Rising energy cost and the ever increasing need for clean, green energy make great demands on energy efficient heating systems. Homes need heating systems even in warm climates.
The most traditional heating system burns wood to create heat. It is cheap and easy to use. However, because of environmental concerns wood cannot be used everywhere. Next to wood burning, the most common and efficient heating systems are:
- Natural gas heaters
- oil heater
- direct electric heating
- geothermal heat pumps
- other heat pumps
- solar heaters.
These systems transfer the heat created by the heating material to another medium, such as water, steam or organic materials/stone, to heat the air where needed. Traditional oil, natural gas, indirect electric heaters and solar heaters heat either water in a boiler or in a heating coil, then transfer it to individual heating stations to warm the air.
Solar heaters are the most efficient. Their source of energy is free.
Geothermal heat pumps are very efficient with a free source of heat, but higher installation costs.
Wood burning heaters surprisingly are next – where they are permissible and practical.
Followed by heat pumps, other than geothermal, that take their energy from the air.
Oil and natural gas burning heating devices are in the long run more expensive. They are the most common and well-known.
Electric heating, whether direct or indirect, is the most expensive heating system.
To make a home even more comfortable and pleasant to live in, energy efficient heating systems should be complemented by either one or more of the following:
- Room to room temperature controls
- thermostats that can be programmed
The complexity of modern energy efficient heating systems requires that an experienced heating service design, install, and service the system to maintain its high efficiency over time.