One of the main questions to ask when you consider installing an HVAC system is what is the best heat source. There are three main options of heat source, and we will explore that subject here, so you have the details you need to make an informed decision.
The specific type of furnace for your home will depend on the fuels that are easily available in your particular area. If you prefer you can usually replace an existing oil furnace with one fueled by natural gas or propane. Gas is often the preferred fuel type as it is very efficient and the fuel is often readily available.
A gas furnace is often paired with a forced air heating system that is triggered to operate when the thermostat indicates that the room temperature has dropped lower than the preset comfort level. A low voltage electrical signal is sent from the thermostat to a relay inside the furnace. This relay signals the opening of a valve, so gas can be delivered to the burners, and the blower will start.
A boiler is another common form of home heating, and it involves heated water being passed through a coil, radiant floor systems or wall radiators. There are three factors to consider when shopping for a new boiler. The first is the size. Your boiler needs to be large enough to produce sufficient hot water for your system, but not so large that it wastes energy. Generally, if you live in a warmer climate approximately 20 BTUs per square foot will be ample, while you’ll need approximately 50 BTUs per square feet if you live in a colder climate. The efficiency of your new boiler is also important, so you maximize your energy savings. All new boilers are labeled with an AFUE rating, which is a measurement of the annual fuel utilization efficiency or how well the appliance converts energy into heat. Finally, you need to consider ventilation. There are specific ventilation regulations for gas boilers to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and other dangers. So, it is always a good idea to consult a professional HVAC technician for further help.
The Heat Pump
Heat pumps can be used for both cooling and heating, using the outside air to transfer heat. There are three primary forms of heat pump; air source, water source and ground source. All of these options can provide enough heat to warm a home, yet they are only a single unit, making them highly efficient and practical.
Choosing a Heating Option
The choice between furnace, boiler and heat pump will largely be made based on your current home layout. In most cases, it is practical and cost effective to swap out like for like, upgrading an old furnace or boiler for a new one. If you are planning a home addition or are conducting serious renovations, you may consider changing your heating source, but it is a good idea to discuss the options with an experienced, professional HVAC technician to discover the most efficient and cost effective option for the specific requirements of your home.