Once upon a time, we didn’t have furnaces and heat pumps to keep us warm and toasty. Today we want to take you back in time and tell you the story of home heating …
The very beginning
First, if you want to go back to the very beginning of the story of heat, you have to go back at least 1 million years! Anthropologists (people who study humanity and cultures) estimate that fire was first invented 1.7 million years ago, although they are not certain about that timeline. To get that data, they tested very old wood ash, and tried to determine whether it was burned from natural causes, or was burned by ancient humans.
Jump forward over a million years …
From here, the story doesn’t really heat up until 2500 B.C. This is when the ancient Greeks created the first-ever “central heating system” … if you could call it that! There was a basic duct system to circulate heat from fires generated under the floor of the room you were trying to heat. However, they weren’t the only culture that has discovered this! The ancient Koreas had developed a system heating system around the same time, called an ondol. It allowed the fire from an underground fireplace to heat the floor above, a floor that was made of stone slabs, clay, and oil paper, to make sure it would warm easily without heating through too much.
Turning up the heat
While these early forms of radiant heat are great, remember that fire is an extremely inefficient method of heating. These inventions just discussed only had a 30% AFUE rating at best – meaning that 70% of the energy input goes to waste. Someone needed to invent a new method that didn’t use fire. But how would that even be possible?
Truly, not much progress was made on this front until the 1800s. Even Benjamin Franklin’s “Franklin stove,” which he invented in 1742, still used fire to heat homes, although it did have an improved design that let off less smoke as waste.
The person who finally came up with a central heating system that wasn’t fire-powered, or later steam-powered, is a woman you likely haven’t heard of before: Alice Parker. In 1919, she came up with a central heating system powered by natural gas, so that there was no longer any need for wood or coal … and the result would be a lot more efficient!
Now that you know the whole story of how central heating came to be, we just want to tell you one last thing: if you have heating problems this winter, you can rely on the best pros in Orange County to help! Contact Dial One Sonshine online or give us a call: (714) 613-1016