As we move closer to the harsh chill of winter, modern home heating systems become more and more necessary. Many people overlook the convenience of today’s home comfort technology. That’s because the best heating solutions are the ones you don’t realize exist. Things haven’t always been so automatic. It has taken millennia of advances to achieve the comfort we enjoy today. Let’s explore the fascinating history of home heating.
The earliest humans relied on the sun as their main source for warmth. The downside? Plenty of long nights spent shivering. Finally, one innovative person decided enough was enough. Although we’ll never know his or her name, this individual made an immense contribution to humanity building a fire. These skills caught on quickly. There is evidence of widespread fire control dating back to 125,000 years ago and even earlier. Soon enough people were building dedicated hearths to take advantage of on-demand heat.
As people learned more about the process of fire making, they began to develop technological leaps that improved home comfort. The Romans created a system called the hypocaust that was an early form of central heating. They built furnaces below homes, villas and public baths that would generate heat. Warm air was pumped through spaces below floors and behind walls in buildings. One downside to this system was the need for constant monitoring of the fire. Slaves tended to the furnace while a building’s occupants enjoyed the warmth.
Middle age techniques
After the fall of the Roman Empire, people in Europe relied on open hearths once again. A notable advancement during this time period is the development of more efficient home construction. People learned to insulate homes with clay and straw, which helped to trap in heat, requiring less fuel to help houses stay warm. Another innovation that occurred was the adoption of chimneys in homes. People now had more freedom to design homes with real fireplaces that could be placed along walls.
Coal became the heating fuel of choice for many people during the Industrial Revolution. As stoves became more popular, the coal that fueled them took a toll on the environment. Acid rain became a real concern due to coal’s byproduct, sulfur dioxide. People needed a different way to stay warm, so oil-burning furnaces gained popularity in the 1920’s. Innovation began to pick up as electric heating systems were soon introduced and installed in homes.
Home comfort has reached new heights over the last century. The ability to effortlessly control room temperature is something many people take for granted, but would have been paradise to our ancestors. Research and development today mostly focuses on insulation techniques rather than new heating methods. Conserving heat lowers energy bills and is better for the environment. Modern conveniences, such as 24/7 furnace repair, ensure that you’re never left out in the cold when temperatures drop.