Heating options are plentiful in the world of heating. For most American homeowners, keeping interior spaces comfortable is the single largest energy expense for their home. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling account for 48% of a typical home energy budget. If your present heating system is more than 20 years old, you are probably spending a significant amount to keep it running – funds that could be better spent on a new, more energy-efficient system.
Understanding Heating Options
Selecting an appropriate heating system that is best-suited for your geographical location and needs requires a basic understanding of the differences between different heating systems, including their efficiency ratings as well as long-term operating costs. Installing the wrong system for your climate or heating requirements could end up costing more in the long run. Knowing the difference between furnaces, ductless heating, and heat pumps can help you avoid issues such as:
- Lack of heat
- Reduced efficiency
- Frequent system failures
- Not enough space for proper installation
- Increased repair and maintenance costs
On the other hand, selecting the right heating system for your home has many benefits. Choosing the best type of system is an investment that will pay for itself and will bring you peace of mind due to:
- Reduced energy costs
- A long-lasting, durable system
- Reliable heating
- Increased home value
- Reduced carbon footprint
Types of Heating Systems
Knowing the differences between the different heating options, gas furnaces, ductless systems and heat pumps will help you determine which system is the perfect match for your family’s needs. When shopping for a new heating system, look for a high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. This rating measures how efficiently your heater utilizes its fuel. The more efficient your furnace is, the more heat it will return per unit of fuel.
Gas furnaces are fueled by either propane or natural gas, and typically cost less to install than heat pumps. A new high-efficiency furnace consumes more than 30% less fuel than less efficient, outdated furnaces. Due to rising oil and natural gas costs, it is important to select a system that helps you reduce your heating energy consumption.
Newer gas furnaces aren’t just more efficient – they are much quieter than older models, provide more even heating, and maintain more constant temperature levels. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, high-efficiency gas furnaces feature a second heat exchange, sealed combustion and a 90% to 98.5% AFUE.
Ductless heating systems move air through different areas or ‘zones’ in your home. They are easy to install, but typically cost more to install than a furnace. Ductless systems, also called split-systems, multi-split systems, and split-ductless systems, offer highly flexible solutions for a range of home comfort issues. While heat pumps force heated and cooled air through ducts, a ductless system delivers air directly to a specific zone.
Ductless systems are smaller than comparable forced-air systems, meaning they operate on less power, and are more efficient since the temperature-controlled air is delivered directly where desired. Ductless systems allow homeowners to only heat specific occupied rooms or zones within the home. Because they don’t have ducts that can attract dust and allergens, and they offer multi-stage filtration, they can increase indoor air quality by reducing dust, pollen, bacteria, and allergens in the home.
Heat pumps operate by using electricity to heat and cool indoor spaces. Heat pumps are the best heating options for temperate climates, though they typically cost more to install than furnaces. Electric heat pumps are one of the most efficient heating systems available. They operate as a furnace during chilly weather, absorbing warmth from the ground or atmosphere, multiplying it, and delivering it to the home. Conversely, it works as an air conditioner during hotter months, transferring heat from the home. Heat pumps can be operated on gas or electricity.
Heat pumps don’t generate dry heat, so there’s no need to use a humidifier during operation. Heat pump systems are less expensive to use than systems fueled by natural gas and don’t experience the fluctuations in temperature commonly seen in other types of systems. While the initial installation may cost more than other systems, and they require more maintenance, they are more environmentally friendly.
If you are considering purchasing a new heating system or replacing an existing one, scheduling an energy audit can help you make the right decision. An energy audit measures a variety of factors, including heat loss through doors and windows, the integrity of existing ductwork, the overall efficiency of your present heating system, and insulation levels. Also take into account any federal or state tax credits or utility rebates offered by Energy Star partners for installing a new, energy efficient heating system.
Possible Results For Not Maintaining Your Heating System
As the weather turns colder, you’ll come to rely on your home is heated quickly and efficiently. Properly maintaining it now can ensure that you have heat all fall and winter and make it less likely that you’ll need to have your heating system repaired. An improperly maintained heating system results in a decrease in its energy efficiency which means you’ll see an increase in your utility bills. In addition, you’ll have an increased chance of fire as well as a higher likelihood of exposure to carbon dioxide
Homeowner Tips for Your Heating System
There are simple and effective tips that homeowners can take advantage of to improve their heating system.
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on a monthly basis by following the testing method for each device. Put a reminder on your phone and have it repeat each month so you don’t forget.
- change and replace your air filters on a regular basis to improve the efficiency of your heating system
- keep all your belongings at least three feet away from your heating system to reduce the chances of them catching on fire
- always turn off any portable heaters when you leave the room or go to bed for the night to prevent them from accidentally overheating or falling over and causing a fire
- install a metal or glass fire screen in front of your fireplace to reduce the chances of a stray spark catching your floor or the surrounding area on fire
Call Rebmann Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning today to learn more about your heating options!