It can be hard to imagine a hot Florida summer day without the cooling effects of air conditioning in our vehicles, homes, and work. Yet, for practical purposes, air conditioning systems as we know them today have not really been standard comfort for that long.
What was life like for people who lived in Florida before homes had air conditioning? Let’s take a look back to see what events helped pave the way for modern air conditioner systems. Then we will look at what methods they used to stay cool and survive the heat.
The Mid to Late 1800s
A lot was going on in the mid-1800s. To begin with, Florida went from being a territory of the United States to becoming an actual state on March 3, 1845. Florida was the 27 th state to become part of the growing and expanding U.S.
In 1851, Floridian Dr. John Gorrie was granted a patent for the first-ever ice-making machine. The machine would start to produce ice commercially in just a few short years. His invention would also result in a new appliance for the home: the icebox.
Another new invention that came about in 1882 was the invention of the electric fan. While fans had been around for quite some time, they had to be operated either manually, using steam power, or by burning oil or kerosene.
The Early to Mid-1900s
The first air conditioner was invented in 1902 in New York by engineer Willis Carrier. Mr. Carrier was looking for an effective way to remove humidity from a building used to for publishing. Inadvertently, his invention not only solved that problem but also created artificially cooled air to help keep workers cool, too.
In 1904, those attending the World’s Fair in St. Louis were in for a new treat: the concept of indoor cooling. The Missouri State Building was cooled using Mr. Carrier’s invention.
Mr. Carrier redefined his invention in 1922 when he developed and created new centrifugal chillers. These new chillers improved the efficiency of the air conditioner, while at the same time reduced the costs to build cooling systems.
In 1928, chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants are synthesized at General Motors by Robert McNary, Thomas Midgley, and Albert Henne during a project for Frigidaire. The result of their efforts was the creation of the first non-flammable refrigerant chemicals that could be used in refrigerators and in air conditioners.
Frigidaire released the first cooling units for rooms in 1929, largely thanks to the creation of CFCs. General Electric also designed their own cooling units and built 32 of them between 1930 and 1931.
In 1931, Frigidaire expanded upon its AC production and developed the first-ever central cooling systems for homes. In the same year, two inventors, J.Q. Sherman and H.H. Schultz, filed for a patent for window air conditioning units, which were released in 1932.
The creation of a low-cost window air conditioner unit occurred in 1947, thanks to engineer Henry Galson. That same year, 43,000 of these new units were sold to homeowners.
The Mid to Late 1900s
Advances in air conditioning designs continued to improve in the mid-1900s. New homes were being built with central air conditioning systems . The prices on window units continued to drop, allowing people with older homes but no ductwork to also cool their homes.
In the 1960s, most homes had either central air conditioning or window units to help stay cool year round. By the end of the 1960s, people were starting to migrate to new areas of the country. Two of the states that saw the most population growth during this time were Florida and Arizona.
Then the energy crisis of the 1970s hit. The U.S. Department of Energy developed different programs that required energy improvements be made in appliances, including air conditioners. Since that time, improvements have gradually been made to make air conditioning more energy efficient.
In the 1990s, concerns over greenhouse gases like CFC began to become more mainstream. Fortunately, other synthetic coolants were able to be invented that are eco-friendly and still help keep people’s homes cool.
By 2000, air conditioning units being built were more energy-efficient and eco-friendly compared to units built in 1990. On average, the units built in 2000 were as much as 50% more energy efficient. These improvements have continued through today, with 2018 units being more energy efficient compared to models built in 2008.
How People Stayed Cool Without Air Conditioning
As we saw, the widespread of use of air conditioning by homeowners did not really start to happen until the 1960s. Even though air conditioning was essentially available since 1930 for homeowners, it was still an expensive luxury most people could not afford. Instead, they turned to other ways to stay cool.
Homes built during the mid-1800s to mid-1900s were designed differently. One key feature was the use of high vaulted ceilings. On hotter days, the warmer air would rise and collect at the ceiling level and go out vents or windows. By having higher ceilings, the air below would be cooler.
Another feature found in homes during this time were windows on opposite sides from each other. By opening windows on opposite sides of the home, it created a natural breeze and air flow. In two-story homes, people would open all of the upstairs windows to create air flow and allow the heat from the lower floor to escape.
