Home heating systems are designed to keep your home warm and comfortable in the winter season. However, each type of system will work in a different manner in order to accomplish this goal. Understanding the differences between the different types of home heating systems can help you choose the one that is the best fit for your home.
Forced Air Furnaces
The most common type of home heating system on the market, a forced air furnace, will make use of a fuel, usually heating oil, natural gas, or electricity, to provide heat to your home. The fuel is burnt to heat air, which is then blown through ductwork throughout your home through the use of a fan. Furnaces that make use of natural gas or heating oil can operate even during a power outage, and these units often come bundled with an air conditioner that makes use of the same ductwork.
Steam systems are designed with a central boiler, which then moves hot water or steam to radiators or pipes throughout your home, where the heat from the water or steam is transferred to the air around the radiator or pipe. The main advantage of steam systems is that the exact heat of each room can be manipulated more easily by adjusting individual radiators, allowing you to customize your energy usage if need be. However, they take longer to heat up your home when compared to forced air furnaces.
Heat pumps work by bringing in hot air from outside your home during the winter and using a heat exchanger to move that heat inside, while pumping out cold air from inside your home. The inverse will happen during the summer, providing you with air conditioning as well. The main draw of heat pumps is that they are highly efficient, and can save you a significant amount of money in the long run. However, they only function well in areas with mild summers and mild winters and cannot heat or cool your home efficiently during severe weather.
Pipeless furnaces are not often found in full-sized homes. They burn fuel within a certain part of the furnace, which is right next to the room that is being heated. The heat will spread radiantly in order to raise the temperature of the adjacent room. These types of furnaces are just as efficient as a forced air furnace, but can only heat a single room at a time.
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