Types of Heating Systems
Forced Air Systems
This type of heating system is the most common type of home heating system. It works by heating air in a furnace and then forcing the air out through ductwork and vents installed throughout the home. It is commonly known as a central heating system because it comes from a central point in the home. The air can be heated by electricity, natural gas, propane or oil. The furnace heats air as it is passed over a heat exchange unit. Air is drawn into the furnace, heated and then forced back into the home through ducts. This type of system is also very common because the ducts can double-up to deliver air through an evaporative cooler (swamp cooler) or refrigerated air system. The air filtration systems require regular maintenance for optimal function.
Electric Radiant Floors
Typically consist of electric cables built into the floor. Because of the relatively high cost of electricity, electric radiant floors are usually only cost-effective if they include a significant thermal mass, such as a thick concrete floor.
Hydronic Radiant Floors
These are the most popular and cost-effective radiant heating systems for heating-dominated climates. Hydronic radiant floor systems pump heated water from a boiler through tubing laid in a pattern underneath the floor. The cost of installing a hydronic radiant floor varies by location and also depends on the size of the home, type of installation and the floor covering.
Hot Water Baseboard System
Also called Hydronic baseboard heaters, Hot Water Baseboard Systems use central heating, but channel hot water through pipes to individual baseboard heating units to heat rooms. With hot water baseboard heating, a boiler heats water and sends it through pipes from heater to heater. Each unit takes a small amount of heat from the water and sends it on to the next heater.