What heating system is right for your home?

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Your home’s heating system is an integral part of your home because its primary function is to keep your family at a comfortable temperature all year. A home’s HVAC system is complex but which heating system is right for you?

Most homes have a furnace. They’re reliable, efficient, and, most importantly, keep your home warm when you need it. Furnaces operate by heating air and blowing it through your ductwork to reach every corner of your home. 

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A 98 per cent modulating variable speed furnace is the most effective furnace you can get. However, the cost to buy and install this is among the highest. Also, this furnace may only suit some homes as it depends on the duct system design.

Modern furnaces are powered by natural gas, propane, or electricity. Natural gas furnaces are a popular choice due to their cost-effectiveness and efficiency. However, it’s essential to have a professional technician perform regular maintenance inspections. This will ensure it’s running smoothly without safety concerns or need for repairs. 

Electric furnaces typically cost less than gas ones. They also require less maintenance, making them a good choice. However, this depends on the electricity costs in your area. They also have an incredible life span (20-30 years), which is essential when selecting a furnace model.

Propane heat is an affordable, cleaner alternative to oil. It’s cheaper than electricity and more efficient than natural gas, so propane heat is something you should consider depending on your location.

HVAC systems have filters and it’s important to properly maintain them. Some filters are “permanent” or reusable. However, semi-permanent filters need to be thrown away and replaced regularly. For your system to operate most effectively throughout the winter, set a reminder to change your filter at the beginning of the month. 

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Fireplaces provide heat, but they also add a touch of charm and ambience to your home. Whether you prefer traditional wood-burning fireplaces or more modern gas or electric options, a well-maintained fireplace provides warmth and a cosy atmosphere.

Wood-burning fireplaces are a classic choice but require some effort to maintain. You’ll need to stock up on firewood, clean the chimney regularly, ensure proper ventilation, and check with your local municipality for compliance. On the other hand, gas and electric fireplaces are convenient and cleaner options and often remote controlled. 

I like heat pumps, especially the latest models using inverter drive technology. These systems are known for their efficiency and versatility. Heat pumps transfer heat between the inside and outside of your home, making them perfect for heating and cooling. 

Air source heat pumps use the air as their heat source, making them suitable for milder climates. Heat is taken from outdoor air in winter and “pumped” indoors. The unit operates like an air conditioner in reverse. In the summer, your heat pump in cooling mode uses a refrigerant to extract warm air from inside your home and release it into the outside air.

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Ground source heat pumps, or geothermal systems, tap into the ground’s stable temperature to provide efficient heating and cooling. Geothermal systems are more expensive to install but do offer significant energy savings in the long run. 

Technological advancements also make a cold-climate heat pump perfect for heating and cooling a small house. 

On the other hand, mini-splits, considered air-to-air heat pumps, are an excellent choice for areas with improper ducting. They’re also great for areas where you prefer to control the temperature in each room, like an in-law suite, an addition or even a top floor of an older home that always seems too cold or too hot depending on the season.

Radiant heated floors eliminate cold floors by installing heating elements beneath the flooring. Ideal for bathrooms and kitchen, it uses electric cables for easy setup but they do have higher operating costs. Hydronic systems with hot water are energy-efficient but need a boiler. Regardless of your choice, proper insulation and installation are vital for optimal performance.

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Finally, boilers heat water through radiators or radiant floor systems to warm your home. They’re known for their efficiency and even heat distribution. Boilers can be powered by various fuels, or electricity. Boilers are very durable, and if properly maintained can last for decades. If it’s time for a replacement, consider investing in a modern, high-efficiency boiler to maximize energy savings and reduce environmental impact.

Choosing the right heating system for your home is a big decision. Each system has strengths and considerations, so you must weigh your priorities and consult a qualified HVAC professional. Remember, a warm home is about comfort, safety, and efficiency. So, do your research, ask lots of questions, make informed decisions, and always put safety first. 

Residents of the GTA can apply for Holmes on Homes: Building A Legacy at makeitright.ca.

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Originally posted 2023-10-31 14:05:53.