Choosing a Heating System
Choosing a Heating System for Your Home is a Big Investment. Since it is also a long term one, selecting the right heating system is important. Whether it's for a new home, adding a heat source or replacing an existing system. It is important to understand the systems available, costs, energy ratings, and so on.
Let’s start with the heating system types.
There are three main types of heating systems to consider. We’re going with the one that’s making the most rounds these days, heat pumps.
These heating systems work all year round. During winter, they reverse the refrigerant cycle to deliver heat to your house through an air source. These systems are energy efficient compared to other types of heat. Their operating costs can compare to sometimes being lower than furnaces. If opting for this system, look out for the HSPF (heating seasonal performance factor) rating. The higher the rating, the lower the potential energy costs.
A ductless or mini-split heat pump is an ideal option for homes that do not have a duct system. If your home has many rooms, it may be expensive to have as many indoor units as outdoor ones. There are options to connect multiple wall-mounted indoor units. These can be installed in different rooms, connected to one outdoor unit. Again, this system can heat or cool your home without installing a duct system and incurring additional expenses.
A ducted heat pump sends conditioned air through a forced-air system. This is a good option if your home uses forced air where the ducts are already laid out.
An even more efficient heat pump is a ground source or geothermal system. This system absorbs heat from the ground or from a water source that has been pumped underground. They also have a higher HSPF rating. However, these are much more expensive than air-source heat pumps due to drilling or trenching costs.
Furnaces are up next.
These are the most common types of heating systems and they blow heated air through a duct system. Furnaces usually run on natural gas, oil, propane or electricity. They are energy efficient but the cost varies depending on the rates of fuel, electricity and energy costs. Similar to the HSPF of a heat pump, look for an AFUE (Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency) for furnaces. A rating of 80 or higher means more money saved on energy consumption. The initial investment for these systems is typically higher. This is due to having a heat source, a storage space for the heat source like an oil or propane tank and the furnace itself.
Boilers are the final heating system.
The term boilers and furnaces have often been interchanged quite frequently to seem like one and the same but they both work differently. A boiler heats water via propane, oil, natural gas and electricity and sends them around your home. Usually through copper pipes in baseboard heaters, radiators or aluminum panels in a home’s floor, walls and ceilings.
Radiant floor heat is another option for boilers. This system transfers heat without circulating allergens and eliminates the need for air ducts. This is done by water-based and the more common electric systems. Hot water runs through pipes to create heat whereas wiring beneath the floor is heated via electricity to generate heat.
Other factors to consider
Be sure to take into account the long term costs of operating and maintaining your heating system and not only the initial cost. To persuade homes to become more energy-efficient, heat pumps often come with rebates on select products that meet particular standards.
Before deciding on a heating system, make sure that the fuel source for the heating system is readily available and also at a good price.
The most common factor to consider is the efficiency of the system. The higher the efficiency, the less cost to operate including long term costs.
For more information or questions about heating systems, feel free to give us a call on 1-877-570-4040