Do you really know how your home is heated right now? Most people don’t even think about it. After all, they have a handy dandy thermostat to control their home’s climate for optimal comfort. Thanks to rising fuel costs though, homeowners are becoming more aware of their heating and cooling system and wondering how they can save money on their energy bill. If this scenario applies to you, it is possible to lower your energy bills.
Besides inspecting your home for obvious leaks in energy (weatherproofing and sealing cracks, etc.), you can invest in an energy efficient heating system. If your current system is old, it is not running at maximum efficiency, particularly since heating technology has come a long way in the past few years. The most energy efficient heating systems can be found in radiant heat, solar heat, furnaces, heat pumps, boilers, forced air heating and even hydronic heating. Basically you want to choose a system that you can not only operate easily but also saves you money on your heating bill. Here is a rundown of the different types of common heating systems:
1. Heat pumps This is a traditional system that is energy efficient and can also serve double duty as an air conditioner. Heat pumps use electricity but expend less energy than other electric appliances. This is because the pumps draw heat out of the air and its surroundings and transfer this heat into the home.
2. Forced air heating – Sometimes known as central heating, has a main chamber called the furnace which uses gas, electric, coal or oil to heat a metal compartment. Air is pushed through the compartment to heat it and then pushed by an electric fan through an air duct system and delivered to various rooms via vents in the ceiling. This method is less energy efficient than others simply because hot air rises and heat comes from the vents in the ceiling. Therefore, heat pushed through the vents does not always reach low enough to warm certain areas, causing drafts and cold spots, particularly in homes with vaulted ceilings.
3. Radiant heating systems Perhaps the most efficient of all heating systems, radiant heating comes from the floor, releasing warmth that rises to create a comfortable climate. A bit pricy for installation, tubing circulating warm water or electric cables emitting heat is located beneath the floor. It is a clean way to heat your home and can reduce your energy bill by up to 40%.
If tubing circulating warm water is the preferred method of radiant heat, a boiler is necessary as well. The boiler heats the water that circulates through the tubing or even through radiators located in baseboards.
Solar heating is another way to heat your home, although it is not as common or accessible. Solar heating uses solar panels to harness the energy from the sun and translates it into heat for the home. Equipment and set-up can be pricey but in the long run pays off and is great for the environment.
Whether you are building a new home or remodeling, consider the different types of heating systems to invest in. If you can afford it, choose radiant or solar heating systems as they provide the cleanest, most efficient way to heat your home.