Did you know that HVAC systems are more interesting than the average person thinks? On the surface, they’re probably only interesting when they work, or unfortunately, when they don’t. However, HVAC systems and the industry, as a whole, has some facts that you probably never considered. Here are five of them.
1. Air conditioners Saves the Lives of Premature Babies
Constantin P. Yaglou, Dr. Kenneth Blackfan and nurse Katherine MacKenzie Wyman conducted a three-year study from 1926-1929 on the effects of air conditioning on newborn babies. They found that in unairconditioned nurseries, the death rate of newborns was 28.9%. In air-conditioned nurseries with humidity levels between 25% and 49%, the death rate was 14.5%. In air-conditioned nurseries with humidity levels between 50% and 75%, the death rate dropped down to a mere .7%. This set the basis for today’s incubators.
2. Air conditioners Used to Cost an Arm and a Leg
The average cost of a window unit air conditioner in the 1950s was around $350. By today’s standards, that’s affordable. However, due to inflation, $350 in 1950 is equivalent to over $4,300 today. Considering that the average annual wages in 1950 was $3,300, which equals around $1.72 per hour for a 40-hour work week, a person would have to work 204 hours to afford an air conditioner, without paying any other bills.
3. One of the Earliest Heating Systems Was in Ancient Rome
The Romans developed a heating system called a hypocaust. This method of evenly heating a room was incredibly efficient and advanced for the time. The system was comprised of an open space up under a floor that was a few feet high. A fire would be burned in the space (the floor was made of concrete), and the heat would travel through the walls and out of flutes into the room. This system rivaled some of today’s best boilers.
4. The HVAC Industry Was Valued at Over $16.54 Billion USD in 2021
The HVAC industry has continuously grown every year, with the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic. The industry is expected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% over the next seven years. Global warming, which is generally considered as a negative, is actually having a positive impact on the HVAC industry revenue.
5. The First Air Conditioner Installed in the White House Cost $30,000 (Back Then)
After a fire in the West Wing of the building in 1929, reconstruction included a central AC unit installed by Carrier Engineering Company. As discussed earlier, money back then had a different value than money now. This means that this system installation would be equivalent to around $369,000 today.
Consider Yourself Enlightened About HVAC Systems
These five things you never knew about HVAC proved to be very interesting. As you can see, the HVAC industry has had a very checkered history with lots of milestones and memorable progress. The next time someone mentions anything about HVAC systems, you’ll be prepared to impress them with your little-known facts.
If you have any questions about HVAC systems, don’t hesitate to reach out to Big Sky Plumbing & Heating. Helena, MT has cold winters and dangerous snowstorms, so it’s important that your HVAC is prepared to keep you warm over the winters.