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Which Central Heating Option Is Right for You?

Unless you're designing a new home from scratch, the home itself will limit the method you use to heat your home. If there's ductwork installed, it doesn't make much sense to rip it out and put in a boiler-based hydronic system.
However, that doesn't mean you don't have any choice when it comes to your heating. Let's take a look at three of the most popular options, along with the pros and cons of each.
Furnaces
How They Work
Air is drawn into the return ducts in your home and makes its way to the furnace, where a heat exchanger is used to warm the air and send it back out through the heating ducts.
Furnaces are powered by natural gas, electricity, or heating oil. The latter option isn't used much anymore, but gas and electric-powered furnaces remain in wide use.
Electric Furnaces - Pros and Cons
Electric furnaces are usually less expensive up front, but they're also not as powerful. If you live in an area that doesn't get too cold, or you don't have a gas hookup in your utility room, this might be a good option for you.
Gas Furnaces - Pros and Cons
Gas furnaces are more popular, for a few reasons. They're more powerful than electric models, and natural gas is a less expensive fuel source. While they are more expensive to purchase and install, the energy bill savings can be substantial.
Boilers
How They Work
Boiler-based, or hydronic, systems are another type of heating in wide use. Instead of circulating air through ductwork, hot water or steam circulates through a system of pipes. In individual rooms, the water or steam runs through radiators or baseboard heaters that heat the air around them.
Hydronic systems are usually powered by natural gas or heating oil in some cases.
Pros and Cons
Boilers are generally more expensive to buy and install than furnaces; however, if your house is set up for one, it's a lot cheaper than installing ductwork throughout your home.
One advantage that boilers have is that certain models can double as a water heater so that you won't need a separate one. This can help you save on your energy bills.
Heat Pumps
How They Work
A heat pump works like a central air conditioner, only in reverse. Heat is extracted from the outside air, pumped inside, and distributed throughout your home via your ductwork.
Air-source heat pumps, which draw heat from the air surrounding the pump, are by far the most popular type. However, geothermal pumps are becoming more popular. With this method, fluid that's been pumped through underground piping goes through a heat exchanger. From there, it's used to maintain a steady temperature in your home year-round.
Pros and Cons
Electricity usually powers heat pumps, and they're very energy efficient. This is because instead of creating new warm air, they're just extracting the heat from the outdoor air and bringing it inside. In addition to heating your home, most heat pumps can reverse this process and cool it in the summer.
The main downside of heat pumps is that they don't work as well in colder climates. A supplemental furnace might help, but a furnace or boiler is usually the better option.
As stated previously, the type of heating source you install in your home will be largely determined by the ductwork and/or piping that's already there. However, even within this limited framework, you'll still have multiple options from which to choose.
If you're thinking about upgrading your home's heating system, or you have any other concerns, call  Action Air of Florida today.

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    501 N. Hudson St.
    ​Orlando, FL 32835

    Phone: 407-521-0400

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