The main goal of home heating is to spread warmth throughout your living quarters in the most energy – and cost-efficient – way. The old saying, “Waste not, want not” should be a guiding light when determining how best to heat, and deliver that heat, to every part of the house. A well-designed heating system should be able to deliver heat to every room in the house. In most cases, this means that the heat will need to be distributed through ductwork. This is a good thing because it allows you to place your thermostat in a central location and have the heat delivered evenly throughout the house.
The Main Types of Heating Systems Are:
- Forced air (also called “conventional”)
- Hot water or hydronic
- Radiant floor
- Heat pump
Let’s take a look at these different systems in more detail:
Forced Air Systems
These systems use a furnace or boiler that burns fuel and pumps hot air into ducts that run throughout your home. A blower then distributes this warm air through vents in each room. These systems are very common and relatively inexpensive, but they do require maintenance and can be noisy. They also waste energy by blowing cool air back into your home when it leaves one room and enters another.
If you live in an older home with radiators instead of forced-air ducts, consider upgrading so that you can take advantage of all the benefits of forced-air heating. If your current system uses radiators, consider installing an electronic thermostat so that you can control them from a central location. You can also add ceiling fans in some rooms so that they will turn on automatically when the temperature rises above a certain level. This will help circulate warm air throughout your home while using less energy than if you left all the fans off all day long.
Hot Water/Hydronic Systems
These systems use hot water instead of hot air as their source of warmth, and they’re often used in conjunction with radiant flooring systems or electric baseboard units. In these systems, water is heated by either gas or oil boilers before being pumped through pipes under floors or into radiators located near walls where people spend most of their time (in bedrooms).
This type of system is very efficient because it doesn’t waste any energy trying to distribute warm air throughout large open spaces like forced-air systems do; however, it does require more maintenance than forced-air systems because its parts must be cleaned regularly and checked for leaks periodically. Also, note that hot water/hydronic systems work best when used with radiant flooring rather than baseboard electric units because baseboard units don’t produce enough heat per square foot for this type of system.
Radiant Floor Systems
These systems consist mainly of thick concrete slabs laid beneath wooden subfloors and carpeted floors which radiate warmth upward toward occupants standing above them (they also work great underneath tile floors!). These types of floors work best when combined with hot water/hydronic heating systems since their main purpose is simply warming up concrete slabs which then radiate warmth upward toward occupants standing above them rather than actually producing warmth themselves, as forced-air furnaces do.
Heat Pump Systems
Heat pump systems are a relatively new type of heating system that uses electricity to move heat from one place to another. In this case, the heat is moved from outside air into your home. These systems are very efficient because they don’t waste any energy trying to distribute warm air throughout large open spaces like forced-air systems; however, they do require more maintenance than forced-air systems because their parts must be checked for leaks and cleaned regularly.