The History of Heat - Sun Heating & Cooling, Inc.

The History of Heat


Have you ever wondered how furnaces came to exist in the first place? Wonder no longer, because we have answers:

The beginning

People have been trying to keep themselves warm for all of human existence. It began with the invention of fire. Archaeologists have found traces of wood ash that they believe was from a human-made fire, that was up to a million years old!

Early “furnaces”

Hearths are the earliest form of home heating. A hearth is essentially a fire that is enclosed in some way indoors, with smoke being vented out in some way. The earliest hearths that researchers know of was done in Turkey almost 10,000 years ago! (7500 B.C.) From there, slightly more complex “furnaces” came about. As early as 2,500 B.C., the Romans had invented the hypocaust, which was essentially radiant flooring heat. Fires and flues underneath the floor heated the building above. Around the same time, in 1,000 B.C., Koreans were using a similar method of under-floor radiant heat, with the additional use of masonry floors in order to transfer the heat better.

Pre-modern era

From there, because the Dark Ages / Middle Ages did not yield much progress, it wasn’t until the 1300s that the chimney was invented in Normandy (a country that no longer exists and is now France!). Then, there was another lull in progress until the 1700s, when the stove was invented in Germany by an unknown inventor. They were set inside the wall, and connected to the fireplace in the next room. By the time Benjamin Franklin invented the Franklin stove in 1742, stoves were well on their way to being a more effective way to heat the family home than a fireplace was. These wood stoves would never pass modern-day standards, because they were only 30% efficient, when the law today is that no furnace should be less than 80% efficient (80 AFUE).

The 20th century

Then, in 1919, everything changed. The inventor Alice Parker knew that most homes were heated by “furnaces” powered by an inefficient coal or wood-burning fireplace. So, Parker patented a new invention, the natural gas-powered central heating system. There would be one central heat source powered by natural gas, and then multiple burners with pipes and vents to distribute heat to the rest of the home. Is this starting to sound like the familiar furnace we know today, yet? From here, furnaces became more and more sophisticated, with the use of electrical components to make them safer, and the addition of the blower wheel to circulate air more effectively.

The future

While no one can predict for certain what the future of home heating will be like, it is safe to say that with the invention of new technology every day, it will be impressive! For example, instead of using natural gas or electricity to power a central heating system, what if your house ran on solar energy? What if a smart home was able to decide the most comfortable temperature for you without you even having to lift a finger? These things are certainly coming, but for now, we here at H.A. Sun are glad to bring you the most advanced furnaces on the market. To learn more, contact us online or call now: (248) 986-1506

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