While price isn’t the only thing homeowners think about when shopping for heating systems, cost plays a significant role when it’s time to choose. Heating your home in the winter can be expensive but staying warm doesn’t have to break the bank!
There’s an efficient, cost-effective heating system for every situation.
We’ve put together a short guide to home heating systems to help you determine the best HVAC system for your home. Before discussing the various things you’ll need to consider before purchasing, we’d like to touch on the common HVAC systems found in homes today.
What Are the Most Common Heating Systems?
Forced-air heating is the most common type of home heating system, with over 90 percent of homes in America using it! A forced-air heating system uses either gas, heating oil, or electricity to create the hot air that warms up your entire house.
The second most common system in the United States is hydronic heating, also known as forced-hot water or radiant floor heating. A radiant heating system uses hot water to warm up your home by transferring heat into the rooms through pipes installed beneath floors and within walls. If you’ve ever walked across a floor and felt a cozy warmth on your feet, it’s thanks to radiant heat.
Depending on your location, residential heating options may also include boiler systems and heat pumps.
Why Size Matters When Heating Your Home
While you can go to your local home improvement store to buy your new heating system, you must do your homework beforehand. First, you’ll need to figure out the square footage of your home.
Accurate measurement of square footage is one detail needed to help prevent buying a system that’s either too small or too large. The climate where you live and the condition and rating of your home’s insulation are also critical factors in determining which model system you buy.
If you install a system that’s too small, you could set yourself up for high utility bills and the need for premature repairs. Why? If the system isn’t large enough to heat your home effectively, it will overwork itself.
Installing a heating system that’s too large for your space comes with a different set of problems. The system cycles off and on in a battle to maintain the desired temperature, resulting in inefficiency.
A Word About Fuel
Once you determine the size heating system you need, you’ll want to consider your fuel source. The type of fuel a furnace uses directly impacts the system’s cost-effectiveness.
As mentioned earlier, most residential heating systems in the U.S. run on gas, oil, or electricity. Each fuel source has advantages and disadvantages.
Heating systems that use natural gas offer an energy-efficient heating solution. You may save on costs and reduce your carbon footprint. If you don’t have a natural gas connection, you’ll need to account for the time and labor involved in the installation.
If you live in an area where natural gas isn’t accessible, it’s not even an option.
Propane or Heating Oil
In areas without ready access to gas, propane or oil make an excellent fuel source. A local heating oil distributor can deliver propane or oil directly to your home, regardless of your location.
If you’re looking for an efficient fuel source, you can’t go wrong with oil. It has a reputation for outperforming natural gas, propane, and, of course, heat generated by electricity. Oil also burns clean and doesn’t emit greenhouse gases.
What about propane?
While it’s often true that propane is more expensive than natural gas, gas burns twice as fast. Propane is also considered a safe, clean-burning fuel source. Even if you don’t have a propane tank on your property, you can buy or lease one from a propane service provider.
Since most homes today connect to the grid, electric furnaces have enjoyed some level of popularity. Popular doesn’t always mean cost-effective. Electric heating isn’t as efficient as the other common options — you may end up with skyrocketing heating bills, especially if you live in a colder climate.
Cost of a New Residential Heating System
Of course, you want the most cost-effective heating solution, but how do you even know where to begin making cost comparisons? There are two aspects of cost to consider when you buy a new heating system for your home: initial financial investment and cost to operate.
Cost of Equipment
The equipment costs of a new heating system depend on whether you go with a low vs. high-efficiency model. If you need to install or replace ductwork, that also drives up the cost.
On average, you’ll pay between $1,300 and $12,500 for a gas furnace. An electric furnace typically runs between $400 and $1,700.
Size also comes into play, which should make sense—the bigger the heating system, the more significant the initial financial investment.
Cost to Operate
Once you’ve installed the new system, it’s all about operating costs. You’re paying for the energy your heating system uses to replace heat lost from your home.
If you live in a colder climate, your house likely tends to lose more heat. The square footage of the home contributes to operating costs and the overall energy efficiency of the home.
Unless you can physically move your home to a warmer climate or decrease the size of your home (who does that?), you’ll need to find other ways to manage costs associated with heating your home. Here are three proactive steps you can take:
- Improve insulation
- Seal air leaks
- Repair ductwork
Once you’ve put those improvements in place, your new heating system will have a better chance of showing you what it can do to keep your home warm without breaking the bank.
Which Heating System Are You Considering?
As you can see, there are several factors to consider when buying a new heating system. We hope this blog post provides helpful information that makes choosing the heating solution best suited for your home easier.
For more articles like this one, check out our archives. We’re confident you’ll find plenty of things to read that both inform and entertain.