Your heating system stands between your comfort and freezing temperatures during the cold winter months. And while it might seem like heaters are all built the same, each type runs at different levels of heating efficiency. Some can maximize the heat generated, while others lose as much of the hot air that they produce during the ventilation process. To help you determine which one offers the best bang for your buck, here are four of the most efficient heating system designs to consider.
Radiant Floor Heater
Radiant floor heaters use small pipes under the floor to distribute hot water. This heats the floor and, consequently, the space above the floorboards. Radiant floor heating systems are easily controllable and are deemed efficient by many homeowners. A drawback to radiant floor heat is that it’s expensive to install. It also requires a professional HVAC technician to design and install the layout.
Since they are installed under the floor, radiant floor heaters also limit the choice of carpet material that you can use to decorate the room since you don’t want to unintentionally blanket or block the source of heat.
There are two main types – geothermal and air-sourced. As the names imply, a geothermal heat pump uses the land underneath the house to condition the air, while an air-source pump uses the air outside to heat the air inside. Heat pumps are generally regarded as the most efficient type of heating system available. In places like New Jersey where seasons change and temperatures drastically shift, heat pumps are a practical option since they can also provide cooling during hot and humid days.
A heat pump is essentially a two-way air conditioning unit. The cost of equipment and installation, particularly for geothermal heat pumps, is relatively higher than furnaces and boilers, so it’s a common deterrent for New Jersey homeowners on a limited budget.
Central Heat Furnace
Perhaps the most common type of heating system in North America is a central heat furnace. This heating system works by distributing heated air via ducts and heat registers throughout different parts of the house. Central heat furnaces can come in different types based on the power source being used, such as natural gas, propane, or electricity.
Each type has slight advantages over the other two. For instance, electricity-operated furnaces are more environmentally friendly since they do not produce carbon monoxide from gas combustion, while gas-powered furnaces are cheaper to run since the power source is cheaper than electricity.
Condensing boilers are the most efficient amongst the family of boilers available. Conventional non-condensing boilers use up the water vapor, which means the hot air is wasted. A condensing boiler, however, has a secondary heat exchanger that collects the heat from the water vapor and redirects it back to the boiler, thereby minimizing heat lost through the ducts. This enables condensing boilers to consume less of the power source to generate an identical amount of heat.
Today’s fleet of boilers come with a myriad of energy-saving features that allow it to go head-to-head against furnaces and heat pumps from an efficiency standpoint. Under the right conditions, condensing boilers can operate at up to 95% AFUE heating efficiency. That means the system only loses 5% of the heat that it generates.
Simple Tips to Boost Heating Efficiency
Regardless of the type of heating system you have or choose, there are universal tips that can help your heating system run more efficiently. For starters, inspect your home for any holes and gaps where warm air might be escaping from. These include crevices on your doors, windows, and walls. Use caulking to seal these crevices and prevent warm air from escaping, and, simultaneously, prevent cool air from the outside from seeping in.
Another tip is to invest in equipment that gives you better control of your heating system. A programmable thermostat gives you improved control over your heating system’s run cycles, fan speed, and temperature targets.
Lastly, you’ll want to have your heating system’s ductwork if there are any. Ducted mini-split systems, for instance, rely on ducts throughout the house to circulate hot air in different rooms. A professional like Cardwell Heating & Air Conditioning can inspect your ductwork and perform regular maintenance and any repairs required.
Cardwell Heating & Air Conditioning is a trusted HVAC service provider in Cherry Hill, NJ, and the surrounding areas. Using our decades worth of collective experience, we can help you find the most efficient heating system that best suits your home. We also service, install, and maintain central air, ductless, and commercial AC systems. Contact us today to discuss your options further or request a service!