Which Heating Option Should I Choose for My Home?

Whether you’re building a home or renovating, there are multiple options for heating the space to choose among. Take some time to learn a little about each option and its pros and cons.

There are no right or wrong answers – the best heating option for your home is the one that reduces your energy use at a price you can afford. As you consider the options, bear in mind that the installation cost and the operating cost are both factors worth considering.

If you plan on remaining in your home long term, an energy-efficient heating option that costs more to install might be cost-efficient over time. However, if you’re thinking of moving in a few years, you might prefer a cheaper installation cost and a higher operating cost. There are trade-offs, so think about what’s best for you.

Let’s take a look at the most popular, available, practical home heating options and their pros and cons.

BOILER

A boiler is actually a special-purpose water heater dedicated to warming your home. It can be fuelled by either gas, propane or heating oil, depending on which is less expensive and more readily available in your area.

A boiler distributes the heat using hot water, which releases the heat as it passes through radiators in the rooms of your home or distributes it through coils in the flooring, allowing it to radiate up. The cooler water is returned to the boiler and is reheated to use again.

Many homes today use condensing boilers that use a secondary heat exchanger to take better advantage of the heat created.

It is also possible to install a combination (combi) boiler that is used to heat both your home and its water for cooking, bathing, etc.

PROS AND CONS OF A BOILER

Boilers provide quiet heat – unlike the radiators of old – and can be used for zone heating by shutting radiators on or off. They don’t distribute dust and allergens, since no ductwork is involved, so they suit people with allergies.

They are more expensive than furnaces for equipment and repairs and cost more to operate than heat pump systems. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating for condensing boilers is 90 to 98 per cent. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the furnace or boiler. Installation costs are relatively low.

FURNACE

A furnace heats air and sends it around a home using a series of ducts that deliver the air to rooms through vents. It can be powered by electricity, gas, propane or fuel oil.

The burning fuel creates heat and the hot gases created pass through heat exchangers where the heat, but not the gas, is transferred to air circulated by a blower fan.

Thanks to today’s technology, variable-capacity gas valves, secondary heat exchangers and variable-speed blowers combine to produce very efficient heating.

PROS AND CONS OF A FURNACE

Operating costs for the most efficient furnaces can be high, although installation costs are low. They provide indoor comfort, although some heat can be lost leaking out of the ductwork. The best furnaces have an AFUE rating of 95 to 98 per cent.

GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP

Geothermal heating takes advantage of the Earth’s renewable heat, using buried loops to collect the sun’s heat that is stored in the ground’s soil or water and a heat pump to condense and distribute the warmth throughout your home, usually using forced air.

It is a very efficient system, because it uses heat that already exists. The most efficient closed loop systems have an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 35 per cent; the best open loop systems have an EER of 45 per cent. The higher the rating, the more efficient the system.

PROS AND CONS OF A GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP

These systems are tremendously efficient and the loops are long-lasting. High equipment and repair costs can be drawbacks.

They pay for themselves most quickly in warm, humid climates, followed by cold climates. They don’t make sense in moderate climates with minimal need for heating or cooling.

MINI-SPLIT HEAT PUMP

These ductless pumps draw heat from the air and return it to the air; in summer they cool the house by drawing heat from the home and sending it outdoors. They require an outdoor unit that can service as many as eight indoor units.

The refrigerant in the outdoor unit collects heat from the air, circulates it and releases it through a coil and distributes it through a blower in the indoor unit.

The inverter technology they use adjusts the heat in rooms precisely, so there is no overheating or overcooling. Most mini-splits today have an EER of 20 or slightly above.

PROS AND CONS OF A MINI-SPLIT HEAT PUMP

The mini-splits offer efficiency at a cheaper rate than geothermal units, but installation costs are high for multi-zone systems, since a unit for each zone must be installed separately.

STANDARD SPLIT HEAT PUMP

Standard heat pumps are still generally the most affordable and most popular heating option. They circulate refrigerant between an outdoor unit and an indoor unit and are used for both heating and air-conditioning.

The indoor unit is either an air handler or furnace. In cold weather, the system gathers heat outdoors and releases it indoors; the opposite takes place during the summer. The air is circulated by a blower through ductwork.

PROS AND CONS OF A STANDARD SPLIT HEAT PUMP

These systems use only a small amount of power to circulate the refrigerant. Standard heat pumps may be less efficient than mini-splits and geothermal systems, but they also cost less.

Their EER is about 15 per cent. They offer better value than furnaces and boilers. Costs are affected by unit size, performance and installation issues.

There’s lots of choice available when it comes to heating your home. Talk to an HVAC professional to discuss your needs and determine which system might work best for you.


We will be happy to discuss heating options for your home with you.

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© Next Day Home Services Inc. 2020Privacy PolicyTELEPHONE: 604.897.3411ADDRESS: 19486 60 Ave #101, Surrey, BC V3S 3S7

© Next Day Home Services Inc. 2020Privacy PolicyTELEPHONE: 604.897.3411ADDRESS: 19486 60 Ave #101, Surrey, BC V3S 3S7