The Different Types of Home Heating Systems

Central heating has come a long way from its original design. When Alice H. Parker first patented a central heating system in 1919, it was a large contraption that looked like an octopus. Now, central heating solutions can be as big or as small as your home requires. With so many options, we often have homeowners struggling to decide on which home heating system is best for them. Therefore, we’ve put together this handy guide.

Furnace or Central Air System

Furnaces are the most common type of central heating system found in North America. This forced air appliance is made up of a furnace and blower fan. The furnace temperature treats the air, and the blower fan distributes said treated air through ductwork and into your home.

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These appliances are powered by natural gas, propane, fuel oil, or electricity. They can live anywhere in the home but are most commonly found in attics. 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.

Despite all the glowing reviews, there are a few drawbacks to consider. When installing a heater into a home with no central air, it requires ductwork to be installed in your walls. Leading to a big process of tearing up and putting together drywall. The only other complaints we hear is that furnaces are loud and can dry out the air.

Boiler or Radiation Distribution System

Boilers are slowly becoming a thing of the past, but in older Southern California homes, they’re still seen from time to time. More often than not, we see boilers in older apartment buildings where a single radiator is all that’s needed to heat a small space.

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Hot water is used to heat homes with a boiler. The boiler will bring in cold water, heat treat it, then send it to any connected radiators. Once the water hits the radiator, it dissolves into the air, which leads to heat. Unlike a furnace system, a boiler uses a pump to send heat treated water through pipes in the home. These pipes can even be put under floors for radiant heating.

Just like everything else, there are some drawbacks to the boiler system. They can be slow to heat, so you’re stuck waiting a decent amount of time for a warm home.

Heat Pump

In terms of home heating systems, heat pumps are relatively new. Though they first came into vogue during the oil crisis of the 70s, technological innovations have ushered in a new rise in requests for heat pumps.

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Heat pumps are more like an air conditioner than anything else. They extract heat from the air and distribute it through your home with an indoor air handler. Even during the winter, heat pumps use refrigerant to pull any warmth from the air and put it into your home. Because of this they are the most efficient way to heat your home.

Heat pumps are very similar to the ductless or mini-split system we’re discussing below, the main difference is that heat pumps don’t use gas. Heat pumps run on electricity which could cut down your gas bill. Also, heat pumps generally work well in moderate climates, like the ones in Southern California. They don’t do well in places where the weather can dip below freezing.

Ductless or Mini-Split

A ductless or mini-split system has more in common with the traditional central heating and cooling system than a heat pump. Ductless heating and cooling systems have two components that work together: one outside and one inside.

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Outside the home is small compressor/condenser. Inside is an air handler, which cycles and distributes the air. Oftentimes, you can connect multiple air handlers to one condenser. Allowing for different areas of the home to have individual air options.

As the name implies, ductless systems are great for homes without existing ductwork. They are most often used in add-on units or older buildings. While the thought of having central air without ripping up your home sounds great, the initial price tag can turn some homeowners off the system.

Interested in Making Changes to Your Home Heating System?

It’s time to call the home heating experts at Service Champions! Our techs are trained every year so they’re in touch with new and innovative HVAC technology. They are also trained to understand that no two homes are the same. Each home needs an individual plan and there is no “one size fits all” solution. If you’re in our service areas of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, or San Bernardino counties, schedule an appointment today. Call the number at the top of the screen or click here to book online.