Stay Cool: Air Conditioning Then and Now

Today's HVAC technicians install, maintain, and fix state-of-the-art heating and cooling units in millions of homes and commercial spaces across America. The science behind modern climate control systems provides the best air quality, energy efficiency, and comfort for interior spaces than ever before, as well as the quietest and least intrusive user experience. And HVAC installers deserve a lot of credit for bringing this high level of comfort to satisfied customers.

But what if the technology didn't yet exist? What would an HVAC job have been like 100 years ago? 130 years ago? 180 years ago? According to the infographic below, some job conditions may have looked something like this:

  • 100 years ago: Residential installations were scarce; the first home unit was installed at this time. The occupation also came with troublesome health risks through exposure to ammonia. This was, however, the start to something revolutionary.
  • 130 years ago: Sophisticated heating and cooling systems weren't around yet, so neither were HVAC technicians, but there were opportunities to practice quick, innovative problem solving when the need arose; one such occasion included an attempt to keep the US president alive.
  • 80 years ago: There was a far greater chance a climate control professional, had one existed, would have caught malaria and needed to rest in front of an air conditioner than have been busy heating or cooling living or working spaces for a living.

Today, more than a quarter-million HVAC technicians hold down stable jobs, and the employment outlook is bright, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Enjoy strolling through the following key moments in history that helped develop HVAC units, and professionals, into what they are today.

the history of air conditioning - Visually

Contributed to by Kim Evans

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