The Science of Heating

Ever since man discovered fire he has been able to sustain himself and his family tribe in the less favourable climates of the word.

The open fore is still a draw for man to warm his body and soul after a long day hunting or tilling the land. Cooking his food on the open fire made it more palatable and easier to digest. Giving him sustenance.

The Romans

Making a fire just for heating also developed and the elite amongst the Romans wanted the heat in the newly conquered lands of the northern territories, without the smell of wood smoke so they developed underfloor heating systems extending them to wall heating as the technology developed. This provided them with warm housing and comfort through the cold winters of the British winter.

They were fortunate in they could use the newly enslaved Britons to stoke these fires with the trees they felled from the virgin forests they were clearing for new agricultural land to keep warm. Hot water pools and saunas were also de rigor for the aspiring Roman family which can be seen in the excavations of the Roman Villas scattered across the British countryside and newly built towns that were appearing.

Invaders come and invaders go

With the fall of the Roman empire the technology was lost when the Vikings invaded, bringing with them the old technology of open fires and cooking. It was not until the 19th century when the development of easy to make cast iron piping and central heating plant technology was developed by the Victorians.

By heating water in a single boiler with whatever was available and then circulating that hot water around a network of pipes to radiators that the development of the central heating system was developed. For those who were rich or in public buildings it was within their means. In the 20th century the central heating system started to by economical enough for the domestic market. By mid-century new homes were being built with central heating systems run on coal.

The development of the gas combi boiler in the 1960’s ensured that this new way of heating water and the home became mainstream.

Manufacturing techniques improved and building specifications improved to enable everyone to afford central heating systems.

In the 1990’s increased concern over the use of fossil fuels in energy generation and the increased carbon emissions of these fuels led to a drive to reduce the carbon footprint of energy generation. The early years of the 21st century led to a big drive in solar PV generation with governments introducing payments for domestic solar PV installation on home roofs. This is now commonplace with many homes with their own generation systems.

Innovation in heating has hardly changed with central heating systems still mainly relying on the generation of hot water through coal and gas. Some early adopters are using air and ground source heat pumps to generate heat for warming the home and public buildings.

The cost of heating has increased with time with technological innovations centred on reducing the heat loss in the home through improved insulation systems and techniques. Little has been done to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the home to a suitable comfort level.

SuperStone Radiators have spent the last 10 years developing a new radiator manufactured from glass reinforced concrete (GRC). It has been a long journey identifying weaknesses and developing technological improvements to be able to provide stylish designer radiators for the domestic and commercial markets.

SSR radiators are true radiators unlike the steel water jackets used in the majority of water based systems. These are convection heaters relying on the air surrounding the water jacket warming up and rising around the room. Steel radiators as they are known heat the air in the room, once this has reached optimum temperature the heating system stops pumping the water around the system. The steel radiator cools down and the air in the room also cools until the thermostat switches back on. Reheating the air and going through the cycle again.

On side effect of this type of heating is the moisture in the air condenses on the cold walls of the room creating moisture and eventually mould and damp patches in corners where the warm air does not reach.

SuperStone radiators are different, they heat the stone of the radiator creating a radiant heater that runs at a lower temperature which is left on all the time during the cold weather. Cycle times are longer enabling the walls of the room to heat up with residual heat. This reduces condensation and the build-up of mould.

Running off solar PV and with suitable insulation the running cost is reduced to as little as 14p per day with a constant heat of 19.5oc. Investment recovery cost can be as quick as 1 year on current gas and electricity tariffs.