It is not only this century and the last, that man has tried to heat his houses and water.
Throughout history mankind has tried to warm their homes, cavemen with fire. Ancient Asians used hearths and stoves to heat water or air, piped through their floors. While the Romans used hypocausts to heat their public baths and villas, the Spanish radiated their floors with a system known locally as ‘gloria’, which used hay as fuel.
During the Middle Ages, when fireplaces became popular, heating systems became practically unknown. Until in 1777, William Murdoch discovered that the gas could be used for light. Then, in 1824, came the birth of the gas stove, and it naturally evolved to be used to heat homes and bath water. Surprisingly, the baths were not used until 1850 when gas jets heated the bath from below.
However, it was not until 1868 that Benjamin Maugham, a painter and decorator, had the idea of heating water with gas. Although Maugham did not realize it, the technology of heating our homes in the 21st century was born. He is generally accepted as the inventor of the combined ‘Combi’ boiler, which he called “the geyser”.
Unfortunately, Maugham’s invention was deemed dangerous and a health risk as it had no temperature controls so it was possible to get burned and it did not have a vent which means people could be exposed to lethal emissions. . He was not an engineer and would make little or no money from his invention.
But in 1889, 21 years later, Norwegian engineer Edwin Ruud stumbled upon Maugham’s ‘Gas Geyser’ prototype, and after studying the design plans and making some improvements, Ruud launched his own water heater in the US. USA, after emigrating from Norway. His new company Ruud Manufacturing was a great success and is still in operation today in Pittsburgh.
Combination boilers were initially popular in the US and were exported to Europe where they were very popular; however, in the UK many people opted for the traditional boiler system which used the space in the loft and allowed many people to bathe simultaneously. In the last 10 to 15 years alone, combi boilers have started to emerge as the number one boiler system in the UK, accounting for over 50% of all new boiler installations.
With energy prices rising year after year, many people have turned to the combi boiler due to its advancement in efficiency, energy cost savings, and the ever-increasing need for more storage space in their homes compared to the high inefficient running cost and the huge storage needs of traditional system boilers.