If you’re having a new home built, or if you’re renovating an old one, you may be asking yourself which type of heating system you should be putting in. There are a number of choices, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here, we are going to look at the main variants so you can decide which is best for you.
The first type of heating system, and the most common one, is forced air. Here, air is heated by your furnace, and then sent up through ductwork into each room. The furnace typically runs off of gas or oil, with gas being the more economical option.
The good thing about forced air is that you can use the same system for air conditioning, and you can also humidify or dehumidify the air before it is distributed. However, on the downside, forced-air heating can be noisy and can go out of balance – this is when some rooms are too hot and others too cold. In this case, you’ll have to get someone in to adjust the system – for example, if you live in Houston you will need to find a reputable Houston heater repair company.
Another popular type of heating system is radiant heat. Here, rooms are warmed by hot water that flows through tubing that is embedded in the floor. There are also options to do this using radiant panels in the ceiling. Many people think this is the most comfortable type of heating, as it gently warms the air in the room to a consistent temperature. However, it is expensive to put in and repairs can also be expensive if anything goes wrong with the tubing. It also takes quite a long time to warm up.
Hot water baseboard heaters are a variation on radiant heating, where water is circulated to units situated along the baseboards. These units contain fins that transfer heat efficiently to the surrounding air. The advantages and disadvantages are similar to radiant heat, with the added problem that the baseboard units need to be kept unobstructed – which can make it difficult to position furniture.
Another variant of this is steam radiant heating, where superheated water is pushed up to large radiators situated along the walls. The problem with this approach is that the radiators can be quite ugly and make it even more difficult to arrange furniture in the room.
No matter which type of heating you choose, make sure that you put in an efficient furnace or boiler. Even if you already have a heating system installed, you can save money by replacing your old boiler or furnace with a new, energy-efficient one. While there is obviously an upfront cost to doing this, old systems were only about 60% efficient, whereas newer ones are over 98% efficient.
Not only will you spend less money on fuel, you will also reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5 to 2.5 tons per year. Just look for the ENERGY STAR label on your new boiler to make sure that it is going to deliver the energy efficiency you expect.