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The selection of the working fluids (refrigerants) has a significant impact not only on the performance of the air conditioners but on the environment as well. Most refrigerants used for air conditioning contribute to global warming, and many also deplete the ozone layer.[60] CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs are potent greenhouse gases when leaked to the atmosphere.

In 1902, the first modern electrical air conditioning unit was invented by Willis Carrier in Buffalo, New York.[citation needed] After graduating from Cornell University, Carrier found a job at the Buffalo Forge Company. There, he began experimenting with air conditioning as a way to solve an application problem for the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company in Brooklyn, New York. The first air conditioner, designed and built in Buffalo by Carrier, began working on 17 July 1902.[citation needed]
In the most general sense, air conditioning can refer to any form of technology that modifies the condition of air (heating, (de-) humidification, cooling, cleaning, ventilation, or air movement). In common usage, though, "air conditioning" refers to systems which cool air. In construction, a complete system of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning is referred to as HVAC.[3]

Whole-house fans have helped cool homes for a century. The basic design is simple: An attic-mounted fan pushes hot air out through attic vents and draws cooler, outside air in through open doors and windows. This rapid air exchange—large fans can purge a house of hot air in two to three minutes—not only removes built-up heat but also creates a pleasant breeze.
Packaged terminal air conditioner (PTAC) systems are also known as wall-split air conditioning systems.[36] They are ductless systems. PTACs, which are frequently used in hotels, have two separate units (terminal packages), the evaporative unit on the interior and the condensing unit on the exterior, with an opening passing through the wall and connecting them. This minimizes the interior system footprint and allows each room to be adjusted independently. PTAC systems may be adapted to provide heating in cold weather, either directly by using an electric strip, gas, or other heater, or by reversing the refrigerant flow to heat the interior and draw heat from the exterior air, converting the air conditioner into a heat pump. While room air conditioning provides maximum flexibility, when used to cool many rooms at a time it is generally more expensive than central air conditioning.
If your thermostat has a small lever that moves along a calibrated scale that indicates “longer” (not the heat temperature lever), you can try adjusting this—the heat anticipator. Just set it one calibration mark closer to the “longer” setting if the furnace goes off and on too frequently or one mark away if the furnace allows room temperature to rise too high or drop too low before going on or off. It may take several hours for the thermostat to stabilize at this setting, so wait a while and then adjust it again if necessary.
Air conditioner equipment power in the U.S. is often described in terms of "tons of refrigeration", with each approximately equal to the cooling power of one short ton (2000 pounds or 907 kilograms) of ice melting in a 24-hour period. The value is defined as 12,000 BTU per hour, or 3517 watts.[32] Residential central air systems are usually from 1 to 5 tons (3.5 to 18 kW) in capacity.