Just as there are so many different kinds of homes with unique characteristics, there are different types of heating systems that are best suited for particular home environments. When it gets chilly outside, a sufficient heating system is a necessity, but many homeowners find themselves having difficulty figuring out what type of system is truly best for them. Here are five different heating systems and how you can tell which is right for your home.
1. Forced Air Heating System
Forced air heating systems have become the dominant type of heating system in modern-day North American homes. They work by using a furnace with a blower fan to get warm air to different rooms in the home through a network of ducts. Forced air heating systems are good at adjusting temperature rapidly. Since AC systems often share the same ductwork and blower with a heating system, forced air systems are a good bargain for the entire year.
The furnaces that forced air heating systems use are fueled by natural gas, fuel oil, liquid propane, or electricity. The network of ducts not only works to bring warm air into each individual room, but also brings cool air back to the furnace through cold-air returns.
Some additional benefits of a forced air heating system include their compatibility with filters so that allergens and dust can be filtered out, a fairly affordable price, and the fact that humidification or dehumidification equipment can be integrated.
Depending on your specific living situation, however, there are some potential disadvantages to keep in mind. Ductwork takes up space in walls, which can be a nuisance if you don’t have the proper space. In addition, furnace fans can be a little noisy for some people’s liking.
2. In-Floor Radiant Heating System
This type of heating system is a modern in-floor system that provides radiant heat to your home. A big difference between in-floor radiant heating and forced air heating is that in-floor radiant heating is better at providing heat to objects and materials around the home as opposed to only the air.
The system typically works by heating water in a boiler and then having it distributed throughout all rooms of the home through plastic tubing. However, there are also systems in which electrical wiring is installed under the floor, though these are considered to be less energy efficient and are only recommended for smaller rooms like bathrooms.
The boiler is heated by liquid propane, natural gas, or electricity. Since this system provides entirely radiant heat, it heats the home very evenly, keeping the temperature consistent for long periods of time.
Some downsides to this system include the home taking a bit longer to heat up, relatively slow changes when you adjust the temperature, and a somewhat expensive installation. Additionally, boiler-based systems like the in-floor radiant heating system cannot be combined with an AC system.
3. Gravity Air Furnace Systems
Although not as modern as many other systems, many prefer a gravity air furnace system over other systems for various reasons. The system works by taking advantage of the fact that warm air naturally rises and cool air naturally sinks. Placed in the basement, a gravity air furnace works by heating air and allowing it to rise through ducts into rooms throughout the home. Cold air from the home returns to the furnace through cold-air ducts.
Gravity air furnace systems are especially revered because of their durability. They have no moving parts and can maintain proper function for decades. They also require very little maintenance. The system is fueled by natural gas, liquid propane, electricity, or fuel oil.
The biggest problem with gravity air systems today is that not all companies still install them. However, if you have one in your home already and you’re looking to get it replaced, it might be good to consider simply getting it repaired instead. If there’s a problem with it but it generally works well otherwise, a replacement might not really be worth it.
4. Traditional and Modern Boiler and Radiator Systems
Traditional boiler and radiator systems heat the home with a central boiler that circulates hot water or steam to radiator units through pipes. Radiator units are placed around the home in a way that allows all rooms to be heated evenly. Many older homes are equipped with this system.
Modern radiator systems share the same basic concept as traditional radiator systems. They bring hot water to modernized radiators through electric pumps rather than pipes. Hot water releases its heat right at the radiator, then once cooled, returns to the boiler to be reheated.
Traditional boiler and radiator systems were once fueled by coal, but now like modern boiler radiator systems, are fueled by natural gas, liquid propane, electricity, or fuel oil.
The satisfaction of homeowners with this system is one of the reasons it’s kept in style for so long. The radiant heat that comes through the radiators is comfortable and does not dry the air out. Old boilers can be replaced quite easily and often end up being much more energy efficient.
The most common reasons some people replace or avoid boiler and radiator systems, however, include limitations in furniture placement due to the location of radiators, inability to combine boiler systems with AC systems, and a general dislike of how radiators look in the home.
5. Heat Pump Heating System
The heat pump is a brand-new technology that’s already establishing itself as the top choice for many homeowners. Heat pumps extract heat from the air and use an indoor air handler to bring it into the home. There are other types of heat pumps, too, such as geothermal heat pumps, which extract heat from deep in the ground.
An air-source heat pump often uses the ductless, or “mini-split” system, which features a small outdoor compressor unit and at least one indoor air handler. These handlers can be easily installed in room additions or other convenient areas of the home. A big plus to having a heat pump system is that you can sometimes switch them to AC mode in the summer since its processes are so similar to that of an air conditioning unit. The pumps are usually powered by electricity, though pumps powered by natural gas are also out there.
Other advantages include quiet fans, no ductwork, and impressive energy efficiency. The most significant drawback of a heat pump heating system for some is that it’s a system most well-suited for relatively mild climates.
Here are White Mechanical, Inc., we’re here to give you the very best heating and cooling services in Foothill Ranch, CA, and the surrounding areas. With high ratings on Angie’s list and a reputation of getting the job done right every time, serving our clients is always a pleasure. Our team has exceptional experience in heating and cooling repairs, installation, and maintenance, ductless mini-split systems, duct cleaning, work, and ducting upgrades, sheet metal, fiberglass, ventilation, filtration, ceiling insulation installation, and beyond. Get in touch with us today. We can help make your home’s air comfortable for the whole year.