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A Brief History of Residential Heating

After Learning the History of Home Heating, You’ll Be Thankful for Today’s Home Comfort Systems

When cold weather strikes in southeast Michigan, all we have to do to stay warm and toasty is adjust the thermostat – but it wasn’t always that easy! In fact, staying warm prior to the invention of the home furnace required a lot of effort and hard work. Be thankful that you don’t have to gather wood (unless you just enjoy a fire) or coal today, and that all it takes is a flick of the wrist to enjoy a warm home!

Here’s the history of home heating through the ages:

Ancient Greeks and Roman Engineers

In the early days, enclosed wood-burning was the method used to heat homes. While it is believed central heating was invented by the ancient Greeks, Roman engineers invented the hypocaust system and are given credit for central heating advances. According to the BBC, homes, villas, and other buildings in the Roman Empire were heated using hypocaust systems, which essentially conducted furnace-heated air within the walls and under floors of these buildings.

German Monks Resurrect Central Heating

German monks relied on a simpler system in early medieval times; this system involved a furnace room which pumped warm air into their abbeys through under-floor channels. In the 13th century, the Roman hypocaust system was revived by Cistercian monks who used a combination of indoor wood burning furnaces and river diversions to provide heat according to Wikipedia.

Russians and Swedes Design Heating Systems Based on Water and Steam

The early 1700s brought about a different way of heating greenhouses and warming palaces, as the Russians and Swedes designed central heating systems which used water to distribute heat. In 1832, U.S. born Angier March Perkins invented a steam heating system, doing the majority of his work in the UK. The steam heating system was developed primarily for the Governor of the Bank of England who desired the ability to grow grapes in the cold climate.

Now Enter the Radiator and Furnace

Franz San Galli, a Polish-born Russian, changed the face of central heating forever in the 1850s when the heating radiator was born. By the late 1800s, many American homes enjoyed heat generated by cast iron radiators which relied on coal-fired boilers usually located in a basement which heated various rooms of a home via steam or hot water directed to individual room radiators.

Eventually, Dave Lennox – a name you’re likely familiar with – invented the first riveted-steel coal furnace in 1885. Since that time, the Iowa-based Lennox manufacturing company has evolved into Lennox International, a recognized brand around the world for heat and air systems.

Haley Mechanical takes pride in offering our southeast Michigan customers in Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Dexter, and surrounding communities the highest quality home comfort systems. When it comes to keeping your home toasty and warm this winter, call the experts! We offer high efficiency, environmentally friendly home comfort solutions.

Financing available

Make no payments until 2023 and pay as little as $132 a month when you finance a new Lennox system. Talk to a comfort advisor today!