One key feature found in homes from this period were wide, long, and covered front and back porches on the north and south sides of the homes. The porches provided sufficient shade from the sun and were much cooler than staying indoors on hot summer days.
Homeowners also planted trees on the east and west sides of the home to provide shade. Mature trees would help stop direct sunlight from shining into the home and help keep it somewhat cooler inside.
In the evenings, it was common for people to sleep downstairs, if they had a two-story home, because the upstairs bedrooms were too warm. In homes with basements, these were used more frequently in the summer months since they were naturally cooler.
Aside from how homes were built, people became resourceful to escape the heat. People would go to the movies more often in the summer as most theaters in the 1920s and onward had central air conditioning. They could enjoy watching the latest Hollywood films in the cool indoor air and get a brief reprieve from hot summer days and nights.
In the 1920s, the prices of electric fans dropped and were much more affordable. Many homes started using window box fans and ceiling fans to help create air flows to cool the indoor air.
Another effective cooling method was to make a swamp cooler using the scientific principle of evaporative cooling. People would hang up wet sheets and clothing inside the home. As air blew on it, either naturally from a cross breeze in the home or from fans, it would cause the water to evaporate into the air and lower the surrounding air temperature.
People also would order extra ice for their icebox and place one block into a steel tub. They would set up a fan next to the tub and turn it on. As the ice melted, it released cold air. By using the fan to circulate this air in the room, it essentially became an air conditioner thanks to evaporative cooling.
In addition to these methods, people would take sheets and clothing and place them in the freezer to cool them down before using them. Some people would even freeze wet sheets before hanging them up as part of their indoor swamp cooler to make the cooling effects last longer.
In the 1950s and the 1960s, attic fans were very popular. These types of fans were also referred to as whole house fans because they were installed in the attic. They would suck up the hot air out of the home and vent it outdoors through the attic. Even after central and window air conditioning became more standard, attic fans were still used to help remove hot air from homes.
Eventually, as air conditioning systems became more affordable, people did not have to worry about coming up with creative ways to remain cool on hot summer days. The only time they would have to worry is when their air conditioner stopped working.
How to Stay Cool Year Round Today
Homeowners today rely on their air conditioning systems to stay cool year round. Even in the middle of winter in Central Florida, we can have periods of heat with temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s. One mistake homeowners make is not performing semi-annual maintenance on their home’s heating and cooling system.
Skipping maintenance is not good because it can lead to unexpected breakdowns and emergency service calls. In addition, systems that are not well-maintained have a much shorter lifespan and have to be replaced more often.
To ensure your home remains cool and you do not have any surprise problems with your home’s air conditioning, please feel free to call Air Rescue at (813) 612-5600 to schedule preventative maintenance today!
We also offer heat and air conditioning repair services, new HVAC system installations, air duct cleaning, repair and replacement services , and more for homes and businesses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and the surrounding areas.
We need it to survive: clean air is as important as the water we drink and the food we eat when it comes to physical and mental well-being. Unfortunately, many live their lives without any type of air filtration system in their homes and places of work.
Perhaps because many of the most troublesome air quality pollutants are functionally invisible, it can be difficult to recognize the need for whole-home air filtration as a necessary aspect of any AC installation.
Fortunately, home air cleaners and filtration systems come in a variety of cost-effective forms. When people experience the difference that air purification makes to their health and happiness, they tend to realize just how important clean air is. Here, we’ll discuss several benefits of air filtration, and some of the ways that an air purifier can work to improve your home and even your quality of life.
Allergies and Asthma
Anyone who lives with seasonal allergies can attest to the frustration and difficulty that come with regular changes in the weather. When seasons shift, it can wreak havoc and throw a monkey wrench into our overall productivity at work and at home.
Busy working people don’t have time to take off from their lives when sniffling, sneezing, watery eyes, and other hay fever symptoms emerge like clockwork following the seasonal proliferation pollen and other allergens in the air.
In addition to seasonal symptoms triggered by the explosion of pollen-producing plant life around spring time, allergy-sensitive individuals are often plagued by reactions to dust mites.
Mites live and reproduce in neglected dusty areas of the home and have been proven as a cause and irritant of dermatological and respiratory allergies. Asthma sufferers, in particular, are susceptible to dust mites and other minuscule atmospheric interlopers, and trying to get rid of them with a vacuum cleaner often just makes things worse by upsetting the resting mites and vaulting them into the air.
