Sometimes, when people ask me what the most efficient form of home heating is, I’m not sure if they are really talking about heating efficiency or just asking what is the least EXPENSIVE form of home heating. There is a difference and the best way to explain it is to talk about some of the various types of heating available for homes in Illinois or Northwest Indiana.
Air source heat pumps
There’s no doubt this is the most efficient form of electric heat that is commonly available. Heat pumps do NOT use electricity to heat the air, instead it powers a compressor that squeezes existing heat from the outside air and transfers it into your home. Heat pumps will cost a little more upfront than a furnace, but remember, a heat pump will also cool your home in the summer. If natural gas is not available and you don’t want a big propane tank on your property, then a heat pump is a great choice because of its heating efficiency. The biggest drawback is that heat pumps sometimes have problems keeping a home warm when the temperature drops to zero or below.
Most furnaces these days burn natural gas but can easily be converted to use propane. It’s difficult to compare actual efficiency when choosing between a furnace and a heat pump, but what we can tell you is that natural gas is almost always cheaper than electricity, which should translate into smaller monthly bills. Although extremely safe, natural gas and propane furnaces always carry some risk. Gas leaks can cause explosions and fires. Improper combustion can cause deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Two things you never have to worry about with an electric heat pump.
Ductless mini split system
This uses the same technology to produce heating and cooling as the air source heat pump with a couple of big differences. The outdoor compressor can be connected to as many as four individual air handlers (splits) inside the home. Mini splits deliver the conditioned air directly to individual rooms or areas of the house with no ductwork. This increases the heating efficiency when compared to a traditional forced air system. Mini splits are a great choice for a home without existing ductwork, but they do have the same cold weather limitations as an air source heat pump.
The most common form these days is in-floor heating. A boiler, again using natural gas or propane, heats water which is circulated through tubes installed under the floors of your Illinois or Northwest Indiana home. The heat from the water radiates up from the floor warming each room. With no noisy fans blowing air around the house and warm floors under your feet, many people consider radiant the most luxurious form of home heating. It also ranks highly in terms of heating efficiency because no warm air is lost through leaky ductwork. Radiant heating is more expensive to install, but to some it’s a good investment.
Are you ready to talk?
Call Merts Heating & Air Conditioning today to learn more about heating efficiency and what option is best for your home. Merts has been serving Illinois and Northwest Indiana with quality and honesty since 1952. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.