The History of Home Heating

Aug 20, 2018

Home heating has been around since before recorded history; keeping warm, as it turns out, was more important to ancient humans than writing about the hunt. Their “homes” may have been a bit more basic than our own, but they too needed to stay warm when the as-of-then unmined mercury dropped. Since the days of our prehistoric ancestors, our understanding of physics has improved our ability to keep warm, and new technologies have permitted us to warm larger spaces more efficiently; at the end of the day, it’s still mostly fire getting the job done. Here’s how home heating has evolved over time.

Around 1, 000, 000 years ago (depending who you ask)-Humans began to control fire. Fires were primarily used for cooking at first, allowing us to get more energy from the meat we ate.

Around 300,000 years ago: The first known hearth, used for heating a cave complex, was created in the Qesem Cave, Israel. This is arguably the first known use of fire as home heating; we can also see the flames were used to cook meat, due to bone fragments found in the hearth.

350 BC: The Temple of Artemis was heated by what might be considered the first central heating system, the hypocaust. A raging fire was lit below the floors of the temple, and slaves kept the fire fed and hot. Pipes would then carry the hot air throughout the complex to heat the walls; the warmest rooms were the ones directly adjacent to the furnace room, as the hot air had less time to cool when travelling.

400-800 AD: After the fall of the Roman Empire, central heating became less prevalent in Western society, though it was still present to some degree in other parts of the world. Around 800 AD, the first chimneys begin to appear, and central heating begins to ramp up again.

1700-1800 AD: Hot air, steam and hot water furnaces are all invented in this time frame, with more efficient duct systems distributing the air more evenly throughout the home. This era may be considered the start of the modern era of heating.

1855: The first radiator is patented, and the modern heat exchange based heating systems are on their way to being developed.

1885: The first thermostat is patented, giving consumers better control over the temperature of their houses.

1900-Present: Many novel new technologies are developed, the modern HVAC system is born, and smart technologies make heating homes even more reliable. This section could be its own series, because the technological boom in this era really revolutionized how we heat our homes!

There’s a lot of great history that went into our modern heating systems, and we’re glad to be a part of that story.  Give us a shout for your heating and cooling needs, and we’ll make sure you’re more comfortable than a Roman with a hypocaust.


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