HL: Plumbing and HVAC Changes From The Past 50 Years
October 6, 2021
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We’ve seen it all, and we’re ready to see more. 

Archeologists have found evidence of the first plumbing system dating back more than six thousand years. The first hint of indoor heating systems came from the Ancient Romans, who would use channels under marble floor tiles to distribute heat from fireplaces. 

More modern ideas of plumbing and HVAC - at least as we know them - are only a few hundred years old - such as leaden pipes, water pressure, and boilers to deliver hot water to residents in large, complicated city centers. Or the large windows of Colonial-style houses, the technology of the ceiling fans from India, or using chimneys and flues to distribute heat upward through a home may all seem old-fashioned, but are still present in today’s homes. 

Point being: a lot can happen over thousands of years, but as technology develops, even more can happen in 50 years. 

Thirty years ago, we were amazed that someone could put a cell phone in a car. Today, we all seem to have a pocket-sized supercomputer that can do everything from check the weather, shoot 4K video, and turn on our home air conditioner while we’re at the office.

The changes have seemed two-sided when it comes to modern advances in your home or building’s plumbing and HVAC. As more fixtures are mass-produced and distributed worldwide, they have become cheaper. While it may seem good for the budget, it also means the quality has degraded some. Some water heaters used to endure the life of the home. Now, most gas-powered water heaters are lucky to survive 15 years before they need to be replaced.

On the upside, appliances and fixtures are far more efficient and user-friendly. Many toilets are now low-flow, using less water per flush. Newly constructed buildings are now being held to all new environmental standards, meaning they use less energy to heat and cool the interior spaces. Additionally, many countries are working on phasing out the HFC emissions that are common with air conditioners. As of 2019, Canada started enforcing policies to phase out the consumption and emission of HFCs - the coolant tied to climate change. 

In the last decade, smart devices and connected homes have become more commonplace. Large office and apartment buildings have long since relied on building automation to manage thermostats, lighting, and airflow. Now, at a smaller scale, you can use your phone to change everything from your thermostat settings, your water heater temperature, all the way down to which lights are on and what shades are open. All while keeping an eye on your energy use and - of course - the cost of next month’s utility bill.

Even with these tremendous changes, one thing remains the same from the last 50 years: how the team at HPG Mechanical does business. Since 1971, we have been putting the needs of our customers first. Whether responding to plumbing emergencies, installing updated fixtures, or consulting on the best way to prevent costly repairs down the road, we’ve been in this business for our customers since day one.

And no matter what grand change comes over the horizon for the next 50 years, we’ll be here for that, too.

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