Energy Efficient Home Heating Systems

One of the best ways to become more energy efficient is by selecting the right home heating systems.  There are three modern heating solutions to be considered: ductless heat pumps, hydronic boilers, solar heating and electric heaters.

Ductless Heat Pumps

One of the simplest home heating systems is a ductless heat pump setup.  As the name implies, this technology does not require installation or connection to built-in ductwork in order to function.  Whether adding ducts is too costly or impractical, ductless heat pumps are one of the best solutions for home heating.  They are easy and efficient to install and include a matched set of outdoor condenser and an indoor air handler.

Both single-room and multi-room ductless heat pump systems are available.  Zoning is easily facilitated via separate temperature controls in each room.  Since ductwork is not needed, home heating systems based on ductless heat pumps are neat and fast to install.

The units themselves are energy efficient, and this type of system allows rooms that do not need heating to be unheated, which saves even more on annual utility bills.

Hydronic Boilers

Hydronic boilers have a high efficiency rating of up to 98%.  These are a type of home heating systems which can be quite environmentally friendly.  They introduce a substantial savings with respect to fuel consumption—reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a rate of nearly 60%.  They emit 80% less NOx and 90% less CO.

The units are very effective at heating a home up to 6,000 sq. ft. in size.  Hydronic boilers also take up less space than other types of home heating systems, and may even be approved to be installed in a closet space.

Solar Heating

For those concerned about the exhaustion of fossil fuels, the rise in energy prices, and the increasing conservation awareness, solar technology is one of the best solutions in home heating systems available today.

A solar water heating system can provide domestic hot water (DMW) and also may be used for heating pools.  It may also maintain low temperature spaces by way of heat exchangers.

Electric Heaters

Zoning is a known way to achieve warmth in rooms that need it without the need to waste valuable energy on areas of the home that may not be in continuous use.  For this purpose, electric heaters can be a very energy efficient form of home heating systems.  In addition to energy savings, it also allows individual room climate control for personal comfort.

Wood-fired central heat system

A wood-fired central heat system is a cleaner-burning heater and economical too. If you want to heat your home with wood, should you choose a wood-fired central heat system such as a wood burning furnace or boiler rather than a wood stove? Wood stoves generally cost less and have better overall efficiency and lower emissions, but sometimes stoves just aren’t practical as the sole heat source in homes with many rooms. Some people also prefer a furnace to keep the associated mess or potential hazard out of the main living space.

Central wood heaters and boilers, normally installed in the basement or a utility room, distribute their heat with forced hot-air or circulating hot-water systems, and can heat any home. If you have a ready supply of firewood and you enjoy handling wood, a wood furnace or boiler may be a good choice.

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4 Responses to “Home Heating Systems”

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    While this article is a bit dated, it does provide a good deal of useful information. The post is useful to the homeowner interested in being able to maintain, and more importantly understand, their home heating system. One unexpected and interesting feature is a section on wood stoves and how to properly use them.

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    This post would be a good basic teaching tool for a person who is just getting into the heating and air conditioning field. The concepts are simple to understand. The article is out of date with the new equipment on the market. I would not take all the facts like efficiency and operating expenses literally. Also not consistent with the new environmentally efficient refrigerants such as Puron or R410A, not Freon or R-22. It is the basic concept of home heating systems.

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    Great resource for not-so-much technically oriented person. Most important issue is sizing heating unit – bigger is not always better, so you end up with a quick cycling unit. Need the reference to get the right system and know the jargon to talk with pushy salesman. Off course double pane low E windows, whole house caulking, and insulation upgrades will be in order. Beware, salesmen have computer programs to do calculations for them but they know how to hedge them to get you in a bigger system.

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    If you do not know anything at the present and are looking for a quick and cheap introduction to home heating systems, this post is a good place to start. But this article is short, and if you are looking for a step-by-step do-it-yourself manual, then this is not for you. However, if you want get a foothold or a broad overview of HVAC, over a cup of coffee, then this one is good


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