the weather, the higher movie theater attendance is. Big movie houses know this and often release their blockbusters in the summer months to hit those large viewing audiences.
6. The economic rise of the U.S. Sunbelt in the 1930s is directly connected to the availability of air conditioners in the region. A Harvard study attributed an increase in population and productivity in Southern states to “the development of air conditioning that made the heat much more tolerable.”
7. Air conditioning actually saves lives! According to another study by a team of American researchers, the chances of dying on really hot days has fallen more than 80 percent over the past 50 years. One of the team’s authors, MIT professor Michael Greenstone, said “it’s all due to air conditioning.”
Who knew there was so much to know about air conditioning? If you already knew just how important air conditioning and our other indoor climate control systems are, then maybe you should explore a career as a heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technician. Porter and Chester Institute has nine campuses in Connecticut and Massachusetts that offer hands-on training in HVACR and much more!