Air filtration works wonders for asthma and allergy sufferers by removing such triggers from the air in your home or office, giving you an oasis of respite from the ravages of seasonal allergens. Sneezing fits and bouts of hay fever symptoms can destroy healthy sleep patterns, and over-the-counter medicines to treat said symptoms often leave people feeling hazy and slow.
Adding home air cleaners as part of your next HVAC repair will lead to an immediate reduction in symptoms and suffering that seasonal allergies mean for so many.
Pets like cats and dogs are often considered a part of the family. In many homes, they’re allowed inside, on the furniture, and often sleep right alongside us in bed at night. Unfortunately, their contribution to the household goes beyond simply being cute, loveable companions. Pets leave dander everywhere they go. Dander is created from the buildup of tiny skin flakes and other microscopic pollutants that can accumulate on couches, beds, and other lounge furniture which, over time, will have a negative impact on the overall air quality in your home.
Simply vacuuming up the visible fur and debris in their wake barely makes a dent in the problem.
Have you ever had someone over for dinner, only for them to have an allergic reaction or remark on the “pet smell” in your house? Air filtration helps mitigate pet dander and creates an air system virtually free of allergens, so that any friends who are bothered by cats can finally come inside for a visit without feeling miserable the entire time.
Even if your pets are incredibly clean and well-groomed, their odor can quickly permeate the house if left unchecked, particularly if your animals are allowed freedom to move between the indoors and outdoors. In addition, there are many other odors common to living spaces which tend to hang heavily in the air even after the source has been removed.
Regular preparation of strong-smelling foods like fish, eggs, kimchi, or curry can “stain” the air in your kitchen and dining areas with their scent, as can tobacco smoke, which can waft indoors through open cracked windows and doors even if nobody smokes inside the home.
Companies specializing in air conditioning repair in Tampa, FL are well-versed in air filter installation and maintenance, and their HVAC repair professionals will be the first to sing the praises of an air purifier when it comes to ousting troublesome and lingering smells throughout your home. There’s no need to live with pungent food or smoke odors when a good filtration system can clean the air that you breathe and remove the tiny odor particles which like to hang around.
Germs and Bacteria
Even beyond allergies, there are all types of microscopic pollutants which can set up shop and reproduce in your home, biding their time until they can infiltrate your body and derail your immune system.
Mold spores, many of which can be harmful to our health and, in some cases, potentially deadly if left unchecked, tend to thrive in damp and humid areas like bathrooms, swamp coolers, and pool houses; during the dog days of the heavy Florida summer, “damp and humid” is an apt descriptor for the general atmosphere, which is why quality filtration and air conditioning near Tampa, FL is an absolute must.
Mold proliferation in your home, even if you can’t see it, can destroy a healthy immune system and cause lung infections and difficulty breathing if inhaled—sensitive people don’t even need much exposure to mold in order to be triggered by spores.
In addition to microscopic spores, germs like the flu virus and other health hazards are routinely carried into our homes from the outside world on our hands, clothes, and shoes, and can easily find a roosting place within your home to infect you when you least expect it.
An air purifier works to scrub your home free of spores, viruses, and other microscopic airborne menaces which seek to derail your life and make you sick, which is especially important when it’s hot and humid.
Air filtration systems have many benefits, but also have immediate and easily appreciable advantages when it comes to the overall home atmosphere. Their primary function may be to remove breathable pollutants from your air, but many people choose to install air purifiers for home comfort.
Clean, filtered air is, quite simply, easier to breathe. While this assertion may raise eyebrows among people who have never experienced the difference between filtered and unfiltered air, the difference is noticeable and often remarked upon by satisfied customers following the installation of an air purification system.
Heating and cooling near Tampa, FL is big business because the weather in the Sunshine State can be so oppressive; to live comfortably during the humid summer months, in particular, some level of air conditioning is an absolute must for homes and businesses alike.
A quality air filtration system does a lot of heavy lifting in the way of removing moisture from the air and creating a cooler, cleaner feeling atmosphere inside your home. In addition to the cooling benefits of a standard AC installation, air filtration actively wicks moisture molecules from the air in your space and helps dehumidify the area for maximum comfort and air conditioning efficiency.
Don’t go through another brutal summer without speaking to an HVAC repair specialist about the difference filtered air can make to your health, home, and happiness.
