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What Kind of Heater Should I Buy?

home heating appliances

Fall is no time for your heating system to decide to go on vacation. Even with the uncertainties of climate change to contend with, at some point, the weather is going to get cold. And guess what it will feel like inside your home or workplace if your heating system stops working?

 

In this post, we will walk you through the different types of heating systems so you know what your options are. And if you need help picking a new heater, don't hesitate to call on us!

Types of Heaters

Here is a primer on the different types of heating systems in use today.

Traditional furnace

A traditional furnace can use gas, propane, or oil as fuel. Traditional home and workplace furnaces are designed to work together with your air conditioning system. In fact, they use some of the same systems to do their jobs. For example, in summer, your air conditioner uses your air ducts or vents to blow cool air into your home or workplace. In winter, conversely, your furnace will heat air and then access your air ducts or vents to blow that air into your indoor spaces.

Like your A/C unit, your furnace operates from a thermostat. The thermostat setting (and programmed settings) lets your furnace know what temperature to heat the rooms to and when to do this.

Heating Boilers

A heating boiler uses water to warm the air in your home or office. When the water is heated, it turns into steam. The warm steam (or alternately, the hot water itself) can then be circulated in a number of ways, including piping in the baseboards via radiators, heat coils, or radiant flooring systems.

A heating boiler typically uses gas or oil for fuel. Some units use electricity. A heating boiler is often confused with a water heater, which simply heats and stores water for later use. Boilers are not only energy efficient but also eco-friendly in that they are able to repeatedly reuse the water they boil.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump uses electric power to warm or cool a space. A heat pump can quietly and efficiently keep spaces cool in summer and warm and cozy in winter. It does this by moving air around using either your existing air ducts or a ductless mini-split system. Heat pumps can also work with radiant floor systems to heat a home or office.

There are three main types of heat pumps, the most common of which is air-to-air (other types include a water source and geothermal energy). These pumps take heat from wherever they can find it and move it to where it is needed. One of their big draws is that they can reduce your electric bill by up to 50 percent when compared with other options for heating, but they work at their best capacity only in milder and more temperate climates.

Gas Fireplaces

A gas fireplace is not the same as the traditional wood or biomass-burning fireplace. With the latter, there are a number of potential health and safety hazards that must be continually addressed, whereas with the former, the use of gas power ensures safer, clean heat for your home or workplace.

In areas where power outages can be more frequent, having a gas fireplace is a great way to ensure you will always have heat. There are three main types of gas fireplaces. The oldest version is the B-vented, which is the least efficient. The direct vented and the ventless are each more efficient and effective at heating a space.

Radiant Heaters

A radiant heater can be a particularly efficient option for spaces that are difficult to heat, including those that are long and narrow, have very high ceilings, or are outdoor adjacent spaces such as garages and workshops. Radiant heaters use infrared radiation or heat transfer to heat nearby spaces and objects. For fuel, radiant heaters can use water, electricity, or air.

Radiant heating is especially popular in bathrooms, where floors tend to become particularly cold and uncomfortable in winter. For anyone with severe allergies, radiant heating also offers a way to sidestep the use of blown air-based duct heat distribution systems, which can introduce irritants and toxins along with the warm air.

How to Choose a New Heating System

Here are some of the major considerations to think through when evaluating your heating options:

  • What is the size of your space?

  • Is the space that needs heat indoors or outdoors or both?

  • What type of energy (fuel) do you have access to?

  • Do you have an existing air duct system in place?

  • What is your local weather like (moderate/temperate or extreme)?

  • What is your budget for a new heater?

  • Are you trying to convert your space to be more sustainable?

  • Do you suffer from serious allergies or asthma?

It is also important to remember that sometimes combining two or more different types of heat sources can be the most economical and eco-friendly option. For example, in outdoor spaces and bathrooms you may want to opt for radiant heating, while in homes and offices you may prefer to hook into the air duct system with heating from a traditional furnace.

Contact Shipton’s for Help!

If you are not sure what type of heater will produce the most effective and affordable heating for your home or office, we are happy to help! Contact us for a free consultation and information about how you may be able to save up to $2,600 on qualifying equipment.

