People depend on the use of furnaces to keep their homes and businesses warm and comfortable during the cold wintery months. They are considered more or less a staple and few give them a second thought unless repairs are needed. But not everyone was so lucky to enjoy the benefits of a furnace in years past. Like most appliances, furnaces were born and evolved into the high-efficient models we have today. With that in mind, we at Air Supply Heating and Air Conditioning would like to take the opportunity to touch in the history of furnaces and some fun facts.
History of Home Heating Furnaces
Wood Burning Fireplaces to Franklin Stoves – Heating solely relied on the heavily forested lands in early America. Americans used wood to warm their homes for about 100 years; until 1885 when coal became the resource. For heating purposes the Franklin Stove was invented and similar cast iron products burned the wood in 1742.
Cast Iron Radiators to Coal Furnaces – Developed in the late 19th century, low cast iron radiators would be the next heating source. By dispersing hot water or steam into all the other rooms, central heating consisted of the coal fueling the boiler located in the basement. The first riveted steel coal furnace would be built and marketed in 1885 by Dave Lennox. These riveted steal furnaces used ducts to disperse the warm air into the other rooms since the heat rises, they couldn’t rely on electricity and fan work to distribute the warm air back then.
Forced Air Furnaces – Until 1935, these two methods were not only the most common way to heat American homes, but also the most conventional. By using electricity to push the warm air across the ductwork within the home from heating coal, the unveiling of the first “forced air” furnace was born. Eventually, the cast iron radiators became obsolete when gas and oil sources would replace coal. The warmer climates use heat pumps for both warmth and cooling, in modern days where about 60% of homes are heating our homes as opposed the 9% using oil.
Additional Furnace Facts
Natural Gas Furnace Heating – As previously mentioned, gas, more specifically, natural gas, has become the primary method for heating American homes and the most economical, followed by electric and oil. It has been concluded that the natural gas furnaces are more cost efficient, according to the studies conducted by the US Department of Energy , which saves you up to 30% on the other methods of heating.
Hypocausts – Heating systems go back to 1200 B.C. as the earliest known discovery. Engineered by the Romans, they developed hypocausts to warm the building of Ancient Rome. In addition to providing heat for the inside of buildings, it also aided metallurgy; helping them melt metal, smelt iron, make steal, and reheating in metal mills and forging of metal.
Parts of a Gas or Electric Furnace System
In modern furnaces, there are 3 primary components; the heat exchanger, blower, and the burner. However, electric furnaces use heating elements instead of burners.
Blower: Breathable air is sent throughout the ducts system due to the blower.
Burner or Heat Element: The generation of heat is produced by the burner or heat element.
Heat Exchanger: Combustible gas is separated from the breathable air with the function of the heat exchanger.
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We hope this gave you a new outlook on the modern conveniences of furnaces. If your furnace is in need of maintenance, repair, or even replacing, call in the experts of Air Supply Heating and Air Conditioning and let our experts take care of your furnace’s needs.