The History of HVAC


The history of the HVAC industry dates back a lot further than most people imagine. In fact, did you know that the first HVAC equipment to come to light wasn’t called ‘HVAC’ at all? HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. The first methods used to make living more comfortable were very unconventional from what we know HVAC equipment to be today. As housing evolved over the years, so did the methods and ways we made indoor living more comfortable, supportive and healthy. Let’s take a look at some of highlights in the history of HVAC through the years.

In The Beginning:

Way back in ancient Greece and Roman times, homes (or villas) were kept warm by fires running in the home or under marble flooring. This was the beginning of residential heating.

In the 14th century, fans started to be developed, but were being used to remove toxic gases from mines. Later, the concept of fans would be redesigned and used to ventilate homes and other structures. Also in the 14th century, chimneys were starting to be added to fireplaces and stoves to make for safer heating and better indoor air quality.

In the mid 1800’s, resistance coils were invented and engineers discovered that coils got hot and would glow red when electricity was applied.

The actual HVAC movement did not actually come around until about the 20th century. In the early 1900’s it was discovered that by combining a system of coils that could circulate refrigerant along with large fans, air could be cooled inside of a structure. This discovery was first used to extract humidity from the air, but it was soon discovered that not only did it eliminate humidity…it also cooled the air. The first air conditioner was quickly patented and started making its way into homes by the late 1920s.


Later in the 1900s, the air conditioning process was made reversible. Heat pumps that extract heat from indoor air in summer to produce cooling, could be reversed to create heat energy and warm structures in the winter.

One thing’s for sure…we are lucky to have HVAC in our daily lives today!

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