Now that it’s fall and with winter right around the corner, you may be starting to wonder if your heating system is ready to handle another season. On average, the service life of a furnace is 16-20 years. If your unit is on the older side of that range, it may be worth considering having a new system installed so you don’t have to worry about a breakdown and being stuck in the cold.
If this is the first time you’re buying a new heating system, or even if it’s been a decade or two, you may be surprised by the many different options available. Each type of home heating system comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Here are the seven most common types of systems.
The most common heating system in today’s home is the forced-air furnace. Furnaces are typically powered by natural gas, although propane, oil, and electricity can also be used. The furnace creates hot air, which is then blown by a fan and distributed through metal ducts to reach all the rooms in the home. One advantage of a forced-air system is that the same ductwork can be used with an air conditioning system for cooling.
Another example of a central heating system, the boiler works differently than the furnace in that it heats water or steam, which is then distributed through pipes. The heat is then transferred from the pipes into the room for heating. Boilers can run off various energy sources, including natural gas, oil, electricity, and wood. In general, they use less energy than furnaces but are more expensive to install.
Heat pumps work differently than furnaces and boilers. Instead of creating heating in a central location and distributing it around the home, a heat pump transfers heat from one area to another. For example, if you want your home to be warmer, the heat pump pulls heat energy from outside and brings it inside. Heat pumps work best in areas with moderate climates, which make them a good choice here in Southern California.
Hybrid heat pump and furnace
For the best of both worlds, a hybrid system includes both a heat pump and furnace in one. For most of your everyday heating needs, the heat pump will run for maximum energy efficiency. However, if the temperature drops below freezing it will activate the furnace to keep your home cozy. This dual-action reduces the stress on each unit.
If you have an addition or want to create zoned heating in your home, then a ductless mini-split system may be a good choice. The unit is placed directly in the room it’s intended to service, usually mounted on an exterior wall. This eliminates the need for ductwork and makes installation much easier.
Radiant heating uses the principle that heat rises. The system uses small tubes that heat from electricity or hot water, and is usually installed under the floor. Radiant heating systems can be very efficient, installed in specific rooms, and feel great on your feet. The downside is that repairs to this type of system can be expensive.
Now that you know the most common types of heating systems, you may have a better idea of which one will be best for your home. If you need extra guidance or if you’re ready for an installation estimate, call the HVAC professionals at Liberty Plumbing. We provide quality heating and cooling service to the Murrieta and Winchester, CA areas. Call us today at (951) 760-4215.