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Speed Dating Questions For Your Heating System

Get Acquainted With the History of Central Heating This Valentine's Day

Heating systems are complicated machines that need plenty of love and care to stay in good shape and continue to perform well. However, many homeowners tend to take them for granted, as they're such a common part of everyday life. So in the middle of the coldest month, Valentine's Day is the perfect time for homeowners to give their heaters a little extra attention and appreciation by learning more about their history.

Is It True That the Romans Invented Central Heating?

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The ancient Romans employed a system called a hypocaust for heating a large indoor space that is generally considered the earliest form of central heating. There are possible references to the hypocaust as early as 350 BC. The ancient Koreans used a similar system called an ondol that is believed to predate the hypocaust by a few thousand years. However, the Korean system was not quite as broad in its purpose and more closely resembled modern underfloor heating than central heating.

In the hypocaust system, a floor would be constructed atop numerous short pillars, creating a sort of crawl space beneath the floor that allows heat to travel from a perpetually-burning fire in one corner of the crawl space to flue pipes inside the surrounding walls. This would radiate heat from the floor and the walls, and it is believed to have been a highly efficient system.

Why Franz San Galli Is Considered the Inventor of the Modern Radiator

Franz San Galli was a Russian inventor and entrepreneur whose patented 'hot box' most closely resembles today's radiators. San Galli invented the hot box in 1855, and the design caught on and became the basis for modern radiator systems. But this was not the first iteration of a water-based central heating system.

Two Americans named Angier March Perkins and Joseph Nason developed steam-heating systems in the 1830s. These men's work helped create the central heating systems used today. However, San Galli's design improved their system and was more successful in his purpose, earning him most of the credit.

What Year Was the Thermostat Invented?

The closest thing to a modern thermostat was invented in 1830 by a Scottish chemist named Andrew Ure. Ure created the device to maintain consistent furnace temperatures in textile mills. This bi-metal thermostat could detect temperature changes (as one of the metals expanded or contracted depending on the temperature) but offered little in the way of precise control. It wasn't until Swiss inventor Albert Butz devised the first electric thermostat that more practical uses and greater temperature control became possible.


Knowing the history of central heating can help homeowners better understand and appreciate their HVAC systems' importance. Still, there's no substitute for being proactive and taking good care of their heaters. Giving them the maintenance and repairs they need will help ensure they can continue to provide amazing benefits for years to come.

About Garneski Air Conditioning & Heating

Sterling, VA's Garneski Air Conditioning & Heating has been serving their community with pride for over 30 years. They are an award-winning local business with an A+ BBB rating and an ever-growing list of happy customers. They provide 24-hour emergency service, financing, up-front pricing, and a money-saving maintenance plan. Call Garneski Air Conditioning & Heating today for all your central heating maintenance needs and more!