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The Evolution of Heating Systems


The Evolution of Heating Systems

Since the dawn of time, people have needed a warm place to call home. Thanks to the incredible advances in technology, we have gone from collecting firewood and congregating in public bathhouses to having heat in every room in our very own homes. The modern luxury of having a heating system, some that an app on your smartphone can even control, has taken many turns to be where it is today.

The Advancements of Keeping Us Warm

The Beginning

Humans first started heating their homes by using the elements to their advantage. They would harness the heat emitted from the sun or fires they made. Many early housing was built to have a fit pit in the middle, with an open hole on the roof to let the smoke escape.

The Romans invented a form of central heating called a hypocaust. This system was most commonly used in their public bathhouses. This central heat system would circulate the warmth from flames through passageways under the floor and even sometimes filter it in the walls via pipes. Historians have traced this system all the way back to 350 BC, first seeing it occur in the temple of Ephesus. This may have been the first recorded heating system, but it soon died out due to being too labor and cost-intensive. A hypocaust was also very inaccessible; as many primitive heating systems were, the average person could not afford the materials, have the resources to build one in their own home or have time to maintain the fire.

With the fall of the Roman Empire, so went the hypocaust system. Humans went back to warming themselves with simple fire pits. Until the 800s when masonry stoves and fireplaces with early style chimneys became more common.

Innovations to Heating

Founding Father Ben Franklin gave us many modern-day luxuries such as bifocals and daylight savings time – but he was also responsible for helping us advance upon our heating systems. The Franklin Stove, gaining its name from him, was the first metal-lined fireplace. Invented in 1742, this stove’s purpose was to release more heat while creating less smoke. It wasn’t a success immediately and sold very poorly initially. The stove had a few flaws, including that it did not circulate heat particularly well. It was improved upon by David Rittenhouse later, who fixed most of the original problems. This invention was important because it influenced the shape of most, if not all, modern fireplaces.

In 1850 the world saw the invention of one of the most important pieces of heating equipment – the radiator. Invented by Franz San Galli of Russia, the radiator gained popularity across Europe and America as it was able to provide the home with hot water and spread heat.

In 1919 Alice Parker revolutionized the heating system by inventing a design for an apparatus powered by natural gas instead of the predecessor coal and wood. Her invention meant people no longer had to secure wood during cold winters or maintain fires. It also helped decrease the likelihood of a house fire because no fire was burning through the night.

Towards 1945, the end of World War II, most American households only had heat in one or two rooms. The average family could not afford to heat more rooms because heating any section of the house required specific heating equipment. The heating equipment required was often very large and very expensive, thus making it inaccessible for most families.

In the 1950s, we saw central heating become more common across America with the popularization of oil-burning furnaces. An added bonus was the flow of hot water directly into your home.

Here and Now

Modern Day Heating

Heating in the modern age is as easy as flipping a switch or opening an app on your smartphone. A central warm-air furnace heats most homes in America. A smaller percent of homes are heated (and cooled) by the operation of a heat pump. Heat pumps are a more energy-efficient alternative to modern-day furnaces as the system operates by moving warm and cool air rather than generating it.

Another energy-efficient option that we offer at Weis Comfort Systems is geothermal energy. Geothermal energy harnesses the warmth always provided by the earth’s core. No matter the time of year, the earth’s core is always around the same temperature: geothermal energy benefits the environment, your home, and your wallet.

With an increase in environmental and cost-effective options, the world of modern heating has never been more exciting or accessible.

For all of your heating needs and questions contact Weis Comfort Systems at (636) 266-2290! We take pride in making sure our community feels at the utmost comfort in their homes.

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