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The History Of HVAC Systems- From Cave Man to Present

It wasn’t that long ago that people were living without air conditioners or furnaces or with any kind of HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning). Here in the south, summers were hot, humid and steamy and winters were cold and chilly. Thankfully, around the mid 1800’s, the idea for centralized heating and cooling came about.

But for us southerners, it wasn’t until after World War II and the development of air conditioning that had a significant impact on the history of the South. Southern cities and businesses started to boom after World War II and then extended into the1960s. This boom was a direct result of the spread of air conditioning systems.

However, long before World War II, the idea of indoor heating and cooling have been present throughout history for thousands and thousands of years. Throughout time, there were many HVAC early inventions that aided in keeping humans shelter, rooms and buildings cool and comfortable.

Early HVAC Inventions


Cavemen knew living in caves protected them from predators, but also it was a lot cooler to dwell underground, making it a very strategic home choice. Therefore, cavemen were technically the inventors of the first geothermal cooled homes.

The Egyptians

The Egyptians were known to hang wet reeds in their windows to naturally cool their air from the moisture of the reeds. It was among one of the earlier methods for keeping the home cool. The moisture off the reeds would cool the air as the breeze blow inside the home. This eventually becomes the basis for water-cooled air conditioning!

Greeks and Romans

We can thank the ancient Greeks for inventing the aqueducts! Aqueducts provided moving water to entire cities and provided cooling and heating to their water pipe systems. Taking it a step further, the Romans, built their luxury homes and bath houses with vents or air ducts under the floors to move hot or cold air throughout the building. Keeping them cool and comfortable.


The Chinese offered the world the invention of the fan. They knew moving air on the skin created a cooling effect, so they created a device to temporarily cool our bodies. The beautiful Chinese fans we have become to know as artwork became the basis for our modern air conditioning fans.


The Victorian style home was know for high ceilings, large covered porches and recessed windows. These architectural designs were practical designs to to improve the extreme hot and cold temperatures in their homes. Still today, these practical design factors are used in home design to keep your home cool in the summer and cozy in the winter.

The 1800s

Dr. John Gorrie was the first to invent the first model of an HVAC unit by creating a system that controlled humidity through cooling coils. Dr. John Gorrie knew cool air, being heavier, flowed down across the patients and then found it way through an opening near the floor. Dr. Gorrie had the right idea. However, it required an enormous amount of “ice” to keep a room cooled continuously. Yet it was an important event in the history of air conditioning.

The 1900s

Finally, in 1902, the air conditioner was invented by Willis Carrier. In their time, early air conditioners cost from $10,000 to $50,000 - that’s $120,000 to $600,000 in today’s dollars! Air conditioning was not only expensive and consumed by the wealthy, the size of the air systems were very large- 7 feet high, 6 feet wide and 20 feet long!

30 years later, the invention of a smaller system came from. H.H Schultz and J.Q Sherman. They created a smaller AC unit that fit in a window sills for residential use. Due to this invention, the majority of homes had some form of central air condition by the 1960s.

Present Day

Due to technology, HVAC Systems are a lot more affordable, smaller, quieter, convenient, and energy efficient.

Your HVAC system is one of the biggest energy consumer in your home. New HVAC technology trends are geared toward lowering the amount of energy used to heat and cool your home, and also becoming more environmentally friendly. The HVAC landscape is continuing to improve and reimagining how your HVAC systems should work.

HVAC Smart

Smart devices allow your home’s heating and cooling systems to communicate with you in new ways. It can alert you when your air conditioner or furnace needs a repair, routine maintenance or replacement. You can control your home’s ac and heating system remotely with your smart phone.

Multi-stage system

A multi-stage air conditioner provides more consistent cooling efficiency, as well as a better balance of temperature and humidity. Because it uses multiple speeds, it will be able to precisely control the flow of cooled air all throughout your home.

Zoned HVAC

Zoned systems can heat or cool individual areas of your home by controlling zone valves or zone dampers inside the vents or ductwork, which selectively block the flow of air. Zoned systems can save you energy and money by only heating or cooling certain areas when you need it.

Humidity Control

Humidity plays as much a part in our comfort as air temperature. Humidifiers and dehumidfiers can be added as options to heating and cooling systems, and if you live in a very dry or humid climate these upgrades should definitely be on your list. About 50 percent relative humidity is considered optimal for humans. Controlling your humidity level isn’t just a comfort problem, it’s also a potential health problem. Mold is more likely to grow when the relative humidity level is above 50%. Most molds really like relative humidity above 70%. You can learn more about humidity levels on a previous blog, Are your humidity levels in your home ideal?

If you want to learn more about present day HVAC systems and how it keep your home comfortable and cost efficient, give Top Quality Heating & Cooling a Call/Text at (678)-928-1728.

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These things you probably come to know from those who are in this business from so long. They know how actually the things get changed in the field of air conditioners. How an ac unit becomes a part of day to day life and in an important manner?

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