There are several types of air conditioners available for purchase, such as wall units and whole-house units. Before you can look at the different factors that go into an air conditioner replacement in Tampa, FL , you must determine which type of unit you would like. Watch the video to see some of the important factors, such as Energy Efficiency Ratios, that will help you choose the right air conditioner for you.
Look for air conditioners with an Energy Efficiency Ratio, or EER, of 13 or higher. This number, in addition to the Energy Star logo, means that the unit has the highest efficiency rating to cool your home and keep your cooling costs low. You must also look for the proper unit size to cool the space. Your HVAC contractor can help you determine the right size to cool your home without sacrificing efficiency.
Professional air conditioning maintenance in Tampa should be done at least once a year. This means a licensed and experienced heating and cooling company will come out to clean and inspect your air conditioner.
As you watch the video, you may be surprised to find out that every year your air conditioner goes without a professional tune-up, it can lose up to 5% of its efficiency. This means you are losing money every year you go without air conditioning service. The best ways to service and maintain your air conditioner are with professional inspections and cleanings. You should also change your air filters every time they are dirty. Depending on your usage, you may need to change the filters every month. This will keep your indoor air quality high and clean while your air conditioner is running.
The summer season is about to arrive in the Tampa area, and that means you may want to start considering an air conditioning replacement for your home. During the hottest days of summer, your air conditioner will be working hard to keep your house comfortable and cool. By installing a new, high-efficiency air conditioner unit, you can help to cut back on your energy expenses, while also improving the abilities of your HVAC system. A company offering heating and air conditioning installation in Tampa can help you make sure that you have the right unit for your property. Let’s take a quick tour of some of the fantastic benefits that high-efficiency air conditioners have to offer you.
Cut Back on Energy Bills
One of the top benefits of high-efficiency air conditioners is that these systems will help you cut back dramatically on your energy bills. When you install a brand new, high-efficiency air conditioner, your system’s SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, will increase dramatically. As a result, you will be consuming less energy during the peak cooling season of the summer.
Improved Cooling Performance
Along with helping you to cut back on your energy bills, high-efficiency air conditioners can also provide you with improved cooling performance. If you have noticed that one or more of your rooms is not adequately cooled by your current system, it may be time to invest in a new, high-efficiency model. Your efficient air conditioner will deliver climate controlled air to every space in your household.
Extended Unit Lifespan
A final benefit of a high-efficiency air conditioner is that your brand new unit will be a fantastic investment for the long term. Today’s air conditioners have longer overall lifespans than ever before. When you choose to install a high-efficiency model, the energy-saving technology of your system will help your unit to last for a decade or longer. With all of these great benefits, you should consider contacting your heating and cooling specialists for more information about the high-efficiency air conditioners that are available for your home.
To keep your air conditioner running efficiently, one of the most important things that you will need to do is change your AC filter on a regular basis. In general, you should change it at least once every few months, and you should change it more often than that if you use your AC unit everyday. Watch this video to see how you can do air conditioning maintenance in Tampa on your own by replacing your AC filter.
Your AC filter is an essential part of your air conditioner because it is responsible for filtering dirt, dust, and other debris out of your air. When you run your AC, the air in your home will circulate through your unit several times throughout the course of a day, and your filter will keep that air clean. By replacing your AC filter, you can help maintain your heating and air conditioning systems.
When you turn your air conditioner on, does it feel like it takes all day for it to get cool inside of your home? If so, you should have air conditioner repair in Tampa done right away to fix the problem that is preventing your AC unit from delivering cool air to your home. A professional heating and cooling company will be able to inspect your air conditioner and make the necessary repairs. In some cases, though, your AC unit may be beyond repair. Here are some signs that will indicate that you may need a new air conditioner altogether.
Your air conditioner isn’t sending any cold air into your home.
If your air conditioner is sending air into your home that doesn’t feel cold at all, it may have low Freon levels or the AC unit’s compressor may have failed. Air conditioner service may fix these problems and get your AC back up and running. However, a heating and air conditioning company may tell you that the repairs that are necessary simply aren’t worth the expense, in which case you should seriously consider replacing your AC unit.
Your air conditioner is leaking.
