Friday, February 3, 2023

Comparing the Different Fuel Sources to Heat Your Home

 1. Furnace

Forced air distribution systems are by far the most common type of home

heating systems. They use a furnace with a blower fan that delivers

heated, conditioned air to the house’s various rooms through a network

of ducts. Because forced air systems share the same blower and ductwork

as the air conditioner, they can also be used during the summer months.


Fuel source: Natural gas, propane, oil or electricity

Advantage: Forced air furnaces combined cooling and heating capabilities

in one system

Disadvantage: Gas furnaces can pose risks for fires, explosions or

carbon monoxide poisoning

2. Boiler

Older homes and apartments may have traditional boilers and radiator

systems. These use a central boiler that circulates steam or water

through pipes to radiator units around the house. This is best for

providing zoned heating and cooling, but it isn’t as efficient for

heating more spacious areas of the house at once.


Fuel source: Natural gas, propane, fuel oil, biodiesel blends or electricity

Advantage: Provide comfortable heat that doesn’t dry out the air like

other heating systems

Disadvantage: Boiler systems cannot be combined with air conditioning

for a year-round HVAC system

3. Heat Pump

Heat pumps are the newest home heating system technology. They use a

system similar to an air conditioner by extracting heat from the air and

delivering it to the home through an indoor air handler. A popular heat

pump system is known as the mini-split or ductless heating system.


This system uses a small outdoor compressor unit and indoor air handlers

that can be placed in different rooms throughout the house. They can be

a flexible addition since they can be switched to air conditioning mode

during the summer months.


Fuel source: Electricity or natural gas

Advantage: No ductwork is required and wall units allow for precise

control of each room’s temperature

Disadvantage: Not efficient in frigid climates

4. In-Floor Radiant

Radiant systems provide even heat throughout the house. Most in-floor

radiant systems use plastic water tubing inside concrete slab floors or

attached to the bottom of wood floors. They are very quiet compared to

other home heating systems. There are also in-floor radiant heating

systems that use electrical wiring to work with ceramic or stone tile



While they are slow to heat up and adjust to temperature changes,

in-floor radiant systems are energy efficient and provide heated comfort

to every inch of the house.


Fuel sources: Natural gas, propane, electricity or solar hot water systems

Advantage: Radiant systems provide steady, even and comfortable heat

across the entire home

Disadvantage: If maintenance problems emerge, it’s difficult to access

the hidden piping system and it might require tearing down flooring

5. Electric Resistance

Electric resistance heating systems or electric heaters are not used as

the primary home heating system due to the high cost of electricity.

However, they are a good supplemental heating system for home offices,

basements, season rooms and homes without other heating systems.


Electric heaters are easy to install and relatively inexpensive. They’re

usually portable, making them easy to transport from room to room. They

also don’t have any moving parts, requiring virtually no maintenance,

ductwork, air handlers or any other equipment.


Fuel source: Electricity

Advantage: Electric resistance systems are incredibly versatile and can

be installed almost anywhere

Disadvantage: They use a lot of electricity and can significantly

increase energy bills

6. Baseboard Heater

Hot water baseboard heater systems, also known as hydronic systems, are

a modern form of radiant heat that can be highly efficient. Using a

central boiler, these systems heat water that circulates through a

system of water pipes to low-profile baseboard heating units. These are

updated versions of the traditional upright radiator system. They help

heated air rise from the baseboard unit while pushing cold air toward

the unit for heating.


Fuel source: Natural gas, propane, fuel oil or electricity

Advantage: Hydronic systems offer precise temperature control mechanisms

Disadvantage: Boiler and hot water systems cannot be combined with air

conditioning systems


7. Electric Space Heater

Also known as portable or plug-in space heaters, electric heaters can be

affordable for homeowners who don’t live in cold weather. These are

excellent temporary solutions that can provide targeted and controlled

heat within minutes of being plugged into an electricity source.


Electric space heaters are oil-filled and convert electric current

directly into heat, similarly to how a toaster works. Some modern

electric space heaters also have cooling fans that can be used during

warmer days, making them an excellent choice for studio apartments, home

offices, basements and smaller rooms.


Fuel source: Electricity

Advantage: These heater systems can offer an instant heat source

Disadvantage: Their systems won’t heat an entire room or house

8. Active Solar Heating

A more modern home heating system, active solar heating, uses solar

energy to heat a fluid and transfers solar heat directly into the

interior space or a storage system for later use. These are usually

supplemented by radiant heating systems, boilers or heat pumps. But

active solar heating systems can distribute the heat using the radiant

floor, hot water baseboards or a central forced-air system.

 Unfortunately, active solar systems still rely on other home heating

systems to be 100% efficient.


Fuel source: Solar energy

Advantage: A more environmentally-friendly approach to heating a house

Disadvantage: Active solar systems still rely on traditional heating

systems to operate

9. Hybrid Heating

Hybrid heating home systems combine the energy efficiency of a heat pump

system with the power of a gas furnace. Most of the time, the heat pump

operates at total capacity to heat the home. Then, during extreme

weather conditions, the furnace will complement the system to reach the

desired temperatures.


Because both systems complement each other, there is significantly less

strain on each system, which means less repairs and replacements.


Fuel source: Natural gas and electricity

Advantage: Hybrid systems offer a complete heating solution that works

at extreme temperatures

Disadvantage: The heat pump system will require regular maintenance and

a service check every other year

10. Gravity Air Furnace

A modern version of the traditional furnace heating system, gravity air

furnaces distribute air through ducts. However, rather than forcing air

through a blower, gravity air furnace systems let warm air rise and cool

air sink. A furnace in the basement heats the air, which rises into the

rooms through the doors, and cool air returns to the furnace via another

system of cold-air return ducts.


Fuel source: Natural gas, propane, oil or electricity

Advantage: This system has virtually no moving parts, so it requires

little maintenance

Disadvantage: It takes time for the temperature to adjust because the

system operates on simple convection currents

Bottom Line

Understanding the many types of home heating systems will allow you to

make the best decisions about how to heat your home, or decide which

system you’d prefer when searching for a home. Knowing which system

works best for you could help you save time and money down the road.



Wednesday, March 13, 2019

How To Stay Cool On Hot Summer Nights

Summer Is Coming – Here are some ways to air condition your home and stay cool on hot summer nights!

Air Conditioners
Air conditioning seems like a simple way to stay cool in the hot summer. But, cooling your home is more complicated than most people realize because you are using energy to remove heat. Electricity can be costly but that is used to operate an air conditioner which takes heat from a cooler place and dumps it in a warmer place. The most commonly used air conditioner uses a compressor cycle that is similar-to your refrigerator, which transfers heat from your house to the outdoors.

Heat Pumps
Heat pumps cool a larger area or even the entire house. A large compressor unit that is placed outside your home. Heat pumps are like central air and can pump through ducts but the difference is that these heat pump units can be reversed and used for heat during the colder months.

Central Air Conditioners
Central Air will cool your entire home through ducts. The ducts used for the central air are also used with a furnace for forced hot-air heating. Usually the central air will use the furnace fan to push air through the ducts and into the house.

Comparing the Different Fuel Sources to Heat Your Home

 1. Furnace Forced air distribution systems are by far the most common type of home heating systems. They use a furnace with a blower fa...