(Photo courtesy of Turnbull & Scott Heating: http://www.turnbull-scott.co.uk)
Before and in the early 1800’s homes were heated with wood burning stoves. By the mid-1800s central coal-burning furnaces were being installed. Furnaces were placed in the cellars to provide heat through a system of ducts and vents that went through the entire house.
By the end of the 19th century the invention of cast iron radiators would bring central heating to homes with a boiler in the basement delivering hot water or steam to radiators in every room. This method would dominate home central heating until 1935, when the introduction of the first forced air furnace was introduced using the power of an electric fan to distribute the heated air through ductwork within the home, which is the most common heating system in our homes today.
Many of our century homes today are still heated with radiators (hot water heat) with a boiler in the basement. Have them removed?….no !!! Hot Water Radiators are a great source of heat and perfect for those prone to allergies. Without a ducting system, dust is minimal. There are many sources on the net on how to get optimal use from your radiators. Some do not like the look of radiators, but great covers can be made or purchased making the radiator become a “piece of furniture” in the room. The downfall is the ability to install central air (since there is no ducting system). There are alternatives which I will address in future blogs.