In 1820, English scientist and inventor Michael Faraday discovered that compressing and liquefying ammonia could chill air when the liquefied ammonia was allowed to evaporate. In 1842, Florida physician John Gorrie used compressor technology to create ice, which he used to cool air for his patients in his hospital in Apalachicola, Florida. He hoped to eventually use his ice-making machine to regulate the temperature of buildings. He even envisioned centralized air conditioning that could cool entire cities. Though his prototype leaked and performed irregularly, Gorrie was granted a patent in 1851 for his ice-making machine. Though his process improved the artificial production of ice, his hopes for its success vanished soon afterwards when his chief financial backer died and Gorrie did not get the money he needed to develop the machine. According to his biographer, Vivian M. Sherlock, he blamed the "Ice King", Frederic Tudor, for his failure, suspecting that Tudor had launched a smear campaign against his invention. Dr. Gorrie died impoverished in 1855, and the dream of commonplace air conditioning went away for 50 years.
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All modern air conditioning systems, even small window package units, are equipped with internal air filters. These are generally of a lightweight gauzy material, and must be replaced or washed as conditions warrant. For example, a building in a high dust environment, or a home with furry pets, will need to have the filters changed more often than buildings without these dirt loads. Failure to replace these filters as needed will contribute to a lower heat exchange rate, resulting in wasted energy, shortened equipment life, and higher energy bills; low air flow can result in iced-over evaporator coils, which can completely stop air flow. Additionally, very dirty or plugged filters can cause overheating during a heating cycle, and can result in damage to the system or even fire.
Since the 1980s, manufacturers of HVAC equipment have been making an effort to make the systems they manufacture more efficient. This was originally driven by rising energy costs, and has more recently been driven by increased awareness of environmental issues. Additionally, improvements to the HVAC system efficiency can also help increase occupant health and productivity. In the US, the EPA has imposed tighter restrictions over the years. There are several methods for making HVAC systems more efficient.
Poorly maintained water cooling towers can promote the growth and spread of microorganisms, such as Legionella pneumophila, the infectious agent responsible for Legionnaires' disease, or thermophilic actinomycetes. As long as the cooling tower is kept clean (usually by means of a chlorine treatment), these health hazards can be avoided or reduced. Excessive air conditioning can have a negative effect on skin, causing it to dry out, and can also cause dehydration.
If a heat exchanger cracks or contains holes, leaks can release carbon monoxide into your home. Carbon monoxide is nearly impossible for humans to detect on their own due to its characteristics of being colorless and odorless. Because of this, it is referred to as “The Silent Killer”. Some symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. It is extremely important to have a HVAC technician perform a furnace inspection annually to prevent problems such as carbon monoxide poisoning. UGI Heating, Cooling & Plumbing offers yearly maintenance packages and service agreements that include yearly maintenance and furnace inspections.
Inside the unit, the air passes over the evaporator coil first, and is cooled and dehumidified. The now dehumidified, cold air then passes over the condenser coil where it is warmed up again. Then the air is released back into the room. The unit produces warm, dehumidified air and can usually be placed freely in the environment (room) that is to be conditioned.
Before selecting the installation location of air conditioner, several main factors need to be considered. First of all, the direction of air flow from the indoor units should not fall on the place of rest or work area. Secondly, there should not be any obstacles on the way of the airflow that might prevent it from covering the space of the premises as much as possible. The outdoor unit must also be located in an open space, otherwise the heat from the house will not be effectively discharged outside and the productivity of the entire system will drop sharply. It is highly advisable to install the air conditioner units in easily accessible places, for further maintenance during operation.