Technician servicing boiler

What Does Centrally Heated Mean?

Central heating in short refers to a method of heating an entire building but with the heat generation occurring in one “central” place.(Although not necessarily at the geometrically “central” point.)

A Very Brief History of Central Heating Systems

You know, central heating is not such a new phenomenon.

Ancient Korea

The oldest ever central heating system was thought to be invented as far back as circa 5000 BC. Of course, it didn’t have any of today’s modern trappings…

When a fire was lit in the furnace to cook dinner, the flame would extend horizontally rather than upwards, because the flue entry was beside the furnace. As the flame passed through the flue entrance, it would be guided through the network of passages and fill entire rooms with heated smoke.

Ancient Greece

The ancient Greeks then developed a central heating system, circa 700 to 323 BC. They used this in the temple of Ephesus, whereby flues were planted in the ground to circulate heat generated by fire.

Ancient Rome

Some buildings in the Roman Empire, circa 27 BC to 476 AD, also used central heating systems. Heat was generated by furnaces and the resulting hot air was conducted through empty spaces under the floors and out of pipes in the walls.

Modern Day Central Heating Systems

There were two main modern day methods of central heating that came about in the late 18th to mid-19th centuries. These include water heating, and steam heating.

Water Central Heating Systems

A water-based central heating system is typically composed of a central boiler to heat up the water in the system, a supply of fuel, such as gas, pumps to circulate the heated water around the building, and radiators which release and radiate the heat into the various rooms of the building.

The good thing about this method of central heating is that you never need to replace the water. The same water is heated and reheated in a closed loop system. And this water is independent of the building’s normal water supply.

Steam Central Heating

Steam central heating has a lot in common with water based central heating, in that there’s a central boiler, and radiators in rooms throughout the building.

The boiler in this instance however is basically a source of low pressure steam. There is a high latent heat given off when this steam condenses to liquid water on traveling through pipes to the various radiators. And the radiator is then able to emit heat from this condensed water.

And, like with water central heating, steam central heating is also a closed loop system, with the condensed water returning to the central boiler either by way of gravity, or with the aid of a pump.This type of central heating is not the most common in single residence family homes due to the cost of the piping installation. However, this steam based central heating system is often used in tall buildings and on university campuses.

Pros and Cons of Gas Central Heating

So, let’s look a little more closely at gas central heating.


Today, modern condensing boilers are very energy efficient, with some offering above 90% energy efficiency. So it’s a good return on investment, with very little energy getting wasted.

Replacing a standard gas boiler with a modern condensing boiler is relatively quick and easy and is quite straightforward to carry out.

You don’t need to worry about any storing of the gas, because the gas used is piped directly into your home.

If you ever have any issues with the boiler, it is very easy to find a suitably qualified gas engineer on the Gas Safe Register.


The biggest drawback to gas as a source for heating your home is that gas is a fossil fuel, and it produces harmful carbon dioxide when it is burned. This means that it’s not a clean source of energy, and using it increases your carbon footprint. Gas boilers require servicing every year to keep them running efficiently.


Central heating, whether gas or electric, or whether water based or steam, is an excellent way to heat up an entire building by using just one central source of heat generation.

Gas central heating is the most common form of central heating in the UK, and is an excellent way of maintaining a home’s ambient temperature, regardless of what’s happening with the British weather outside.

Get in touch today and let us take care of your central heating servicing any day of the week quickly and efficiently.

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