Presidential Comfort: White House HVAC and Plumbing Facts
No matter what party is in the White House, you can be sure there is always hot air circulating! As we celebrate Presidents’ Day check out these fun facts about Heating, Cooling and Plumbing systems at the White House.
Did you know?
H20 to 1600
Running water was first piped into the White House in 1833. Before that, the first bathtubs in the White House were portable and made from tin. Bathwater was hauled inside in buckets. So much for a long soak in the tub!
Hot water made it to the first family’s second floor bathroom in 1853 under Franklin Pierce’s presidency.
Today there are 35 bathrooms in the White House!
Politicians Turn up the Heat
The White House was originally built on an East-West axis allowing for maximum use of the sun for lighting and heating.
A coal-fired furnace was used to heat the dining room during President John Adams’ time in the White House, but it was not replaced when the White House was destroyed in the War of 1812.
Installation of a gravity hot-air heating system began in 1840 and used a self-contained furnace with an inner firebox made of iron. Ducts carried the warm air only to some of the rooms in the White House.
President James K. Polk ordered an expansion of the system, but it wasn’t until President Abraham Lincoln that the White House had an expanded gas heating system.
In 2017, the White House upgraded its poorly-functioning HVAC system in the West Wing. Experts say it functioned like an 81-year-old system due to its usage demands and published reports put the upgrade at a cost of $1.9 million.
Cooler Heads Prevail
In 1881, Navy engineers were tasked with cooling the air and lowering humidity levels in the room where President James A. Garfield laid, shot by an assassin, according to historical accounts. Using an electric blower, engineers forced air through a box with screens soaked in icy water. The result was the early beginnings of central air conditioning.
President William Howard Taft built a screened porch on the roof of the White House to sleep in when his White House bedroom was too hot. President Woodrow Wilson set up his office under a tent in the corner of the Rose Garden to escape from sweltering DC summers.
It wasn’t until 1930 when Carrier Engineering Company installed a true central air-conditioning system.
A new HVAC system in the executive residence was completed in January 1999 with high-efficiency units as an effort to be more environmentally conscious in the White House.
The President may have an entire staff to keep his house in order, but Apollo Home is your one company, one call away to help with your home’s plumbing, electrical or HVAC needs! Apollo Home is pleased to be the leader in the Tri-State area for reliable service for your homes.
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