How to choose a new heating system

heating systemWhen it comes time to select a new heating system, don’t be intimidated by the range of available options. With a little research and patience, you can work your way to an ideal solution with little stress.

Start with a frank consideration of the needs of your structure. Climate, size, and expected lifetime are all factors in selecting a new heating system.

Once you’ve determined how many heating days you will require, it’s time to select a heat generation technology. If you expect to own the structure for ten years or more, it may be worth your while to invest in a renewable energy solution, such as geothermal heat. With the efficiency gains from geothermal technology, you can see a complete return on investment within three to ten years.

Finally, you need a mechanism to deliver heat throughout the structure. Depending on your willingness to renovate, you can install forced air vents or underfloor heating for minimal aesthetic impact. Underfloor heat has the additional advantage of creating gentle convection throughout the room for a healthy, natural feel. For minimal disruption during renovation, you can opt to base your new heating system around ventless natural gas heaters or convection radiators.

WHICH HEATING TECHNOLOGY IS RIGHT FOR YOUR STRUCTURE?

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a new heating system. Professionals recommend you start with a look at the needs of your structure, its regional climate, and expected lifetime.

One’s regional climate is a good rough metric for determining the expected load on your new heating system. Is the structure located in a temperate region, or at high altitude? How many months out of the year will you require heat?

The size of your structure is next. Will your system be warming a mansion, or a cottage? The larger the structure, the more important it is to consider fuel efficiency and ease of maintenance.

Finally, consider the expected lifetime of your new heating system. If you expect to own the property for more than ten years, you will see a greater return on investment from high-efficiency, green technologies.

GEOTHERMAL HEAT GIVES GREATEST RETURN ON INVESTMENT

If appropriate to your region, consider a heating system based on geothermal technology. While the initial investment can seem prohibitively high, the fuel and efficiency savings will more than recover this cost over its lifetime.

Compared to conventional climate control, a new geothermal heating system realises immediate reductions of up to 80% in energy expenditures. You can also eliminate the need for separate heating and cooling systems by using the same technology to warm your structure in the winter and cool it in the summer.

Maintenance costs are similarly reduced. Geothermal technology involves fewer moving parts, and those are located either underground or indoors. Properly installed, you can expect your new heating system to function with limited preventative maintenance for upwards of thirty years.

Finally, the aesthetic impact of a new heating system based on geothermal technology is minimal. There is no need for bulky, HVAC air handlers or furnaces; the heat pumps required are small, silent, and can be housed either underground or in a small indoor mechanical room.

 

GAS AND ELECTRIC HEAT ARE EFFICIENCY LEADERS

If geothermal technology is inappropriate to your region, there are a number of high-efficiency options available. With oil prices cresting over four dollars per gallon in some areas, natural gas and propane are becoming attractive choices. Price and availability vary by region, but each has compelling advantages over fuel oil technology. Compressed natural gas is an efficient, low-emissions option; so low, in fact, that some installations may not require venting. While it contains less than half the thermal energy potential of propane, natural gas heats with nearly perfect efficiency. Annual Fuel Utilisation Efficiency (AFUE) ratings of up to 97% are not unheard of with new heating systems burning natural gas. Propane, while slightly less environmentally sound, burns with twice the energy of compressed natural gas. While their AFUE ratings are comparable, you will only require half the volume of fuel for the same amount of heat. Depending on fuel costs in your region, however, the overall cost of operation will more than likely be equivalent to compressed natural gas.

THERE’S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO HEAT A ROOM

Once you’ve selected the core of your new heating system, it’s time to look at how to deliver that heat throughout the building. The range of available options may surprise you, but don’t be intimidated: there is a wealth of information online to help you make the best choice for your needs. If you aren’t averse to extensive renovation, it is possible to install force-air ducts in each room of your structure. Some consumers prefer this, as the completed system is less aesthetically intrusive than other new heating systems, such as baseboards. Forced air is less efficient, in many ways, than a modern hydronic system. The latter uses water loops to deliver heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, with less heat loss in transit. A heating system using hydronic delivery can employ either baseboard convection units or underfloor loops to heat each room. Increasingly, experts are recommending underfloor heat wherever possible. It is aesthetically invisible and heats the entire space evenly.

The expense of heating or warming a home could turn out to be quite expense. Due to this reason, one has to be careful while selecting a new heating system to make the most out of your investment. But an existing heating system should be considered to be maintained if the annual numbers are in favor of your savings. With the help of a proficient contractor, you will be able to select a new heating system suitable for your house structure. Along with the heating system selection, it is also important to calculate your economics. The right preference should be given to make your heating systems cost-effective on an annual account. Compare your options with different kinds of heaters to get you the best buy for your home.

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