A central heating system is a vital system for any household. Central heating systems provide warmth and heat to the interior of houses, buildings, etc. Believe it or not, central heating systems have been around for thousands of years! Heating structures by using a system were designed by the ancient Greeks and Romans by burying flues, or ducts, into the ground and circulating heat generated by underground fires. The Roman Empire designed another system of central heating called a hypocaust, which is common to modern central heating systems because the furnaces push heat through ducts in floors and walls.
During the middle ages, people relied more on primitive heating methods, such as fireplaces for almost one thousand years. In the late 18th century, businessman and cotton spinner William Strutt designed a mill with a central hot air furnace that heated the entire building. This system was simply a furnace which incorporated large central ventilation ducts. In 1807, Strutt collaborated with famous engineer Charles Sylvester to build a central heating system for a local hospital, using Strutt’s design. From this point on, Sylvester continued to research and design central heating systems and even developed some modern medical procedures, which are still in practice today. Strutt and Sylvester’s designs proved to be extremely influential, which lead to other designers and engineers to copy the designs and add their personal element to central heating designs.
The beginning of the 18th century didn’t just introduce furnaces as an effective central heating method. From 1807 to 1815, notorious engineer and expert on heating systems Thomas Tredgold unveiled a new central heating system method that is more efficient and would eventually supersede the more common hot air systems. The method is known as steam generators. A steam generator utilises a boiler or a vessel or container which is used to heat water. In a steam generator, water isn’t brought to boil so to speak. The water is vaporised and dispersed through a system of pipes, which heats the structure it’s in. This system works because the water isn’t in a gas or liquid state, it’s in a condensed state of water vapour and droplets. Steam generators are electrical and use heating elements to superheat the water in the tank.
There are many different variations of steam generators which use various methods of heat to heat water and disperse it throughout a structure.
The next central heating system on the list is the power flushing radiator. Radiators are one of the most commonly used heating systems used to heat a structure. In most radiators, hot water or steam circulates through the radiator from the boiler through some sort of pump system and the heat is emitted through the area of the radiator. This process is possible through the thermodynamic properties of convection and thermal radiation. The radiator method of heating was discovered by Russian scientist Franz Galli, who was a businessman in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1855.
As you can see, the concept of central heating isn’t anything new. Fighting the elements has been a basic human need since the dawn of humanity. Bright, innovate minds have been developing simple solutions for these complex problems for thousands of years. With modern technological advancements, it’s had to say which method will emerge next for cost effective, environmentally friendly central heating solutions.