Centralized Heating

By Austin S. 
What is central heating?

Central heating is a method of heating the interior of a whole or large part of the building. To accomplish this, you must heat air or water and have the heat that is radiated from that move to other parts of the house through vents in the floor and walls. In order to heat the air or water, a furnace or hearth was placed in a central location that would be able to reach all areas of the home or building. This system was quite effective during it's ancient times, however, it does not even compare to the modern day air conditioning system. Due to the fact that it is more effective than the central heating, and not to mention the safety hazards that came along with centralized heating, air conditioning systems are found in a large portion of buildings.

What are the two methods of central heating?

The two main methods of central heating  are the hypocaust system and the sun heating method. The Ancient Greeks used both of these. In a hypocaust system, a furnace is placed under the floor in a basement and the heat that is generated from the furnace seeps through flues, heating the rooms. The other method was the sun heating method. With this, a Greek would design his house so that sunlight comes in at peak times of the day. When this sunlight got into the room, through windows, it would create heat when the light hit an object through thermal radiation.

 The famous bath at Olympia

What a hypocaust system looked like.

What was the first use?

The first known use of central heating was in the Temple of Artemis. The temple is located in Ephesus, Greece. This is one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. The other use of centralized heating in ancient Greece was in a bath house in Olympia. This was the first known use of heated water in baths that has been found. To heat the water a furnace was placed under a tank filled with water which heated it to a reasonable level. This was then dispensed into a pool for the public to bath themselves in. This was also one of the first known bath houses in ancient history.

Why is it important?

Central heating was one of the first sustainable ways of ancient heating. It provided a reliable source of heat in the ancient times This heat could help protect against conditions that come from being cold such as hypothermia Though being inside all the time during winter did help the spread of diseases such as the common cold, the cold only lasted for about a week with minimal symptoms whilst hypothermia can be permanent and result in serious conditions. Overall, it would be better to stay warm and be inside than be shivering in the cold.

Who is thought to be the inventor?

The inventor of the first hypocaust system is thought to be Chersiphron and his son, Metagenes. These were the two architectural designers behind the Temple of Artemis. These two began the building of the temple at around 600 BC. As they finally died, more architects came and helped complete the project. In 550 BC, the temple was destroyed by unknown circumstances, and eventually was rebuilt. Later, in 356 BC, Herostratus came and burned down the temple so he could obtain notoriety for arson.