.... It is amazing how completely the home-owners of this country regard the heating plant as something entirely separate and distinct from the house in which it is to be placed, and of which it is to become a part.
It is equally surprising to discover both from correspondence and personal interviews just what the home-owners mean by "best" type of heating systems. One owner is thinking largely in items of first cost, another of operating expense of which fuel is only a part, another of simplicity and "fool proofness," another of convenience, cleanliness, and automatic operation, another of more uniform temperatures from floor to ceiling and reasonable humidities.
And so it goes. We, on the receiving end for all these inquiries, feel like the man who was asked, "How long is a fence?" Only our problem is by no means as simple. Moreover, only a very inexperienced writer would attempt to say that there is one "best" type of heating system which fits all cases of home heating.
There are, however, certain facts that can be set down about home heating which will materially assist the home-owner in making an intelligent selection of a heating system for his home. These facts are based on the most outstanding results from the study of heating houses by various systems at the University of Illinois during the past 10 or 12 years. This study has been made in typical rooms subjected to severe winter weather conditions in a special laboratory (Fig. 46) as well as in an actual residence especially equipped for testing purposes. Here are the facts, in itemized form, although preference in the order of presentation has no particular significance.
The house structure itself should always receive consideration and be kept clearly in mind when deciding upon a heating system. A relatively small outlay on making suitable walls and window frames tight1 against the wind, and stopping all unnecessary air leakage into the studding spaces of the outside walls of frame houses or others of hollow wall construction will not only save fuel, but also add materially to the comfort of the occupants and may affect both size and type of heating system required.
1 Adapted from "The Home Heating System," Successful Farming, September, 1930.
Fig. 46. - Elevation section of laboratory testing plant. Erected by the University of Illinois for the study of problems relating to direct steam and hot-water heating in co-operation with the Institute of Boiler and Radiator Manufacturers and the Illinois Master Plumbers Association. Note standard in center of test room for reading air temperatures between floor and ceiling.
A poorly constructed house which fails to keep out the wind cannot be heated or made comfortable by any heating system, but to achieve even partial success it will be necessary to have at least one direct heating unit, such as a radiator or stove, in every room.
Since it is impossible to burn any fuel without a positive air supply under proper control, it is necessary to have a chimney. The chimney, by virture of the draft which it creates, provides this air supply. The chimney draft is caused by the vertical column of gas.
Since in any given house the chimney height is fixed, anything which reduces the temperature of the flue gas reduces the draft. The chimney must be straight and true, of full uniform size from top to bottom, with no leaky joints and with no other openings either above or below the smoke opening for the heating plant. Chimneys for domestic heating plants should preferably pass up through the house and not be run as part of exposed outside walls.