Because boilers make such a difference to the comfort of a home by providing residents with central heating and hot water whenever they want it, it is no surprise that the appliance is now found in almost every home in the UK.
But boilers only became commonplace relatively recently – many people alive nowadays would have bathed in tin baths, warmed using hot water from a kettle heated over the fire in their childhood.
So who invented central heating? Well, the invention of water heating is credited to the Romans, who used natural heating sources to warm up their famous baths. However, they never appeared to have created individual domestic water heaters, although we owe them a lot of thanks for many modern plumbing techniques.
Modern domestic gas boilers can trace their history back to 1868, when Benjamin Waddy Maughan, a painter by trade, developed an instantaneous water heater that was intended for domestic use and that did not use solid fuel.
His invention – the Geyser – was quite popular, although it was also incredibly dangerous, and was liable to exploding as it did not have a flue or vent. In the event of a boiler breakdown, covers and shells could rupture and blow apart, leading to injury or even death.
Regardless of the safety risks, the joy of domestic central heating was too much for some people to avoid, and the success of the Geyser was further buoyed by the invention of the automatic water storage and heating tank, credited to Edwin Rudd in 1889.
The safety issues of early boilers were somewhat mitigated in 1919 with the invention of the Hartford Loop. If the return pipes began to leak, the Hartford Loop pipework system would prevent water from leaking out of the boiler.
While modern boilers contain a huge range of technologies that effectively eliminate the risk of explosion, such as automatic water heaters and low pressure cut-off points, the Hartford Loop is still widely used as an additional safety measure.
The Plate Heat Exchanger was developed in 1923 by Dr Richard Seligman. This innovation uses two different metal plates to transfer heat from a hot fluid to a cold fluid, improving the speed of temperature changes and the efficiency of boilers. His simple but brilliant invention is still seen in millions of combi gas boilers across the world.
In 1956, boiler technology underwent another transformation. Previously, boilers were made from cast iron, which was strong enough and durable enough to cope with the pressures boilers face and the gases they may be exposed to.
However, as Brits turned towards mains gas and away from solid fuel in the wake of the Clean Air Act, and as they began to use boilers in increasing numbers, steel became a more commonplace material.
This innovation further improved the safety of boilers – it is easier to develop seamless steel boilers than seamless cast iron boilers, and cast iron boiler covers and pipework were liable to having weak spots that could rupture over time.
Modern manufacturing techniques have eradicated the additional safety dangers cast iron boilers pose and this material is making a comeback, particularly in commercial central heating systems.
Although there have been dozens of innovations and developments in boiler technology since the 1960s, the most significant development was the creation of the condenser boiler, which only reached widespread use in the last two decades.
Condenser boilers expel cold water and trap heat from their emissions, making them substantially more efficient than older models. Despite the fact that these are a relatively new invention, all new boilers installed in the UK after April 1st 2005 must be condensing models, underlining the incredible energy-saving standards of these new gas boilers.
While boilers might still use the same heating technologies as they did one-and-a-half centuries ago, the massive range of new functions available on the latest models turn what could be a dangerous and wasteful appliance into something that can reach 100% efficiency and that will never blow up.
Don’t attempt to touch any part of your boiler or central heating system if you’re unsure. Did you know? It’s illegal for anyone to use a gas appliance if they think it’s unsafe. It’s always better to be safe than sorry as you could make things worse.
Instead, call us on 01254 35 55 35 and we can help. Our technical team will run through some simple troubleshooting to see if your problem can be resolved on the phone or they can book one of our friendly and knowledgeable Gas Safe registered engineers to get you back up and running as soon as possible.
With winter rapidly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about how best to prepare your home and family if worse comes to worst.
Whilst it might seem like an extreme measure to some, every home should have a home emergency kit. With luck, you’ll never need to use it. But you can never be over-prepared, plus once it’s done – it’s done. You don’t have to think about it again, until a time when you need it. Then you’ll thank yourself!
24|7 Home Rescue have put together some essential ingredients that should be in every home emergency kit, but always consider the specific needs of your family and include more items if need be, such as medication.
Keep plenty of water stashed in your kit. You’ll be surprised how much water your family actually consume, maybe not through drinking but also for sanitation. It’s recommend that you should store one gallon per person, per day (for at least three days).
2. Mobile phones
It needn’t be the latest iPhone, but invest in some (1 or 2) cheap mobile phones and SIM cards. Store them away in the kit with their chargers – then at least you can get in touch with other relatives and/or the emergency services if need be. With them, keep a list of emergency contact numbers or store them in the phone’s address book. If you have cover with us, note down our contact number: 0845 077 4177.
3. First aid kit
Basic items such as plasters, dressing and bandages are invaluable in home emergencies. It’s possible that someone maybe injured and first aid is the best temporary measure to stop bleeding or further harm and until it’s dealt with by a professional. You can buy them from most pharmacies or make one of your own.
Put a pair of pliers or a wrench aside for your home emergency kit – it’ll come in handy if you need to turn off any utilities such as gas and water supplies in your home.
An obvious ingredient to your kit. Again, it’s recommended that you plan for at least 3 days’ worth of supplies. Make sure it’s non-perishable food – you have no idea how long it’ll be until you need to use your kit. You don’t want to open it to find mouldy fruit or bread! Some examples of suitable food for your kit are; pasta, noodles, cereal bars, nuts and dried fruit. Also, if you have pets, don’t forget to include their food either!
If you don’t have spare keys to your home and car it’s worth getting some cut especially for your home emergency kit. You may need to take refuge in the car or get somewhere urgently, such as a hospital and don’t want to risk getting your original pair of keys if it’s potentially dangerous.
Keeping important documents safe in your home emergency kit is crucial. If you have home emergency cover or home insurance keep a copy of them together with things like your birth certificates. If you don’t have copies, keep a note of your cover plan details in case you need to ring them. To find out about our home emergency cover plans, click here.
8. Radio and torch
OCTOBER 27, 2016
Make sure you include a battery powered or wind-up radio and torch(s) with plenty of spare batteries. Emergency radios allow you to receive weather and disaster alerts as well as keep you informed and connected with the authorities. Some more recent radios are even designed with a built-in torch.
Thousands of lives have been put at risk as an investigation by Which? has revealed that 1 in 5 carbon monoxide detectors are ‘dodgy’.
The revelations have resulted in 10 unsafe devices being removed from sale by eBay and Amazon.
Read More >
Is your home burglar-proof? In the spirit of National Home Security Month, here at 24|7 Home Rescue we’ve put together some really easy tips to upgrade your security and keep the thieves out!
A new report by housing charity Shelter reveals that more than 4 in every 10 people live in homes that fail to reach reasonable standards of living.
Most of us don’t even consider the risk before using our tumble dryers; leaving them on overnight or whilst we nip to the shops.
When it comes to the appliances, there’s a few product recalls and the odd news story about a tumble dryer disaster. We know there’s a risk, but don’t think it will ever happen to us. The chances are it probably won’t, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and take these simple safety precautions to avoid any devastation happening in your home.