Construction Concerns for Firefighters: Multiple HVAC Units

Article and photos by Gregory Havel When central heating became common in buildings in the early 20th century, there was usually one boiler or hot air furnace for the building or residence. The device was often located in the cellar or basement. Fuel (coal, wood, fuel oil, or gas) was brought to this one location in the building (and to the kitchen for the kitchen range). The fuel was converted to heat in the boiler or furnace and distributed to radiators by steam or hot-water pipes or to hot-air registers by ducts. Condensed steam and cooled water were returned to the boiler by pipes and cooled air to the furnace by return ducts. Fuel was inexpensive, and the heat lost in the pipes and d...

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