The Five Historical Facts You Didn’t Know About Furnaces

The start of 2016 has brought big blasts of winter to the Waterloo Region. From frigid temperatures to icy conditions it’s no wonder everyone is seeking out the solace of their heated homes.

In a little over 100 years, furnace technology has significantly advanced to improve our at home comfort. Heck, we wouldn’t be able to live in Canada without this technology! But who invented it? How long did it take? Where did it come from? Let’s take a look.

1885: Radiators

For about 100 years home heating in North America was dominated by wood and it really wasn’t until 1885 that this changed.

By the end of the 19th century the invention of low cost cast iron radiators would bring central heating to homes. At about the same time, in 1885, Dave Lennox built the industry’s first steel coal furnace. His invention transported heat by natural convection (warm heated air rising) through ducts from the basement furnace to the rooms above. How clever!

Fun fact: These furnaces helped households move away from burning wood to the more efficient coal. Don’t worry Joey, this shocked us too! 


Late 1880s: Building the Bunsen

Even with Lennox’s advances many were still struggling to stay warm and continued to develop new technologies. It was the late 1880s when German inventor Robert Bunsen’s burner technology came on the scene. He was the first person to create an open flame to produce heat without soot, fuelling the development of gas, propane and oil fired heating systems. Pilot lights on gas-powered furnaces are a great example of this technology and are still used today.

1905: Exciting Electricity

In 1905, American Albert Marsh discovered the metal chrome, allowing him to construct a heating element 300x stronger than others on the market. Dubbed “the father of the electrical heating industry,” March’s heaters converted electricity to heat that could warm individual rooms.

Similar to pilot lights, electrical heating technology has changed very little and is still produced and used the same way.

1919: Wonderful Wall Furnaces

It was Alice Parker who invented the first central heating system that we have all come to know and appreciate. Her work allowed homeowners to regulate the temperature of their central heating systems and heat their homes more efficiently.

Fun fact: Her invention led to the first coal fuelled, electric fan and ductwork distributed forced air wall furnace around 1935.

Today’s Technology

There are many different options available to heat your home, from oil to natural gas, electricity and even geothermal technologies. Plus, today’s programmable thermostats allow for the fine-tuning of temperatures, giving you more control over your home environment than ever before.  

If you have questions about your furnace, please don’t hesitate to contact your trusted Waterloo Region HVAC professionals at Afterglow. Also, remember that your furnace needs professional maintenance every year as well, so don’t forget to schedule your tune-up!

When cold wind is blowing outside and the temperature drops below freezing, we are grateful for the warmth and comfort that furnaces provide.


Afterglow. Water, warmth, well-being.

How To Avoid High Energy Bills This Winter

Paying The BillsCut high energy bills in Kitchener-Waterloo!

As temperatures in Waterloo Region continue to drop, electricity bills are starting to rise. Here are some savvy tips to help improve your home’s efficiency, save money and manage your winter energy bills.

Upgrades can lead to higher savings

Even if your home does not have visible gaps, it can still lose heat if you have inefficient insulation; this is particularly common for older homes.

Plus, if your home is over 10 years old its insulation may have sagged or settled, which leaves gaps! Consider upgrading your home’s insulation with new options, such as spray foam insulation, to save money on your energy bills.

Fun fact! A well-insulated attic can reduce year-round energy use by 20-60%.

A low-cost way to keep cold air out

Draft-proofing your home can reduce your heating bill by 10%. It is inexpensive and easy to do,
all it requires is filling gaps around doors and windows that let cold air in. To properly draft-proof, Afterglow recommends using materials like caulking or weatherstripping. They can be purchased at hardware stores and are really simple to use.

Keep your thermostat temperature down

Although it is tempting to turn up the heat as it gets colder outside, we recommend resisting that temptation! How? By getting a programmable thermostat. By setting a programmable thermostat will help you avoid the temptation of higher settings and will save you money.

We recommend setting the thermostat to 16°C at night or when you are away. When you are home, most are comfortable at around 20 to 21°C.

Finding ways to cut your electricity bill does not have to be complicated. In fact, it is the simple choices we make that can have a biggest impact.

Afterglow. Water, warmth, well-being.

Improve Indoor Air Quality With These 5 Indoor Plants

Indoor plants help brighten up your home, and they can also clean the air!

As the winter approaches, we will opt to stay inside our warm climate-controlled homes rather than face the frost. That’s why Afterglow knows it’s important for KW residents to prime their home’s air quality.

On average, indoor air is five times more polluted than the air outside.

Fortunately, there are solutions available to improve the air in your home. Beside replacing your furnace filter on a monthly basis, we recommend purchasing some indoor plants. That’s right, plants.

Here are five houseplants that seriously clean your home’s air.

Aloe VeraAloe Vera: This plant’s oil is commonly used for sunburns, but it can also improve your indoor air quality. How? Studies have found that it helps keep your home free from benzene, which is commonly found in paint and chemical cleaners. The best part of the aloe plant is that when harmful chemicals become excessive, it will start to show brown spots. Warning you and your family! What a swell pal.


English Ivy: Have a pet? You need an English Ivy plant.

It can reduce the amount of airborne fecal matter. It also absorbs formaldehyde, a chemical commonly found in some household products, furniture, or carpeting treatments.


Spider Plant: Fun fact, within just two days of having a spider plant in your home, it can remove up to 90% of airborne toxins. How? The spider plant’s leaves grow fast and absorb harmful substances like mold and other allergens.

Cool, right?


Peace Lily: This plant reduces levels of mold spores that grow in the home by absorbing them through its leaves.

Put your peace lily in the bathroom, as it will keep shower tiles and curtains free from mildew.


Boston Fern: Not only are Boston ferns beautiful, they have an abundance of health benefits as well. Its biggest being  its ability to act as a humidifier and help restore moisture in the air, which is perfect in the cooler months when air tends to become stale and dry.

If you want functional decorations this winter, look no further than these great houseplants.

Afterglow. Water, warmth, well-being.