The modern air conditioner was invented in 1902 by Mr. Carrier. Today air conditioning is found in many homes. The concept of artificially cooling homes is much older. In ancient Rome, water from an aqueduct was run through the walls of some homes to produce a cooling effect.
Modern air conditioning treats the air in our modern homes and businesses in at least two ways. It lowers the temperature of the air and it removes excess humidity from the air. Both of these processes make living in hot or humid climates much more bearable during the heat of summer.
Modern air conditioners may be installed as a central HVAC unit, providing cooling an entire home or as window units that are best at cooling one room at a time. Although window units have become much quieter in recent years, a central HVAC unit is still even quieter. In fact, you may hardly recognize that the unit is on from the noise, but you will realize that it is there because of the comfort level it brings in the home.
The use of modern air conditioning is made possible by the availability of electricity in homes. Once electric power was made available, electric fans became popular. Fans were effective at moving hot stale air out of the home and bringing cooler air inside. This was an effective way to cool many homes at night for sleeping. Once the temperature outside reaches the upper nineties, fans actually do more harm than good.
Evaporative coolers were used in many parts of the United States before air conditioning became popular. Evaporative coolers use the process of evaporation to cool the air by as much as ten to fifteen degrees. The problem is that evaporative coolers increase the humidity in the air. In areas with high humidity, they are less effective at cooling and the higher humidity interferes with the body’s ability to cool its self through perspiration.
Modern air conditioners also use the process of evaporation to cool the air, but they use a compound know as refrigerant in a closed system to produce cooling. A fan circulates air from the home over the coils that have been cooled with the refrigerant. The air is cooled and blown back into the room. In the process excess humidity is condensed and removed from the air as water which is drained to the outside of the home.
The removal of humidity from the air allows the body to use perspiration more effectively for cooling, adding more to the comfort level of humans in air conditioned cars and homes. In offices that are in warm climates, not only is air conditioning used to keep people cool, but it also helps by keeping the computers at a level where they can run efficiently without burning up.