A central heating and air conditioning system was first used in the early nineteenth century by Thomas Tredgold, a noted engineer. The heating system employed a central boiler that supplied high-pressure steam that was distributed by pipes embedded in the columns. His design was so effective that it was implemented in a textile factory in Manchester. In 1807, Robertson Buchanan published the definitive descriptions of this type of heating system. In 1815, Thomas Tredgold published his Principles of Warming and Ventilating Public Buildings. The application of this type of system to non-industrial buildings was made apparent by the mid-19th century.
Today, gas-fired heating systems are the most popular choice for homes, commercial buildings, and offices. The most common types are gas-fired furnaces, air-conditioning systems, and heat pumps. Natural gas is the most common type of fuel used for heating and air-conditioning, and is available in most regions of North America and northern Europe. Gas-fired systems also require less maintenance than other forms of fuel, and many are automatically controlled.
Natural gas is a widely available and inexpensive heating fuel. Because the gas burners are automatic, they are often incredibly efficient and require minimal maintenance. But not all areas have natural gas distribution systems, so the most cost-effective option is propane or liquefied petroleum gas. These are stored near the point of use, which means no need for a professional to install them. In some areas, electricity is cheap and abundant. If you prefer to heat or cool your home, you can use electric-powered heaters or heat pumps.