Defining Heating Systems

by Aubrey Eisel


Posted on 2019-10-27 20:17:01


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Defining Heating Systems

 

As we enter the cooler months, heating your home becomes a focus for those that get to experience the lovely rainy, snowy weather. There are times when an upgrade to your heating system is necessary, but a rule of thumb is that converting from forced air (furnace) to central heating (radiator) and vice versa is typically not a good idea. Improving the heating system already in place is generally more cost-effective in the end. Efficient systems mean an easier-to-manage utility bill.

Certain homes that have been built during certain time periods, or if they’re multi-family unit buildings require different ways to heat the unit. Below are two of the most popular systems.

 

Furnaces

Positives: they are inexpensive to install, they are typically more reliable and low-maintenance, they have longer life spans and can be electrical as well, they can filter the home’s air, and they are the most commonly used heating system in the U.S.

Furnaces using gas are rated based on their annual fuel utilization efficiency rating (AFUE). So, you can use this to gauge which furnace you want to use as this is what shows how much energy is converted into usable heat. 

Negatives: warm air can be dispersed unevenly, allergens can be produced, gas furnaces are potentially dangerous as a risk of fire or CO poisoning, and electric furnaces cost more, but are safer.

The upside is, there are premium models of furnaces that achieve an AFUE rating of 97%. So, you just need to be sure to choose a furnace that can properly heat your home without unnecessary ware to your system or waste energy.

 

Boilers

Positives: no dust and better air quality, quieter system, can be used to heat the water as well, sometimes more efficient than forced air.

Water is used to distribute and generate heat through pipes installed in the building or home and radiators, heat the floors, walls, baseboards, and air and this goes through a continuous loop. Boilers are powered either through electricity, propane, or natural gas. In order to distribute heat, you can use a few different systems such as steam radiators, hot water radiators, or hydronic radiant floors.

Negatives: they are typically more expensive than forced air systems, water can leak and cause damage, and natural gas is not available everywhere. Steam radiators are very old fashioned but are common in older buildings. Hydronic radiant floors are expensive as you need to install tubing under the floors in order to heat and are also expensive to replace.


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