How Did People Survive Before Indoor Heating?
Imagine a cold winter’s night. The temperatures keep falling rapidly. The snow continues to fall. You hear the whistling of the wind through the barren trees.
But on the inside, you’re cozy and warm thanks to modern convenience.
Now imagine a different situation. Imagine the cold winds snap a large tree that tumbles into the local power generator that controls your neighborhood. All of a sudden, you’re left without power.
And without heat.
A short time isn’t a problem. In fact, it can add to the ambiance of the situation. Why not bundle up with the family, snuggle under a few blankets and read a good book?
Then the temperatures start to fall. Seventy. Sixty-five. Sixty. Suddenly even the inside of your home is feeling a bit cool.
We take a lot of our modern, everyday conveniences for granted. But all it takes is being without something to realize how much we depend on it in our lives. And in some cases, it can be a life or death situation.
When the temperature continues to fall, it can put our very existence at risk. But modern heating hasn’t always been a part of our lives. How did people survive before modern heating? And why have we come to rely on the power of what HVAC companies can do to make us that much more comfortable as we go about our busy days?
For many homesteaders, they built fireplaces or wood burning stoves right into the main living space of their homes. And in most cases, this was an easy way to solve a big problem. Wood has been the most common heating fuel throughout history.
On the plus side, wood is a renewable resource. As long as you are conscious of taking only what you need, ensuring new trees are always planted and cared for, you’ll have wood for as long as you need.
The drawbacks are many, including the fact that a fireplace or wood stove can only heat the area around it. That makes it an inefficient heating source for a large home at best.
And in our modern times, home sizes are growing at record speed. In 1973, our homes were on average just 1,660 square feet of space. Compare that with today’s median size new home at 2,506 square feet of space.
Fireplaces or wood burning stoves might be great for ambiance, but they do little for effectively heating this size of a home.
Looking back into time, it’s easy to see why most houses remained small. It was costly and difficult to place fireplaces in multiple rooms in a home. It was much easier to design a small amount of living space around a large working fireplace. So simplicity remained. But it wasn’t the only way our ancestors controlled the temperatures.
Thick Bedding and Drapery
People learned very quickly to take advantage of all that nature provided. And when they saw animals surviving in the most brutal of outside condition, they used them not only for food but for clothing and protection too. Quilts became a staple on every bed. And it wasn’t just one quilt; it was many. The classic down comforter may have changed in looks and coloring, but we know they are still one of the warmest things to pull up to our chins on a freezing night.
And curtains weren’t just for covering up windows. Our ancestors also used them to pull around the bed to add an extra layer of protection from the cold. Beds were places where everyone piled – most children all often slept altogether.
Before crawling into bed for the night, our ancestors also frequently used bed warmers. These were copper or brass pans with long handles, filled with rocks warmed by the edge of the fire. They would slide these in place between layers of bedding to warm up the sheets before they retired for the evening.
Foot warmers were slightly different from bed warmers. They were a wood framed tin box in which heated rocks were placed inside. The box could then be slipped under a blanket and kept by your feet at night. These boxes weren’t just for bed, were often used in wagons as a family traveled into town to go to the store or church.
While some of these methods may seem nostalgic, with even a touch of romanticism, they are hardly something we would want to rely on to stay warm all year long.
Luckily, we don’t have to.
Today’s HVAC companies have taken away the difficulty of keeping your home warm and made it as efficient of a process as possible. With modern technology, today’s HVAC companies give you many options for not only staying warm, but to do so with little impact on the environment.
Your home’s heating system is most likely your largest energy expense. For the average American, heating your home accounts for up to 45 percent of your energy bills every single month.
That means if you work with the right HVAC company, and learn all you can about investing in the right heating system for your home, you can save money on your utility bills from the beginning.
How do you find a top quality HVAC company that will steer you in the right direction?
Look for a company that is a specialist in heating and cooling, and can help you best determine your needs and requirements, all within your budget.
Look for a company that is well established within the community. A company that cares about giving you the best equipment, the best advice, and doing so based on your needs. Not just the quick sale.
Look for a company that evaluates what you need, not just what they want to sell. Because ultimately you’re the one that has to live with the equipment, you’re the one that has to budget it into your lifestyle.
How would you survive without the modern convenience of today’s heating system?
Luckily we don’t have to.
Have questions about the efficiency of your HVAC equipment? Give us a call.