Most people never give their home heating systems a second thought. Once you move in and as long as your home heater works, you likely ignore your heater. Most people accept whatever heater their home comes with and might not even know there are different home heating system options. Most heating systems have a few options. Whether you are looking into a propane water heater, a wood-burning space heater, or a new home heating system, know that you have options. Look at all the options and decide the best system for your needs. Here are some tips and tricks to choose the best home heating system to keep you warm this winter.
Types of Home Heating Systems
There are three main types of home heating systems: central heating using ducts, ductless heating systems, and direct heating systems. There are a few subcategories within each primary type, each with different ways to achieve that type of heating system. Each type has pros and cons, but how much your needs will determine how much those pros and cons matter.
Central Heating Duct and Pipe-Based System
Central heating systems with ducts provide heat to several rooms or areas with the same network. The ducts run through the walls and ceilings to ensure there are vents in each area, so the whole house is heated. Duct-based central heating systems use boilers, furnaces, or heat pumps to generate heat.
Furnaces use oil, gas, or electricity to generate heat in one area and distribute it through the ducts. Furnaces are generally highly efficient, quiet, affordable, and long-lasting, but oil furnaces are the least efficient out of all furnaces.
Boilers are special-use water heaters that pump hot water through pipes to distribute heat to radiators throughout the house with pipes to take the cold water back to the boiler. Boilers are typically power by gas or other natural fuels. Boilers are easy to set up and control, but annual maintenance is suggested to avoid future problems.
Ductless Heating Systems
Ductless heating systems are economical and easy to install, but they are less suited for larger homes. Ductless systems are stand-alone units that heat a specific area or room with some heat making its way to the rest of the house, but do not expect a single unit to heat a multi-bedroom home.
WIndow AC units can come with heat to act as a ductless heating system. These window units are widespread, cheap, and easy to install. If you have a heating system that is not enough in one room or want to heat a specific area more, adding a window unit is a good option. The combo of AC and heat makes window units appealing in all seasons.
Portable standing heating units are typically wheel-mounted indoor units that you can move where you need more heat. Portable heaters are ideal for smaller spaces and budgets as they are inexpensive to buy and use. These heaters are an excellent alternative to window units if you are not a fan of taking up a window slot.
Direct Heating Systems
Direct heating systems do not rely on an outdoor unit or a duct system to distribute heat. Direct heat systems supply heat in the immediate area around the unit, making them perfect for small spaces because of the small overall heat output.
Gas space heaters can be portable, wall-mounted, or free-standing floor furnaces that use propane, natural gas, or kerosene. You can install vented gas space heaters yourself without a professional and are low-cost overall. Be careful to buy a vented gas space heater as unvented gas heaters are very dangerous. Professionals discourage their use entirely as they have been banned in several states over safety concerns.
Electric space heaters are very common as they are perfect for small rooms and are very easy on the wallet. These plug-in heaters might be cheap to buy, but they are not energy efficient and require continuous power to keep producing heat. Please do not buy an electric space heater for larger rooms, as it is rarely worth the energy expenditure.
Which System Is Best For You
The best home heating system for you entirely depends on your needs and budget. Adding ducts or pipes to your home will be an expensive and extensive project, but will leave you with a heating system to cover your whole house. Space heaters are suitable for supplemental heat or heating a single room while also being low cost.
Everyone should be comfortable in their home, and in winter, being comfortable includes adequate heat. Your home should come with a heating system, but that doesn’t mean you are stuck with it forever. Determine your needs, what you want your home heating system to accomplish, and your budget to find out which heating system is best for you.