Different Heating Systems

and How they Influence your Home’s Energy Efficiency and Thermal Comfort

There are several systems used to heat a home. Some heating systems also integrate with a home’s cooling system. Other systems do one or the other only. HVAC refers to heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning and is a key factor in all homes. In some cases, solar space heating systems can work with the following systems to further reduce energy consumption costs. Furthermore, heat recovery systems can also be incorporated into existing systems to improve the quality of air inside a home. This is done by capturing the stale air leaving the home to preheat the fresh, clean air entering the home.

Central Heating Systems

These systems generate heat in a central area of a home and distribute it throughout.

Boiler (radiator distribution system)

Like a furnace, boilers are central heating systems. Boilers are a common heating system that uses hot water or steam through pipes to provide heating. Boilers are significantly more expensive to install. Also, they are not the most cost-efficient way to heat a home.

Furnace (forced air distribution system)

A furnace system is gas-powered and distributes heated, conditioned air through ducts from a central heating system. Most homes use a natural gas furnace to heat the air but there are also electric, propane or oil furnaces. Also, air conditioners use the same ductwork to spread cooled air during the summer months.

Other Heating Systems:

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps help both cool and heat a home. They use electricity and refrigerant to transfer heat rather than generate heat directly like a furnace. Because they transfer heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps are very energy efficient and provide comfortable temperatures for your home, but may not be the best option in extreme climates.

Hybrid Heating

Hybrid heating combines the power of a gas furnace with the energy efficiency of a heat pump. The heat pump will operate to heat and cool your home in mild temperatures while the furnace activates during extreme temperatures. Lastly, by not stressing just one system to heat the home, hybrid heating significantly reduces repairs and maintenance.

Radiant Heating

Radiant heat uses special tubes in the floor and sometimes ceiling or walls to send hot water or electrically generated heat. This eliminated the need for ducts for distribution. The major downfall to radiant heating systems is expensive to repair costs if problems arise because it integrated into the floor or wall structure of the home.

Baseboard Heaters

Baseboard heaters allow for temperature zonal heating without the technology of the above, forced heating systems. However, they are less efficient and more expensive to run than modern heat pumps. Baseboard heaters install along the bottom of your walls or under windows. This means they are more exposed and obvious, possibly hurting interior looks. Baseboard heaters are mostly electric, but also come as hydronic which means they operate by heating water along with coils.

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