Our furnaces are probably the most used appliance in our home during the bitterly cold winter months. But does anyone stop to think how they evolved to be a common household commodity?
Air Supply Heating and Air Conditioning would like to relate a brief history on furnaces and heat pumps as well as some interesting heating facts.
In early America, heating solely relied on the heavily forested lands. For approximately 100 years, Americans used wood to warm their homes, and in 1885, they began utilizing coal sources. In 1742, the Franklin Stove was invented and similar cast iron products burned the wood for heating purposes. Low cast iron radiators would be the next heating source, being developed in the late 19th century. Bringing central heating the coal would fire the boiler located in the basement, dispersing hot water or steam into all the other rooms. Dave Lennox built and marketed the first riveted steal coal furnace in 1885. Back in those days, they couldn’t rely on electricity and fan work to distribute the warm air. Being that heat rises, these riveted steel furnaces used ducts to deliver the warm air throughout the other rooms.
Forced Air Gas & Electric Furnaces
These two methods would be the most common and conventional way to heat American homes until 1935. That’s when the unveiling of the first “forced air” furnace was used. Heating coal and utilizing electricity to push the warm air across the ductwork within the home. Sooner rather than later, gas and oil would replace the coal, forcing the cast iron radiators into retirement. Now a days, approximately 60% of homes are heating our homes as opposed the 9% using oil, the warmer climates use heat pumps for both warmth and cooling.
Fun & Interesting Furnace Facts
1. Gas dominates heating systems. As mentioned before, the gas method is the foremost common way American homes are heated, followed by oil and electricity. Natural gas is actually the most economical way to heat homes. The US Department of Energy has conducted experiments and research. They have determined that natural gas furnaces are more cost efficient, saving you up to 30% over the other methods of heating.
2. Heating systems go way back. The earliest known discovery of heating systems goes back to 1200 B.C. Known as hypocausts back in those years and were engineered by the Romans. In those early years, furnaces also contributed to metallurgy, which aided in the making of making steel, melting metal, smelt iron, and reheating in metal mills and forging of metal.
3. There are three primary components in gas and oil furnaces. The heat exchanger, blower, and the burner. The electric furnaces are equipped with heating elements, as opposed to burners.
– Heating Furnace Blower: The blower sends breathable air throughout the ducts system.
– Furnace Heat Exchanger: The heat exchanger separates combustible gas from the breathable air.
– Furnace Burner or Heat Element: The burner or heart element generates heat.