11 Types of Heating Systems to Consider for Your Home

When you’re building a new home in St. Peters, MO or your existing home needs a new heating system, you’ll have to choose from a lot of options. The type of heating system best suited for your home depends on many factors, including whether or not it has an existing ductwork system or a natural gas connection. Some additional considerations include your home’s layout and age as well as your lifestyle. Let’s take a look at 10 types of heating systems to consider for your home.

1. Forced-air Gas-powered Furnace

The most common type of home heating system in the United States is the forced-air gas furnace. This type of heating system consists of two main components. The first is the gas furnace, which burns natural gas in a combustion chamber. The second part of the system is the air handler. The air handler blows the heated air into a network of supply ducts that serve each room of your home. A separate set of ducts returns the cooled air to the furnace. A forced-air natural gas requires a flue to ventilate the combustion gases. A heat energy recovery ventilator can be added to a forced-air gas furnace system to recover the heat that would otherwise be lost to the combustion byproducts.

2. Electric Furnace

Houses that lack a natural gas connection or propane supply often use an electric furnace for heating. An electric furnace uses rows of heating elements, which are similar to the heating elements in a toaster oven or hair dryer. A blower forces air over the heating elements, and the heated air enters the ductwork system. Homes with heat pumps often have an auxiliary electric furnace as a backup source of heat for times when the outdoor temperature will not allow an air-source heat pump to extract enough heat energy for warmth.

3. Boiler and Radiators

Many older homes, duplexes and multi-family homes use a conventional boiler and radiator system for heating. A traditional boiler heating system consists of a central boiler that uses natural gas to create steam or hot water. The steam or hot water circulates through a series of cast iron pipes. In each room of the home, a large radiator releases the heat. The radiators are usually located near a window and in an upright configuration to maximize heat distribution. Once the steam condenses into water, it flows back to the central boiler to be reheated. In newer boiler and radiator systems, electric pumps facilitate the return of the cooled water.

4. Electric Baseboard Heating

Electric baseboard heating systems use electrical strips located near the intersection of the floor and wall. This is also a type of radiant heating. Hot air rises from the baseboards to warm the room. It also warms objects, including the flooring. The cold air sinks and returns to the unit for reheating. Some types of baseboard heating systems use hot water in a series of tubing. An electric heating element heats the water.

5. Electric Resistance Heating Units

Electric resistance heating units mount onto your wall. They’re often used in home additions, such as attic and basement conversions, new primary bedroom suites and enclosed porches and patios not connected to a ductwork system. If your home’s existing heating system lacks sufficient capacity to heat a newly finished living space, an electric resistance heating unit provides radiant heating at a cost-effective price.

6. Air-source Heat Pump

An air-source heat pump is the most common type of heat pump. These systems provide cost-effective heating and cooling to houses located in moderate climates, including that of St. Peters. An air-source heat pump uses a refrigerant to transfer heat between your home and the outside air. In the wintertime, the heat pump extracts heat from the air, transfers it to the refrigerant and pumps it into the indoor unit. The indoor unit connects to an air handler. The air handler’s blower pushes room-temperature air from your home across the heat pump’s warm coils. The warmed air passes through a filter and into your home’s ducts for distribution into your living space.

7. Mini-split System

A mini-split system works like a heat pump, but instead of one indoor unit, it has multiple indoor units. Each indoor unit mounts onto the ceiling or wall. This creates a zoned heating system. You can turn on one, a few or all of the indoor units. Each indoor unit has its own thermostat. This type of heating is ideal if you only use one part of your house at a time and don’t want to heat the entire home. It also facilitates customized temperature control to suit different people’s preferences.

8. Water-source Heat Pump

A water-source heat pump transfers heat energy between a source of water and your home. It can use a nearby pond on your property. A network of pipes contains the refrigerant. The pipes connect to the water source and your home. In the wintertime, the heat pump absorbs heat from the water and uses it to heat your house. These heat pumps also use an air handler to distribute the heat throughout your home’s rooms.

9. Geothermal Heat Pump

Geothermal heat pumps offer optimal energy efficiency and low operating costs, but they’re more expensive upfront. They make use of the Earth’s naturally consistent temperature. A network of pipes buried several feet below the surface transfers heat energy between the Earth and your house. Geothermal heat pumps distribute the heated air with an air handler and your home’s ductwork.

10. Wood or Pellet Stove

Wood and pellet stoves are a traditional source of heat for homes without a gas supply. Older homes often have one. They can also be added to a newly built or existing home. Today, most wood and pellet stoves offer supplemental heating. They may heat one room of a home, such as an enclosed patio or a newly added family room. Some manufacturers offer inserts for masonry fireplaces that convert the fireplace into a unit that can burn pellets or wood for heat. The addition of a blower modernizes this type of heating and allows it to heat a larger space. A wood or pellet stove requires a flue to release the byproducts of combustion.

11. In-floor Radiant Heat

In-floor radiant heating systems are typically added when a home undergoes remodeling or during the initial construction. Retrofitting is possible, but it requires considerable labor. With in-floor radiant heat, wiring installed under ceramic or stone tiles warms the floor with the flip of a switch. This type of heating is often used for just one small room, such as a guest bathroom or a three-season room that is not in use most of the time.

If you’re not in need of a new heating system right now, we also offer air conditioner installations. Our heating and cooling maintenance and repair services keep you comfortable year-round. Homeowners in St. Peters also count on us for indoor air quality solutions, smart thermostats, water heaters and zoned systems. For more information about the different types of heating systems and which one would be the best choice for your home, contact us at Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning today.

Meet the Author
Bethany DeLaurencio
Bethany DeLaurencio

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