When the weather gets cold, your furnace is an invaluable tool. But how did it come to be? Who’s responsible for the appliance that keeps you warm and comfortable all winter? To answer that question, let’s examine the history of furnaces.
The Early Years
Since the dawn of time, there have been systems to heat our homes. Ancient civilizations would build fires and crowd around to keep warm. Those open fires eventually evolved into fireplaces, and wood burning stoves.
The ancient Greeks were the first to use radiant central heating. A fire beneath the floor would generated heat, which would then be circulated through the building via pipes in the walls. This and other central heating systems primarily burned wood, until the 18th century, when furnaces began using coal.
The history of furnaces as we know them began in 1919, when Alice Parker patented the first modern central heating system. It used gas, rather than coal, which quickly became the standard in home furnaces. Her design included multiple units throughout the house, which would distribute heat via a system of ducts. And the rest, as they say, is history.
These days, there are a myriad of ways to heat your home comfortably. In 1945, John Sumner built the first water-source heat pump. Three years later, Robert C. Webber created the first geothermal heat pump. And technology continues to progress.
Today, there are zoned furnaces, with sensors to detect which rooms are occupied and only send heat there. There are furnaces that operate at 98 percent efficiency and more, to provide the most heating for the least amount of energy. There are furnaces you can operate from anywhere, with your smartphone or other mobile device. And many other options.
It’s important to shop around and get the furnace that best meets your needs. Technology has come a long way. Why not use it to your advantage and find the furnace that’s right for you?
To learn more about the history of furnaces, contact us at Beyer Boys today. We’re San Antonio’s trusted source for quality heating and cooling solutions.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).