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7 Types of Home Heating Systems

When shopping for a heating system, you’ll come across multiple types of systems, with a few of them you’ve likely never heard of. There are pros and cons to each one that you should consider before making a decision.

  1. Forced air heating/cooling system

This is the most common HVAC system used in homes across North America. The forced air heating/cooling system uses a furnace and blower fan to deliver warm air to various rooms in a home. They quickly adjust the temperature in a room and can last up to 25 years. However, this type of system required ductwork and space in walls.

  1. Gravity air furnace system

Prior to forced air systems, the gravity air furnace relied on metal ducts to heat the home. The furnace is typically stored in the basement, which creates hot air that rises into various rooms in the home through ducts. They’re no longer the preferred option since they’re not as energy-efficient as forced air systems.

  1. In-floor radiant heating systems

In-floor radiant heating systems rely on plastic water tubing to deliver consistent heat. Maintenance can be difficult but the system is quiet, energy efficient, and lasts for several decades. 

  1. Traditional boiler and radiator systems

A central boiler circulates steam or hot water through pipes to radiator units located around the home to deliver heat. The traditional boiler and radiator system can be updated to baseboard or wall panel options, but the radiators can detract from a home’s visual appeal. In addition, the placement of radiators may limit furniture location or window covering options.

  1. Hot water baseboard radiator

Also called a hydronic system, the hot water baseboard radiator, uses a centralized boiler to heat water that circulates through a system of water pipes. Baseboard heating units radiate heat from the water via thin metal fins that surround the water pipe. These systems are energy efficient and don’t require significant maintenance, but cannot be combined with air conditioning and take a while to heat up.

  1. Heat pump heating systems

A heat pump extracts heat from the air and uses an indoor air handler to deliver heat to the home. This system doesn’t require ductwork, but is best suited for mild climates.

  1. Electric resistance heating systems

These systems are typically used in basements, home offices, and seasonal rooms like porches and sunrooms. They have silent operation and don’t require ductwork to function, but are expensive to operate and use a lot of electricity.

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