GAS HEATING SYSTEMS: CLEAN, EFFICIENT WARMTH

GAS HEATING SYSTEMS

The energy used to heat and cool our homes has never been more expensive. With the price of oil rising daily, more families are looking to gas heating systems to heat their homes.

Compared to heating oil, gas heating systems are incredibly inexpensive to operate. Last winter, for example, the price of operating an oil-burning furnace rose to more than three times that of natural gas system. You get comparable heat energy for a fraction of the cost and with far greater efficiency.

Whether your gas heater burns propane or compressed natural gas, you will see dramatic energy cost savings every time you fill your tank. Maintenance is less expensive, as well; compared to the yearly service required by oil heat, gas heating systems require inspection every third year, on average. Between these factors alone, you can expect very rapid return on investment from your conversion to gas heat.

Guided by increased market interest, manufacturers have released several efficiency-increased technologies with which to augment your gas heating system. Before discussing these innovations in greater detail, we’d like to address some common questions homeowners like you ask when considering a new gas heating system.

MY FAMILY’S ALWAYS HEATED WITH OIL. ARE GAS HEAT SYSTEMS REALLY THAT MUCH BETTER?

The short answer is, yes. Hands down and by every available metric.

When comparing heating systems, you want to pay special attention to the AFUE rating of each. AFUE stands for ‘annual fuel utilisation efficiency’, a rough measure of how efficiently a unit converts its allocation of fuel into heat over the course of the year. AFUE is more relevant indicator of than pure thermal efficiency, as it takes actual field performance into account.

Comparing gas heating systems to oil, you can see that even low-efficiency gas heat are dramatically superior to burning oil. Assuming two comparably-priced units, with all the modern efficiency upgrades, a propane gas heating system rates an AFUE 6 to 12% higher than heating oil, while a natural gas heat system is 8 to 14% more efficient.

With heating oil costs hovering around 4 USD per gallon in some regions, natural or propane gas heating systems are the clear winner in terms of price and efficiency.

WHICH FUELS ARE AVAILABLE FOR MY GAS-BURNING HEATER?

There are two main fuels in use for domestic heating systems: propane and compressed natural gas.

Compressed natural gas is manufactured from methane, compressed to 1% of its natural volume. While it’s energy density is less than half that of propane, compressed natural gas heaters produce fewer polluting emissions than those based on propane and are substantially less expensive to per gallon of fuel.

Propane, or ‘LP’ gas, starts as a component of natural gas before it is isolated and concentrated through refinement. Its energy density is twice that of compressed natural gas, so a typical furnace burns half the amount of propane to produce the same amount of thermal energy.

The two are not compatible; do not send propane through a compressed natural gas heating system without consulting a licensed professional. Substituting fuels in your gas heating system could have serious consequences, up to or including substantial damage to your home.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT GAS HEATING SYSTEM FOR YOUR HOME

Gas heating systems come in several varieties. Which one is appropriate for your home depends on volume you wish to heat and how regularly the space is used.

For small areas, such as a garage or apartment, a ventless gas heating system should be adequate. The extremely low emissions from these units mean that they can be installed without exhaust venting; most modern ventless heaters are equipped with sensors to detect dangerous conditions, just in case. They can be either tied to an automatic thermostat or activated on demand, making them a logical choice for efficiently heating garages or workspaces as well.

For larger structures, a central heating system is perhaps more efficient. A central gas heater is installed either outdoors (with a weatherised shell) or in an appropriate mechanical room. From their, heat is carried throughout your home by either forced air, hydronic baseboards, or underfloor heating. Most units used forced air, though this is more expensive to implement in renovations.

NEW TECHNOLOGIES MAKE GAS HEATING SYSTEMS THE COMPELLING CHOICE

Increased emphasis on clean, inexpensive energy has fuelled the development of increasingly efficient gas heating systems. With AFUE ratings approaching 97%, there has never been a better time to convert to gas heat.

Modern gas heating units are substantially smaller, reducing energy loss during cycling. In addition, pilot lights have been replaced with electrical ignition devices; this may not seem like a dramatic fuel savings, but gas heating systems with pilot lights consume between 240 and 500 Watts of gas power yearly, simply keeping the pilot lit.

Recently, secondary heat exchangers have been added to capture waste heat that would otherwise escape through the exhaust. These work best when added to a hydronic gas heating system, where refrigerant in the return line (the liquid, either water or antifreeze, used to carry heat throughout your home) is run through a secondary heat exchanger before returning to the gas heater. The refrigerant re-enters the system at a higher starting temperature, slightly reducing the energy demand on your primary gas heating system.

Gas heaters efficiency has been recognized time and again as the best energy efficient resource. This helps your investment in this product to have a better run. The new technologies such as the pilot-less ignition and the zone heating systems further increases the efficiency of gas heaters making them customizable and safe. The gas heaters are comparatively a pollutant-free product. This quality of gas heating systems reduces the chance of any harmful byproducts. In fact the natural gas has the least of emissions among the other heating fuels. To make gas heaters safer and highly resourceful, they should be installed properly with good venting precautions.

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