Fall is no time for your heating system to decide to go on vacation. Even with the uncertainties of climate change to contend with, at some point, the weather is going to get cold. And guess what it will feel like inside your home or workplace if your heating system stops working?

In this post, we will walk you through the different types of heating systems so you know what your options are. And if you need help picking a new heater, don't hesitate to call on us!

Types of Heaters

Here is a primer on the different types of heating systems in use today.

Traditional furnace

A traditional furnace can use gas, propane, or oil as fuel. Traditional home and workplace furnaces are designed to work together with your air conditioning system. In fact, they use some of the same systems to do their jobs. For example, in summer, your air conditioner uses your air ducts or vents to blow cool air into your home or workplace. In winter, conversely, your furnace will heat air and then access your air ducts or vents to blow that air into your indoor spaces.

Like your A/C unit, your furnace operates from a thermostat. The thermostat setting (and programmed settings) lets your furnace know what temperature to heat the rooms to and when to do this.

Heating Boilers

A heating boiler uses water to warm the air in your home or office. When the water is heated, it turns into steam. The warm steam (or alternately, the hot water itself) can then be circulated in a number of ways, including piping in the baseboards via radiators, heat coils, or radiant flooring systems.

A heating boiler typically uses gas or oil for fuel. Some units use electricity. A heating boiler is often confused with a water heater, which simply heats and stores water for later use. Boilers are not only energy efficient but also eco-friendly in that they are able to repeatedly reuse the water they boil.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump uses electric power to warm or cool a space. A heat pump can quietly and efficiently keep spaces cool in summer and warm and cozy in winter. It does this by moving air around using either your existing air ducts or a ductless mini-split system. Heat pumps can also work with radiant floor systems to heat a home or office.

There are three main types of heat pumps, the most common of which is air-to-air (other types include a water source and geothermal energy). These pumps take heat from wherever they can find it and move it to where it is needed. One of their big draws is that they can reduce your electric bill by up to 50 percent when compared with other options for heating, but they work at their best capacity only in milder and more temperate climates.

Gas Fireplaces

A gas fireplace is not the same as the traditional wood or biomass-burning fireplace. With the latter, there are a number of potential health and safety hazards that must be continually addressed, whereas with the former, the use of gas power ensures safer, clean heat for your home or workplace.

In areas where power outages can be more frequent, having a gas fireplace is a great way to ensure you will always have heat. There are three main types of gas fireplaces. The oldest version is the B-vented, which is the least efficient. The direct vented and the ventless are each more efficient and effective at heating a space.

Radiant Heaters

A radiant heater can be a particularly efficient option for spaces that are difficult to heat, including those that are long and narrow, have very high ceilings, or are outdoor adjacent spaces such as garages and workshops. Radiant heaters use infrared radiation or heat transfer to heat nearby spaces and objects. For fuel, radiant heaters can use water, electricity, or air.

Radiant heating is especially popular in bathrooms, where floors tend to become particularly cold and uncomfortable in winter. For anyone with severe allergies, radiant heating also offers a way to sidestep the use of blown air-based duct heat distribution systems, which can introduce irritants and toxins along with the warm air.

How to Choose a New Heating System

Here are some of the major considerations to think through when evaluating your heating options:

  • What is the size of your space?

  • Is the space that needs heat indoors or outdoors or both?

  • What type of energy (fuel) do you have access to?

  • Do you have an existing air duct system in place?

  • What is your local weather like (moderate/temperate or extreme)?

  • What is your budget for a new heater?

  • Are you trying to convert your space to be more sustainable?

  • Do you suffer from serious allergies or asthma?

It is also important to remember that sometimes combining two or more different types of heat sources can be the most economical and eco-friendly option. For example, in outdoor spaces and bathrooms you may want to opt for radiant heating, while in homes and offices you may prefer to hook into the air duct system with heating from a traditional furnace.

Contact Shipton’s for Help!

If you are not sure what type of heater will produce the most effective and affordable heating for your home or office, we are happy to help! Contact us for a free consultation and information about how you may be able to save up to $2,600 on qualifying equipment.

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