The quest for the most efficient way to heat a home has come a long way. When Alice H. Parker
first patented a central heating system in 1919, it was a large contraption that looked like more like an octopus than an appliance. This hefty heating system could only live in a basement because of its size and shape. Nowadays, things are looking a bit different. There are so many home heating systems on the market that it’s easy for the average homeowner to be overwhelmed. Because of this, we’ve created our own guide to the most popular types of home heating systems.
Furnace and Central Air System
In North America, furnaces are the most common type of home heating system
. This essential appliance has a lot of parts, but only two are the most essential: the blower fan and furnace. The furnace part
of the system helps treat the temperature in the air—taking it from cold to hot—and the blower fan sends the treated air through your ductwork and into the home.
Central heating systems are powered by natural gas, propane, fuel oil, or electricity. While they have greatly decreased in size, they are still a little bulky. You’ll normally find them hidden away in the attic, basement, utility closet and at time a garage. This type of home heating system is the most common for a reason. They are incredibly efficient and can be relatively cost effective depending on the make and model you invest in.
While this all sounds like great benefits, there are some very small drawbacks to this system if you don’t already have a central heating system in your home. If that’s the case, you’ll be required to install ductwork throughout your home. This means hiring a professional to install the ductwork system into your walls, attic and sometimes basement. T
Boiler or Radiation Distribution System
Did you ever live in a home or apartment with an older cast iron radiator? While these devices are slowly becoming a thing of the past, there are a few older homes in Sacramento and the Bay Area with them.
While gas and electricity are used to warm ambient air in most home heating systems, this one relies on water. The boiler pulls natural water and then boils it, it then sends the steam to any connected radiators. When the steam hits the radiator, the heat is projected into the surrounding areas around the boiler. Unlike a furnace system, a boiler uses a pump to send heat treated water through pipes in the home.
Boiler systems are a bit behind in technology and can be very inefficient. It often takes a long while to fully heat a room with only a radiator and boiler.
The next two items on this list are relatively new additions to the home heating family. Heat pumps rose to popularity during the 1970s oil crisis. While furnaces and mini-split systems rely on propane and natural gas, a heat pump relies solely on electricity
Heat pumps have more in common with an air conditioner than a traditional furnace. They pull in ambient outside air and use refrigerant, which is then compressed to help increase the airs temperature. The air is distributed through your home by an air handler. Because of heat pumps electricity usage, they are the most efficient heating system you could have in your home.
The biggest drawback is that heat pumps only work well in mild climates. They are unable to heat a home when the temperature dips below freezing. Fortunately for us, that rarely happens in Sacramento, Stockton, Vacaville, or the Bay Area.
Ductless or Mini-Split
Ductless, or mini-split, systems most often resemble an air conditioning system, having two components, one outside and one inside.
The outside component is a combination compressor and condenser. Inside the home is an air handler, which cycles and distributes the treated air throughout your home. If you have a larger home, you can connect multiple air handlers to one condenser
. This allows for different areas of the home to have different temperatures.
Ductless systems live up to their name. As we mentioned above, a drawback of installing a central heating system is that a homeowner also needs to install ductwork. While a mini-split system sounds like the answer to all your home needs, just keep in mind it can come with a steep price tag.
Ready for a Change to Your Home Heating System?
Then it’s time to call the experts at Bell Brothers. Our certified HVAC technicians are here and ready to serve our Sacramento, Stockton, Vacaville, and Bay Area communities. We’ve been in the heating and cooling business for almost 30 years. We understand that every home is as unique as the families who live in it and that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all solution.” To speak with someone or schedule an appointment, dial the number at the top of the screen or click here to book an appointment online