It had to be those innovative Romans that came up with the first central heating systems. Roman engineers at the beginning of the Christian era developed the hypocaust. Hypocausts were used for heating hot baths, houses and other buildings, whether public or private. They worked by process of an underground furnace or fire which heated the floor of the rooms above and distributed heat through spaces in the walls to the rest of the building. The building had to be constructed so the floor level was raised above the ground by pillars with a layer of tiles on top. There would be gaps between the pillars large enough so that Roman slaves could walk through while tending the great fires. A layer of concrete was next and usually marble or tiles were laid on top of the concrete. Spaces were left inside the walls so that hot air and smoke from the furnace would pass through these enclosed areas and out of flues in the roof, thereby heating but not polluting the interior of the room. Ceramic box tiles were placed inside the walls to remove the hot burned air, and also to heat the walls. Rooms requiring the most heat were placed closest to the fires below. The heat was adjusted by adding more fuel to the fires. It was incredibly labour intensive to keep this form of heating going and slaves were used for this purpose. It was also incredibly expensive in fuel. It was a feature of villas of the very wealthy, public baths. Once the Roman Empire fell, so the use of hypocausts died out as they were too costly and labour intensive.
These days an army of slaves is not needed to fuel the furnaces of our heating systems and our energy sources are oil, gas or electricity all conveniently delivered directly to our homes to run our heating systems. If you want to re create the under floor heating systems of the Roman times, there is a far easier way to do it using heat pump technology. Domestic heat pump air conditioning systems keep homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The latest systems of this type are energy efficient, environmentally friendly and cost effective. A system of this type means complete temperature control 365 days of the year complete with de-humidification function and bacterial filters ensuring it is pure air in your system.
The types of heat pumps on the market are varied with the most typical being air to air. The most commonly encountered other combinations involve the air-to-water, air-to-air, water-to-water, antifreeze-to-water or earth-to-water types. If you live near a (non-freezing) river, ocean, or have a flowing well, the outside unit is highly effective year round, allowing the whole system to operate at peak effectiveness. In geothermal areas, heat pumps can be an excellent way to ecologically exploit the potential.
An outside unit just using air for its exchange is best operated in temperatures above -10c. Unlike an air-conditioner, a heat pump is reversible. This means the evaporator and condenser do double duty, heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. When in heating mode the condenser is inside, while the compressor and evaporator are outside. In air-conditioning mode the condenser becomes the evaporator and the evaporator become the condenser.
With such an array of heating and cooling options available, why not contact us for further information and we will be glad to help.