Out of sight, out of mind is a familiar saying – and often true with many important appliances and machines in homes and businesses – at least until they stop working. When heating units such as furnaces and boilers function properly, little attention is needed from heating services. Still, it is a good idea for building owners to know how they work and how to detect problems. Knowing enough to detect when a furnace is experiencing trouble can prevent a small problem from becoming a bigger one – and usually at the worst possible time.

Types of Heating Systems

Although each do the same thing, home heating company professionals say there are two types of heaters used today, each working in different ways to achieve the same result:

  • Forced Air Furnace – Used in the majority of homes today, heating services company experts say a forced air furnace works by heating a metal element, blowing air over it, and directing that air through duct work. These units are usually powered by electricity and fueled by either gas or oil. It is the easiest method to heat a home or business; however, it is also very wasteful in terms of heat escaping through the exhaust flue. Operating costs for this furnace depend on the cost of electricity, gas, or oil it uses.

  • Hot Water BoilerCommercial heating consultants advise that a boiler tank is heated by an oil or gas burner. The heating water expands, and flows slowly inside pipes throughout the house. Radiant hot water heating is installed as baseboard heating or in-floor radiant systems. While old style radiators still exist, they are no longer installed. Boilers can be more efficient to operate in some cases because they use much less electricity, with the cost of oil or gas being the primary expense.

Heat Efficiency

As mentioned above, both types of furnaces require the same things to run: electricity, ducts or pipes, and fuel to create the heat. The major difference is how they deliver heat to the building. Forced air heat is blown through ducts by a fan and can be felt blowing out of heat registers or openings in the building. Radiant heat is a bit different and requires a more extensive installation by the best heating services company.

Hot water radiant heat today is delivered in two ways: 1) baseboard heat that uses copper tubing housed in registers that run along the baseboards or 2) radiant under-floor heating. Baseboard radiant heat is slower than hot air to warm a room, yet is cheaper to produce. Under-floor heating is gaining popularity because of its efficiency and how well it heats. The best home and commercial heating installation company experts say radiant floor heat uses tubing laid in serpentine patterns beneath wooden or cement flooring to evenly heat a room faster and keep it warmer, longer. An added benefit that makes this type of heating so popular in bathrooms is that the floor is always warm on bare feet.

Technology continues to improve, making both types of heating services more efficient and cost-effective than before. There is no single best way to heat a building, since there are so many variables that can affect heating efficiency, such as the style of the home, size, and type of construction. Discussing the options with an experienced home heating service company is a great place to start!

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