Which Residential Heating System is Right For Your Home?

Residential heating can account for a third of your energy bill. The best system for your home depends on a variety of factors.

For example, some systems require ductwork while others don’t. Additionally, some are pricier than others to install and operate. Here are some of your options: Click https://www.onpointplumbingandheating.com/ to learn more.


A furnace is the heart of a home heating system and works to warm air and distribute it throughout your home via ducts. Furnaces can be gas or electric-powered and come in various sizes and quality. Some can also be paired with central air conditioning to stay comfortable year-round.

The most common type of furnace in residential settings is the gas-powered unit. These are usually the most affordable option but require access to a natural gas line, which only some homeowners have. They can also be operated on oil or propane. Some newer units rely on an electric blower to help circulate the air. They are often paired with a filter to help rid the air of dust and other debris.

Older furnaces were much simpler, operating on an open flame and burning various fuels to heat the air. These could include wood, coal, trash, and even whale oil for a brief period at the turn of the century. The combustion of these fuels created carbon dioxide, water vapor, and other toxic waste gases. These are purged out of the house through an exhaust stack and vent pipes, so these systems were often located in basements or attics.

Today’s furnaces are built for efficiency, using a forced air distribution system to send warm air into the home. The blower draws in air from the outside through an intake pipe, usually made of aluminum, and runs parallel to the exhaust vent pipes. These pipes can be metal or made of a plastic flex duct, and they may run to either the attic plenum or a wall.

The blower then pushes or pulls air across the heat exchanger to generate warmth and dispense it into the home. This process can be automated or regulated with a thermostat and shut off when the desired temperature has been achieved. The system then reactivates to continue warming the house.

Regardless of your furnace type, it is important to keep your system well-maintained. This includes cleaning the ductwork regularly to prevent dust and debris from building up and replacing your furnace filter. Adding a humidifier to your home can also make it easier for the furnace to heat by adding moisture to the air.

A boiler is a large-sized closed container that uses water or another liquid substance for heating and generating steam. The system also features a pipe system, baseboards, and radiators installed in different spaces and rooms for effective heat distribution. This type of heating system is called hydronic or radiant heating and is usually used for commercial buildings or homes.

Boiler systems can be low- or high-pressure units and operate using various fuel sources, such as natural gas, oil, coal, and biomass. Regarding residential heating, a boiler is the most common solution since it provides hot water and heating. It is a good option for those who want to control their heating more precisely by setting specific temperature levels in each house room.

When the system is activated, a gas valve opens, allowing gas from the main line to enter a sealed combustion chamber. There, the fuel is heated by an electric ignition switch that creates blue flames and warms up a metal component known as a heat exchanger. The heat from the exchanger is then pumped to cold water pipes that run through the house.

The heated water is then pushed to different rooms via a pump and radiators. Typically, a boiler will heat the entire home with several pumps and multiple radiators. However, some homeowners choose to have fewer radiators and more piping to reduce energy consumption and costs.

It is important to note that a boiler needs to be properly maintained. This is why homeowners must have a professional contractor regularly service the unit to identify and fix any potential issues. They should also install carbon monoxide detectors to prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

A boiler can be expensive to install and maintain, but it saves money on utility bills. Boilers use less fuel than furnaces to generate the same amount of heat. However, it is also important to know that these systems can be affected by humidity and other environmental factors.

Radiant heat systems deliver warmth through tubes or panels installed beneath a floor or in a wall or ceiling. They use radiant energy to warm surfaces in the room, including people and furniture, using infrared radiation like sunlight. They are more efficient than forced air systems that blow hot or cold air through ducts and vents. A radiant heating system feels more natural and comfortable than forced air and is a popular option for new construction and upscale remodels.

Radiant heating uses electric cables, mats, or a hydronic (water-based) system to deliver the heat. In a hydronic radiant system, piping carries heated water from the boiler to a series of heat emitters beneath the floor or in the walls and ceilings. A thermostat controls the radiant system and sets a desired temperature. Radiant flooring systems are compatible with most hard floor materials, but stone, tile, brick, and terrazzo are especially well suited to radiant heating. They’re also a great choice for open-concept and loft-style homes where the floor is visible.

PROS: QUIET: No more clunking ductwork or banging registers, and radiant floors are less obtrusive than radiators or baseboards. ENERGY EFFICIENT: Radiant heating systems can be as much as 20% more efficient than forced-air systems that heat air.

Cons: The floor has to reach a very high temperature before you feel any heat, and sudden temperature changes can make it difficult to maintain comfort. Also, if the house is poorly insulated, it can take hours for the concrete floor to respond to a thermostat setting change.

If you’re considering radiant heat, work with a contractor familiar with the best installation practices. A plumber is needed to install a hydronic system and to make the final plumbing connections. A professional HVAC technician must also design the system and determine the correct amount of piping. Those who want to do the work themselves may be able to fasten aluminum transfer plates and clip in PEX tubing between joists, but they should also consult a plumbing expert to help with the system’s layout.

The ductless mini-split is a great way to heat and cool your home without ductwork. This system can reduce energy consumption, save money on heating bills, and improve indoor air quality. This is because ducts collect pollutants like mold, dust, volatile organic compounds, and other contaminants that negatively affect a home’s air quality. Unlike traditional central systems, a ductless system eliminates these pollutants. Mini-splits are also more energy-efficient than ducted systems. Studies show that a ductless system consumes about 60% less energy than a conventional electric heating and cooling system of the same size.

A ductless system is efficient because it doesn’t suffer from the energy loss caused by ductwork. In a ducted system, as much as 30% of the energy can be lost through the ducts. This can occur due to leaks, poor insulation, a dirty evaporator coil, and other factors. Mini-splits do not suffer from these issues because the air that travels through the ducts is heated and cooled by the unit in your home.

A ductless mini-split can be installed in homes built without ductwork or as an add-on to existing homes that do not have a duct system. The system consists of an outdoor unit called a condenser and an indoor air handler mounted to the wall or ceiling. The two units are connected with electrical wiring and copper tubing, allowing refrigerant to flow between the indoor and outdoor units. The indoor air handler has a programmable thermostat that can be used to control the temperature and fan speed.

There are many different types of ductless air conditioners available for installation. If you are looking for something more discreet, consider a ceiling cassette. This unit is mounted in the ceiling and can be controlled with a handheld remote.

The type of ductless air conditioner that works best for you depends on the layout of your home, including room configuration, square footage, and more. You can use our ductless system selector to help determine the right-sized unit for your space.