HVAC For Beginners

Home Heating Basics

A Comprehensive Guide to Efficient Home Heating

Heating systems play a pivotal role in maintaining comfort and energy efficiency within our homes. As we strive for more sustainable and cost-effective living, it is essential to evaluate the various types of heating systems available today. Here, HvacRepairGuy will explain the different types of home heating systems, highlighting their advantages, disadvantages, and suitability for various situations. You can continue reading or watch one of our informative videos to learn about the different types of heating systems, the parts of the units, and how they operate.

Home Heating Basics


Furnaces are a common choice for central heating systems. They use natural gas, propane, heating oil, or electricity to generate heat and distribute it through ductwork. Furnaces are known for their efficiency and quick heat production, making them suitable for colder climates. However, they require regular maintenance and may have higher operating costs, depending on the energy source. Most of these systems are only sold through a factory authorized dealer network that installs the duct system as well as the equipment. These dealers mark up the price of the equipment substantially and the cost of installation can be thousands of dollars.

Furnace Basics


Boilers heat water using natural gas, propane, heating oil, or electricity and the water distributed through radiators or in-floor heating systems as either hot water or steam. They are highly efficient and provide consistent warmth, making them suitable for larger homes or those in colder regions. However, boiler installation can be costly, and they require periodic maintenance to prevent issues like leaks and corrosion. These systems have a slower response to changes in demand than other types of systems. These systems are only sold through a factory authorized dealer network that installs the piping systems and radiators as well as the equipment. These dealers mark up the price of the equipment substantially and the cost of installation is typically more than a duct system.

Boiler Basics


Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant heating systems are installed under the floor, in walls, or in the ceiling, using electric cables or hot water tubes (which receive hot water from a low temperature boiler). They provide comfortable, even heat and are energy-efficient. Radiant systems are discreet, making them suitable for modern, minimalist designs but installation can be expensive and complex. These systems also have a slower response to changes in demand which can affect the overall feeling of comfort in the home.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are versatile heating and cooling systems that extract heat from the air or ground and transfer it into the home where it can be sent to individual ductless systems or to a central system that distributes the heat through a duct system. They are highly energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. They can also provide cooling during the summer but their efficiency may decrease in extremely cold climates which usually means they have to have a supplemental means of heating such as a furnace resulting in a higher upfront cost.

Heat Pump Basics


Ductless Systems

Ductless mini-split systems consist of an outdoor compressor and one or more indoor air handlers. They are highly flexible, energy-efficient, and ideal for homes without existing ductwork. Mini-splits allow for zoning, enabling different temperature settings in various rooms, promoting energy savings. These systems can be purchased directly and installed by the average homeowner allowing for large savings on installation costs but many of the brands do not allow for DIY installation. These systems give you many of the advantages of a central heat pump system at a much lower cost.


Wood and pellet stoves burn renewable fuel sources, making them environmentally friendly options. They can provide a cozy, traditional feel to a home and are a good option for zone heating but they do not provide cooling in the warmer months. They require a constant supply of fuel, regular maintenance, and produce emissions that need to be managed.


Solar heating systems use solar panels to capture the sun's energy and convert it into heat for the home. They are an eco-friendly option and can reduce energy bills. However, they may not be sufficient on their own and often require a backup heating source for cloudy days or nighttime.

Choosing the right heating system for your home involves considering various factors, including climate, budget, and personal preferences. Each type of heating system has its advantages and disadvantages, making it crucial to assess your specific needs and circumstances. In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on energy efficiency and sustainability. Therefore, many homeowners are turning to heat pumps, solar heating, and other eco-friendly options to reduce their carbon footprint and save on energy costs. Nonetheless, traditional systems like furnaces and boilers still have their place in providing reliable, consistent heat. Ultimately, the choice of a heating system should align with your individual priorities and long-term goals for your home's comfort and environmental impact.