For that matter, air conditioning could include humidifying or dehumidifying, but it doesn't: only cooling. Why weren't air conditioners called air coolers?
- Anybody can ask a question
- Anybody can answer
- The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, air conditioning has changed in meaning over time:
The term was first used in the original sense in the early 1900s:
By the later part of the century, it was used solely to refer to cooling warmer air:
So air conditioning was originally the cleansing of air, which already included temperature control. However, the meaning shifted over time to refer to any temperature control--but usually the cooling of warm air. It also shifted from industrial to more personal scope.
Probably the reason that air conditioning refers to "cooling" is because central heating was introduced first. Then the remaining problem to be solved became one of "too hot," rather than "too cold."
Also, air conditioners (and refrigerators) use a coolant called freon, that "conditions" the air. There are no similar chemicals that act on the air when it is heated.
I suspect that at the time they were introduced "conditioning" sounded like a comforting and effective thing to do - rather than merely cooling. In the same way that food mixers were called "food processors" when they were introduced because it sounded modern and technical.
A close ancestor to the modern air conditioner units was first made in 1902 by an American engineer by the name of Willis Carrier. The machine at that time was called "Apparatus for Treating Air".
Note that "ASHRAE was formed as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers by the merger in 1959 of American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE) founded in 1894 and The American Society of Refrigerating Engineers (ASRE) founded in 1904."
That said, "air conditioning" or "A/C", in lay usage almost universally refers to apparatus for cooling air. This Google Ngram shows that the modern inclusive term HVAC didn't begin to become common until ca. 1970.
ASHRAE defines HVAC system somewhat inconsistently as follows:
protected by tchrist May 12 at 1:34
Thank you for your interest in this question.
Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?