How To Choose The Right Home Heating System

The type of heating system you use in your home can have a huge impact not just on your monthly bills but on comfort as well. And if you are using a system that has been in use for more than 20 years, there is a big chance that you are paying more in operational costs compared to newer models. So if you are thinking of purchasing a new home, pick one that has a new and well designed heating system. You might be paying a bit more, but the benefits can save you money in the long run.

When it comes to choosing a new system, a person must have at least a basic understanding of the said system, its efficiency and initial and long term operational cost.
These are the factors that you need to consider:

Energy Source

In most places in the US, natural gas is the preferred heating fuel. And in places where natural gas is not present, the alternative is to use LPG or propane gas.
Electric heating systems are also a preferred option, but only in places with less severe climate fluctuations. Fuel oil on the other hand is less common, but is the preferred choice in some areas of the Northeast.

Distribution System

Most home heating systems uses forced air or circulating hot water to circulate heat throughout the property. Forced air heating distributes hot air throughout the home through registers and air ducts. A hot water system on the other hand uses a boiler to heat water and distributes said water through plastic or copper piping radiators. There are hot water systems that distribute hot water through pipes within the floor slab, which then evenly distributes the heat throughout the space.


The better the efficiency, the less the operational cost becomes. Think of it this way, any amount you save on your annual electric bill adds up throughout the system’s lifetime.

For residential spaces, the efficiency rating standards are Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, for oil, propane and gas systems, and Heating Season Performance Factor for electric systems.

Both systems factor in operating losses as well as seasonal outdoor temperature spikes.

Overall Cost

When comparing different heating systems costs, you should factor in both the initial and long term operational cost of the system. Checking the EnergyGuide label can provide you with an annual energy cost estimate.

A qualified heating and cooling contractor can easily give you an estimate of the regular maintenance cost of each system.

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