In Indianapolis in the winter, your furnace is one of the most important appliances you own. While basking in its warmth as the freezing winds rage outside, do you ever stop and think, “How did this miracle of modern technology come to be?” Here’s a brief history of furnaces and how they’ve evolved.
The History of Furnaces
In 15 A.D., the Romans invented the hypocaust. One of the earliest methods of central heating, it involved building a fire in the basement of a building, which would then warm the stone floor. That warmth would then radiate to the rest of the building. In some buildings, pipes were also built into the walls, through which hot air could circulate.
In the centuries that followed, heating was largely accomplished through fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. Then in 1885, a new furnace was developed. It used coal, which burned better and created more warmth. Also in 1885, the first thermostat was patented, allowing people to adjust their home’s heat to their ideal comfort level.
The first central heating system as we know it today was invented in 1919 by Alice Parker. Rather than coal, it used natural gas, and its heat was spread evenly through the entire house. This gave way in 1935 to the first forced air wall furnace, which used electric fans and ductwork to distribute heat.
If you’re buying a heating system now, you have a number of options. For instance, a heat pump takes heat from the outside air to warm your house. A geothermal heat pump utilizes the heat energy of the Earth itself.
A zoned heating system heats each room according to its individual needs, and can even sense when no one is there, to stop sending heat to that area. And your smart thermostat can heat your house based on the weather outside, and be controlled from anywhere using your mobile device.
To learn more about the history of furnaces and find the furnace that’s right for you today, contact us at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. We’re Indianapolis’ trusted source for quality HVAC solutions.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).