Central heating

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Central heating is a system for providing warmth to the whole interior of a building (or portion of a building) from one point to multiple rooms. It is a part of the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. Central heating systems are used to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature and are commonly found in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.

History[edit | edit source]

The concept of central heating dates back to ancient times. The Romans used a system called hypocaust to heat public baths and private houses. This system involved circulating hot air under the floors and through the walls. In the 19th century, the development of the steam engine and the availability of coal led to the widespread adoption of central heating systems in Europe and North America.

Components[edit | edit source]

A central heating system typically consists of the following components:

  • Boiler or Furnace: The heat source that generates heat by burning fuel (such as natural gas, oil, or coal) or using electricity.
  • Heat exchanger: Transfers heat from the boiler or furnace to the air or water that circulates through the system.
  • Radiators or Underfloor heating: Devices that emit heat into the rooms.
  • Thermostat: A device that regulates the temperature by controlling the operation of the boiler or furnace.
  • Piping or Ductwork: Distributes the heated air or water throughout the building.
  • Pump: Circulates water in a hydronic system.

Types of Central Heating Systems[edit | edit source]

There are several types of central heating systems, including:

  • Hydronic heating: Uses water as the heat transfer medium. The water is heated in a boiler and circulated through radiators or underfloor heating systems.
  • Forced air heating: Uses air as the heat transfer medium. The air is heated in a furnace and distributed through ductwork.
  • Electric heating: Uses electric resistance heaters to generate heat. This type of system is often used in areas where other fuel sources are not available.

Advantages and Disadvantages[edit | edit source]

Advantages[edit | edit source]

  • Provides consistent and even heating throughout the building.
  • Can be more energy-efficient than individual room heaters.
  • Can be integrated with other HVAC systems for comprehensive climate control.

Disadvantages[edit | edit source]

  • Initial installation can be expensive.
  • Requires regular maintenance to ensure efficient operation.
  • Can be less flexible in terms of zoning and individual room temperature control.

Maintenance[edit | edit source]

Regular maintenance of a central heating system is essential to ensure its efficiency and longevity. This includes:

  • Annual inspection and servicing of the boiler or furnace.
  • Checking and bleeding radiators to remove air pockets.
  • Cleaning and replacing filters in forced air systems.
  • Inspecting and repairing any leaks in the piping or ductwork.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD