Heating the home is one of the most costly aspects of being a homeowner and one of the most confusing because there are numerous types of heating to choose from. There are a few primary choices that you can look at when determining which is best for your particular home. The two-pronged goal is to ensure that your heat bill is as low as possible while at the same time providing you with a steady temperature during the cooler months.
Central heating is usually tied into central air conditioning and is the most common type of heating unit installed in homes across the nation. Similar to air conditioning, central air relies upon a series of ductworks that move the hot air through the home; the hot air originates at a furnace that has a blower on it, which blows the hot air into the ducts. Central furnaces run on electricity, natural gas or propane.
Wood or Pellet Stove
Wood stoves have been in use for hundreds of years and are more common in rural areas than in cities. They operate on the same concept as a fireplace, but rather than having an open face, they contain the heat within a boxed-in structure. You can also choose a pellet stove, which operates on the same principle but burns specially designed wood pellets as opposed to split wood. In both cases, the bigger and hotter the fire, the better job the stove does of warming the home.
Portable gas-based space heaters are normally reserved for construction projects or unfinished homes, but are an effective way to heat an area. The most common type of space heater found in homes is the radiator style, which is normally either plugged into the wall and run off electricity. Some are built into the home and run off of hot water powered by a boiler somewhere in the home or through hot oil pumped through the radiator. Built-in baseboard heaters and radiator-style heaters are others forms of space heaters. The portable types have special regulations regarding placement that vary by manufacturer to avoid fire hazards and are less effective at long-term heating than built-in baseboard or radiator style.
Geothermal heating is the most effective long-term solution for providing your home with year-round comfort and energy-efficient heating and cooling. However, the flip side is that the installation of geothermal pumps runs into the tens of thousands of dollars, making it costly. The ground beneath the home remains a steady 50 to 60 degrees within the upper 20 feet. Geothermal systems operate via a series of tubes filled with water and other liquids that are kept at ground temperature. The liquid is pumped through the home through baseboard heaters or radiant floor heating systems, keeping the home at a steady temperature year-round.