At Husky Air, we love furnaces! They keep us warm through the intense cold that is typical of Toronto winters. And they’re also just plain interesting. No, really! Furnaces are a fascinating subject.

The furnace was invented sometime around 1200 BC, which makes it one of humanity’s oldest inventions. These furnaces looked nothing like the modern furnace, but used the same concept. We think that’s just plain fascinating, and that’s only one of the 10 fun furnace factoids you’ll find in the infographic below! Enjoy!

10 Fun Furnace Factoids - HuskyAir.com

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Ten Fun Furnace Factoids

Have a fondness for furnaces? We’ve found a few facts that will fascinate even the most ferocious furnace fan.

  1. Hypocaust: (1200 BC) the earliest known central heating system was developed by the ancient Roman that allowed air to be pumped through the walls and the floor.
    1. If you had an home in ancient Rome, you’d have to watch out for rampaging Visigoths, but at least you’d be warm!
  2. After the fall of the Roman Empire (530 CE), the furnace was forgotten about for nearly 1000 years. People used fireplaces to stay warm instead.
    1. We call that time the Dark Ages, but maybe we should call it the Cold AND Dark Ages.
  3. In 1200 CE, the furnace was revived by Cistercian monks who began using naturally flowing rivers, heated by furnaces, to warm their monasteries.
    1. Beer, furnaces — monks can do it all!
  4. Today in Canada, 45% of households are heated by furnaces. Baseboard heaters are the second most popular, heating 25% of Canadian households.
    1. I’d make a joke about the weather up here, but we take that stuff pretty seriously in Canada.
  5. What’s your furnace using? According to a 2007 Government Survey, Canadian households are heated primarily by either natural gas or electricity.
    1. At least they agree on one thing: it’s gosh darned cold.
  6. American and Canadian English, a “furnace” can heat a home, but in British English, the word “furnace” only refers to industrial furnaces used for smelting ore.
    1. Have you got your furnace running yet? Oh yes. I’m constantly smelting ore, you see.
    2. Bonus Factoid: What the Brits call a “furnace,” most Canadians would call a “blast furnace.”
  7. Speaking of blast furnaces, South Korea leads the way in world blast furnace use, followed by the United States.
    1. South Korea: 42 tarajoules per year
    2. United States: 26 tarajoules per year
    3. United Kingdom: 10 tarajoules per year
      1. For Scale: To fly from New York to London in a 747 jet requires about 3 terajoules.a
      2. Hear the one about the the blast furnace cat burglar? He stole everyone’s terajewels!
  8. What The Heck is an AFUE?
    1. Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency
    2. Definition: A measurement of the efficiency of a heating system, a AFUE tells you the percentage of fuel that actually goes to heating your home, rather than up the chimney. A furnace with a 90% AFUE wastes 10% of the fuel it consumes.
    3. Fun fact: If you can’t pronounce an acronym, it’s called an initialism. But, I suppose AFUE could be pronounced “a few” Or “awe, phew!”
  9. Typical AFUEs
    1. Gas-Fired Furnaces: 56-97%
    2. Oil-Fired Furnaces: 80-89%
    3. Coal-Fired Furnaces: 45-60%
  10. Humidity Matters
    1. A humid home feels warmer than a dry home.
    2. A home heated to 21 degrees at 10% humidity feels like 64 degrees, but a home heated to 21 degrees with a humidity of 80% feels like 23 degrees.
      1. A little water is good, but do not spray yourself in the face with the hose. It will not warm you up. Trust us.

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