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What Are the Most Common Types of Heating Systems?

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With cooler weather approaching, many homeowners may be assessing their heating systems. Now a great time to ensure your equipment is safe and in good working order. Hopefully, when you turn on your heat, it’ll work as it’s supposed to, and you won’t need to worry about whether you and your family will be able to stay warm this season.

However, if you experience problems, you’ll either have to repair or replace your system. Minor issues can easily be addressed but bigger problems may mean you need a new setup. Many homeowners who opt for replacement simply go for heating systems that are similar to the one that was already there. This makes sense since the other components of the HVAC systems would already be designed to support the heating source. 

However, it’s worth it to explore your options and consider the possibility of getting another type of heating system. In this post, we’ll look at three of the most common heating sources and how they work. An HVAC contractor can provide further information to help you make the right decision for your home.

Heat Pump Heating Systems

Heat pump systems are common in South Carolina since the temperatures don’t usually dip dramatically. Heat pumps are basically two-way air conditioners. In the winter, they pull heat from the air outside and pump it into the home. In the summer, they take the heat from inside to the outdoors. Heat pumps usually used a forced-air system and there are two main types: ground-source pumps and air-source pumps.

Air-source heat pumps, as the name suggests, pull heat from the atmosphere. Meanwhile, ground-source pumps pull heat from underground pipes. Also known as geothermal heat pumps, these are popular in areas where the temperatures are consistent year-round. Air-source pumps are cheaper and easier to install but they are less efficient.

Since heat pumps don’t actually generate heat, they can supply more energy than they consume. This makes them attractive to homeowners who want lower energy bills and a sustainable heating solution.

Furnaces

Many households in North America are heated by a central furnace. These can be fuelled by natural gas, electricity, oil, or a forced-air distribution system. The latter heats the air and then transports it throughout the home via ducts.

If your home has an oil or gas furnace, the fuel in the furnace gets mixed with air and then burns. The flames warm a metal heat exchanger that transfers heat to the air. A fan then forces the air through the heat exchanger and pushes it through the ducts. Meanwhile, any by-products of combustion are sent out of the building via vents.

Older furnaces send these by-products directly into the atmosphere through a chimney while some modern systems use an inducer fan to create a draft that sends the exhaust through the chimney. The most efficient furnaces cool down the exhaust until the vapor condenses and goes out through a flue pipe. You can save lots of money each month if you install a modern high-efficiency furnace and schedule regular maintenance from an HVAC professional.

Boiler Heating Systems

Furnaces heat the air but boilers heat water. They use radiators, pipes, and pumps to disperse heat throughout the home rather than fans and ducts. The majority of modern boiler systems run off oil or natural gas. The fuel burns inside the boiler to heat up water and this gets pumped to radiators through pipes in the walls.

These radiators then send heat into the rooms. As the water cools down, it goes back to the boiler to be heated and distributed again. Some of the more advanced boiler systems also send water through pipes in the floor. Radiant floor heating, as it is called, will keep your feet warm on the coldest days.

Questions about Heating Systems? Contact C&L Services to Discuss

If you want to upgrade your heating system, you may not know which option to choose. Call the heating and cooling experts at C&L Services and let us help you make the right decision based on your preferences and your budget. We’ll let us know if a boiler, furnace, or heat pump system is right for you. Even if you’re not quite ready to replace your system, we can assist you in staying safe and warm as the weather cools. We offer professional repair and maintenance services to customers throughout upstate South Carolina. Contact us today for a free estimate.

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