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Women's History Month: HVAC Edition

These Women Changed the Heating and Cooling World 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that as of May 2020, there were over 344,000 HVAC professionals. However, of that number, less than 10 percent of those workers are women. But why? Perceptions of womanhood, systematic oppression and other factors have prevented many women from entering this male-dominated field. 

Yet, HVAC history is packed with dozens of "hidden figures"––meaning women who worked behind the scenes to improve the heating and cooling industry. Some of these iconic figures include Alice H. Walker and Margaret Ingles. Interested parties can continue reading to learn more. 

The HVAC Industry Today 

Before delving into Alice H. Walker and Margert Ingles' lives, here are some fast things to know about today's HVAC industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: 

  • HVAC is one of the most lucrative home improvement industries today. On average, workers make $53,000 a year at $25.68 an hour. Of course, this can vary by state and expertise. 
  • Florida, California, and Texas have the most HVAC specialists in the country.

Furthermore, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) notes that the number of women entering the HVAC industry is rising. Nine percent of HVAC professionals are women. Given the number of vacancies on the market, that number will likely go up; the ACCA notes at least 115,000 slots for HVAC technician jobs. 

Alice H. Walker: an African-American Female Engineer (1895 to ??) alice h waker

Very little is known about Alice H. Walker's life. That's mostly because, as an African-American woman, historians did not record much of her life and death. Historians were still debating when Walker passed away. 

However, one thing is certain about her life: she hated New Jersey's freezing winters. In 1910, Walker graduated from Howard University, a Black college in Washington, D.C., and she cultivated a love of engineering. 

In 1919, she received a patent for her invention, a gas heating furnace. She hoped to make a safer appliance that didn't need to burn overnight by creating a heating source that didn't rely on firewood. 

The device was not the first of its kind, as many inventors hoped to create an efficient heating source for homes and businesses. Yet, Walker's invention would serve as the basis for many other inventions that came after hers. Researchers hope to uncover more of Walker's life and shed more light on her innovations. 

margaretMargaret Ingels: an American Female Inventor (1892 to 1971) 

Margaret Ingles was born in Paris, Kentucky, in 1892. From a very young age, she was fascinated with science and engineering. Her curiosity was piqued when she learned about condensation forming outside of glasses as a young child. 

In 1916, she graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor's in engineering, and she is credited with being the first woman to graduate with this degree from the university. After taking a job as a traffic engineer, she found her calling in the HVAC world. 

She created a host of inventions, one of which determined how much humidity was in a room. This was groundbreaking at the time, inspiring other engineers to build on her works. Ingles passed away in 1971. 


About Chad's AC Direct 

Chad's AC Direct looks forward to Women's History Month each year. It also loves helping those in Birmingham, AL with their HVAC systems. Interested parties in the area can call these professionals today for HVAC service