Have you noticed moisture pooling around the bottom of your air conditioner? It could just be rainwater that hasn’t evaporated yet, but it could also be refrigerant that has leaked out. Refrigerant can be very harmful to your health if you are exposed to it, so you should call a heating and air conditioning company to come out and inspect the leak. If it cannot be repaired, it might be time for you to think about getting a new AC unit to avoid any health-related issues.
Your air conditioner is making strange sounds or emitting odors.
Anytime your air conditioner makes strange sounds or smells funny, you should have a professional take a look at it. These could be signs of a large problem that needs to be dealt with right away, and if you fail to address it, you could be forced to buy a new AC unit for your home.
Central air conditioning systems can be found in residential and commercial buildings, and require a network of ducts to move air throughout a large, enclosed space. Mini-split systems are great alternatives to central air ones—they’re smaller, compact, and ductless.
These units can be mounted high on walls or closer to the ground, and are ideal for small spaces or for use in only one room of a home. If you’re interested in having a mini-split air conditioner installed in your home or office, contact a reputable AC contractor serving St. Petersburg.
Ductless mini-split air conditioners offer many advantages when compared to standard central air conditioning systems. For one, mini-splits can be easily installed in most places, since walls don’t need to be cut and removed to add bulky ductwork. These systems are meant to cool smaller spaces, such as an individual room of a house, and can be operated independently. This means that if you have multiple units in your home, you don’t have to turn them all on in order to cool down one room. Therefore, mini-splits are highly energy-efficient.
You have heard the low humming sound it makes when it turns on, but you have likely never peered in to see exactly what is going on inside your air conditioner. Understanding how your unit works can help you provide the proper air conditioning maintenance and perform adequate HVAC repair in Tampa. These factors will allow you to enjoy your air conditioner’s long and efficient working life. Keep reading if you are interested in learning a little bit about the science behind air conditioning.
What Happens Behind the Scenes
People know air conditioners as the boxes in their yards and windows that keep their homes comfortable throughout the summer. However, not many people recognize the processes of evaporation and condensation that go on inside these boxes, and thus are relatively clueless when it comes to air conditioner repair. Your air conditioner creates cool air using a substance called a refrigerant. This refrigerant evaporates at a low temperature inside metal coils; once the refrigerant evaporates, the coils cool. A fan blows air over these cool coils, and this newly cooled air circulates through your ductwork and into the various rooms of your home. Your unit’s compressor then causes the refrigerant to condensate and turn back into a liquid, which creates heat. Another fan expels this heat to the outside of the unit, and the refrigerant continues the cycle by evaporating again.
Two important acronyms that describe different aspects of air conditioners are Btu and EER. Btu stands for British thermal units and tells you how much heat is required to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Btu is important when it comes to choosing the right size unit for your home. EER stands for Energy Efficiency Rating and compares a unit’s Btu with its wattage. Higher EER ratings mean more savings.
The Energy Efficiency Difference
An energy efficient air conditioner makes the most of the power that it is given. This means that you will save money on your energy bills and reduce your home’s carbon footprint at the same time. These units also tend to last longer.
Your air conditioning system is a key ingredient for your comfort and overall happiness during the hottest months of the year. After you schedule a new AC installation for your home, your system will require routine AC repair in order to remain in peak working condition. An air conditioner repair company near Tampa can provide you with all of the repair services needed to keep your system running great. By scheduling AC system repair at the first indication of a problem, you can ensure that you are kept cool throughout the summer. Read on for a look at some of the most common reasons for AC repair.
Unit Fails to Turn On
When your air conditioner fails to turn on, you may be faced with a serious HVAC emergency.
Before you contact your repair professional, you should check to make sure that your thermostat is at the correct setting. Occasionally, thermostats can be placed on the wrong setting, causing the air conditioner to turn off. If a thermostat adjustment does not turn on your AC, it is time to contact the professionals.
Home Is Not Cool Enough
Your air conditioner should keep you as cool and comfortable as you desire. If you have noticed that your AC system is not as effective as it has been in previous years, it may be time to set up a service appointment. During your AC service, your technician may change your filter and check your condenser coil for signs of an obstruction.
Utility Bills Are on the Rise
If your cooling costs have suddenly skyrocketed, this could be an indication that you are in need of air conditioning repairs. When your condenser coil or cooling fins become clogged or broken, this could result in a spike in your energy bills. By setting up services with a trained HVAC professional, you can restore the performance and efficiency of your air conditioning system.
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