A Short History of Central HVAC Systems in America

Central heating and air conditioning systems are the unsung heroes of American homes and workplaces. After all, despite being essential for our comfort and wellbeing, we barely pay them any thought unless they’re acting up in some way, and we have to call in a professional Howell, NJ, heating service.

Today, we’ll address this injustice by looking at some of the key moments in the history of HVAC systems in the US. Read on to learn about a time when nobody had to worry about keeping their winter heating bills down and when using an AC to warm up your home sounded like something out of a science fiction story.

When did houses start having central heating

How did people heat homes before central heating?

Until the 17th century, pretty much every single American household relied on a fireplace and the thickest insulation they could find to keep their living warm. The invention of the stove shook things up somewhat, but it wasn’t until Benjamin Franklin perfected the stove design that it became the go-to heating option in American homes.

These early stoves used firewood as fuel until the 1880s when coal became the fuel of choice due to its increased efficiency and ease of use. For the next half-century or so, coal remained the main heating fuel in the US, until getting replaced by gas and oil.

Although Thomas Edison invented the first electric heater in 1883, and the Russians devised the first radiators as early as the 19th century, these advanced heating devices wouldn’t see widespread use in America until after the civil war.

When did houses start having central heating?

Alice Parker patented the very first central heating system in 1919. However, widespread electricity use still wasn’t a thing at the time, so this proto-HVAC system had to rely on natural convection to move warm air through heating ducts.

It took another 20 years or so for a coal furnace and an electric fan to be connected to a building’s duct system to provide heating. This massive success served as the kickoff point for the central HVAC industry we know and love today.

In the years that followed, manufacturers went on to create new types of heating systems that each took advantage of a different energy source to maximize efficiency and comfort

Furnaces and boilers of the time used these fuel types:

  • Electricity
  • Oil
  • Natural gas
  • Propane

When did houses get thermostats?

The first thermostat that operated similarly to the ones we have today was invented in 1906 by the Honeywell company. It was a groundbreaking device due to being programmable and eliminating the need for furnace stoking. This proto-thermostat was further enhanced with an electric clock during the 1930s.

Thermostats gained widespread popularity in the 1950s when Honeywell placed the first dial thermostat on the market. Another breakthrough occurred in the 1960s when thermostats were upgraded with the ability to control both heating and cooling.

How did people heat homes before central heating

Where in Howell, NJ, can I book a high-quality heating service?

As the leading HVAC and plumbing company in Howell and other communities across New Jersey, Allied Experts is your strongest ally on the path to a healthy, functional, and comfortable home.

Our team consists of highly experienced and knowledgeable individuals who have a passion for providing an excellent service and will readily go above and beyond to meet your needs. Reach out to us today and discover for yourself why we have a long list of loyal clients.

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In the U.S., 50% of all Heating and Cooling systems installed are sized incorrectly.

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