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Your Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing the Best Heating System for Your Home

The HVAC industry is swamped with a vast range of home heating systems, all of which are sold under a variety of brands, making choosing your next installation nothing short of challenging.
Your Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing the Best Heating System for Your Home

There are a number of elements to consider when selecting the ideal heating system for your home, including the building dynamics, overall heating requirements, system size, feature set connected with the system, and pricing.

Heating accounts for 42% of your total utility costs. This guide will provide a quick overview of several system types so that when you meet with an HVAC professional, you'll have the information you need to make the best selection for you.

Central Heating System

A central heating system supplies heat to a building's whole interior or to several rooms. The heat is generated by a central heat source, which is located somewhere accessible yet isolated, like your basement or attic. Depending on the sort of central heating system you have, the generated heat is distributed throughout the house via a network of ducts or pipes. Ducted heating systems require more room than any other sort of heating system.

Central Heating via Furnaces

Furnaces heat air in one place and distribute it throughout the house via a system of ducts and vents using gas, electricity, or fuel oil. Warm air distribution is another name for this technology.

The control systems, which include burners, gas valves, blowers, heat exchangers, ducts, and ventilation systems, are the most important components of the furnace. Through the vents, the combustion gases are evacuated out of your home. Furnaces are known for their excellent efficiency, extended lifespan, minimal operating noise, affordability, and indoor air quality, among other things.

Four types of furnaces to choose from:

  • Gas Furnace
  • Oil Furnace
  • Electric Furnace
  • Modulating Furnace

Gas Furnace

 A gas furnace is a reliable furnace used by many homeowners. With the use of a burner, gas is sprayed out to create hot combustion gas, which raises the temperature of the air. Through the ductwork and vents, the warm air is cycled. These furnaces are cost-effective since they heat the air using gas as a fuel.

Oil Furnace 

These furnaces use oil to heat the air, which is then circulated through ducts and vents. They are often utilized in cold climates such as the northeastern United States to convert oil to heat. Because they use oil as a fuel, they are not cost-effective.

Electric Furnace

Electric furnaces can be used to heat your home if you don't have access to natural gas. Electric heating elements, such as metal, are used in these furnaces to provide heat that is circulated in the air. They are less expensive and smaller than other furnace kinds.

Modulating Furnace

These furnaces are more expensive than others. To obtain the desired temperature, a modulating furnace modulates the amount of gas it burns. It allows you to precisely pinpoint the temperature. These systems do not waste energy by turning on and off frequently. They use less energy and are therefore the most energy-efficient furnaces.

Central Heating via Boilers

Boilers are water warmers with a specific purpose. This system, unlike furnaces, distributes heat using hot water, which loses heat as it passes through radiators or other devices in your home. The boiler circulates water by pumps rather than ducts. The process continues after the chilly water is reheated in the boiler.  Gas or other natural fuels are utilized to power boilers used by residential consumers. Water flow and temperature are controlled by valves in boilers. Boilers are simpler to set up and operate than furnaces. During the winter months, the boilers' heat is spread evenly throughout the house.

Central Heating via Heat Pumps

Heat pumps have been around for decades and are not a new technology. They are capable of providing year-round climate control. Heat pumps are two-way air conditioners, which means they may be used in both directions. With the help of an electric system, they keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Heat pumps are more energy-efficient since they use electricity to move rather than generate it.

The most common heat pumps:

  • Air-Source Heat Pumps
  • Ground Source Heat Pumps

Air-Source heat pumps

In the winter, air from the outside is used to keep your home warm, while in the summer, heat is rejected to the outside to keep your home cool. These heat pumps are installed in the same way that any other central air conditioner is. Ground source heat pumps are more expensive than air-source heat pumps.

Ground source heat pumps

Geothermal heat pumps, or ground source, extract heat from the ground or groundwater and distribute it throughout your home. They are commonly utilized in areas where the temperature remains relatively stable throughout the year. A buried hollow coil in a deep trench is used to install these heat pumps. 

Ductless Heating Systems

To keep your home warm, a ductless heating system, also known as a ductless heat pump, does not require a web of ducts and vents. This system is simple to install and does not cost as much as a central heating system, however it does require a separate system for each room. This is a stand-alone system with an indoor unit located within your home and an outdoor compressor located outside. It consumes less energy than a central heating system. Professionals can simply install the system in less than a day.

Different types of ductless heating systems:

  1. Mini-split Heat Pumps
  2. Window AC with Heat
  3. Portable Standing Air Conditioner with Heat

Mini-split Heat Pumps

Mini-split heat pumps are ductless heating systems that work without the use of a ductwork system. They can be used for both heating and cooling. They have a sleek and modern appearance, are compact, and can be controlled by a remote control. There are a variety of smart controllers on the market that can provide smart functionality and controls for your mini-split heat pumps.

Window ACs with Heat

Window air conditioners with heat are the ideal option for staying comfortable all year while saving money on energy. They are simple to install, energy-efficient, and allow you to choose between summer and winter air conditioning modes. These, like other ductless heating systems, function without the use of ducts. There are numerous solutions on the market that can accommodate both tiny and large settings.

Portable Standing Air Conditioner with Heat

If you don't like window air conditioners with heat, a portable standing air conditioner with heat is the best option. The system is simple to install and less expensive than comparable ductless heating systems. Portable standing air conditioners are small and light, with wheels on the bottom for easy travel. They are ideal for tiny rooms and for moving your heater about.

Direct Heating Systems

The traditional method of obtaining heat directly from the heat source is the direct heat system. To keep your home warm, you don't need a maze of ducts and vents or an exterior unit. Because of it's low heating output, this system is ideal for a small space or room.

Three kinds of direct heating systems:

  1. Gas-Fired Space Heaters
  2. Unvented Gas-Fired Heaters
  3. Electric Space Heaters

Gas-Fired Space Heaters

Gas-fired space heaters are available as wall-mounted, free-standing, or floor furnaces that do not require ductwork or outdoor equipment. Propane, natural gas, or kerosene are used in these heaters. These are little portable heaters that can be used to warm a single room. They are inexpensive and simple to install without the assistance of an expert. Manually operated, they pose fewer safety risks than unvented gas-fired heaters.

Unvented Gas-Fired Heaters

Unvented gas heaters are particularly dangerous to use since they lack vents. Due to the health and safety risks, professionals advise against using such heaters. Several states in the United States have outlawed them, including California, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Montana, and Alaska. Such gas heaters can suffocate a room if there isn't an appropriate ventilation system in place. It is critical to keep them close to a window.

Electric Space Heaters

Electric space heaters use metals as heating components to generate heat using electrical energy. These heaters are inexpensive to purchase, but they are not energy efficient because they create heat using electricity. Because these are plug-in heaters, the electric current from the wall socket is directly converted to heat. Electric heaters are suitable for small spaces but not for large ones. Electric heaters require a constant source of electricity to operate.

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