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What Is the Most Cost-Effective Type of Heating System?


The price you pay to heat your home in Ocean Isle Beach depends on several factors. While your temperature preferences and household habits certainly play a role, the type of heating system you have often impacts heating bills the most. Choosing one type of heating equipment over another can make a big difference in heating costs. A+ Heating & Cooling – Electrical shares your heating system options and explains which is the most cost-effective heating system choice to help you out when it’s time to buy a new heater for your home.

Types of Heating Systems

Homeowners in the Wilmington, NC area have several options to choose from as far as heating systems go. Here are the most common options used:

  • Furnaces: Furnaces are a central forced-air heating system that uses a centralized indoor unit and a duct system for heated air distribution. Natural gas, heating oil, propane, or electricity is used to generate heat energy inside the furnace. The fuel is used to heat the air which is spread throughout your home via air ducts.
  • Air Source Heat Pumps: Air source heat pumps are heating systems that are also central forced-air heating systems. These are split systems with indoor and outdoor equipment – inside is the air handling unit and outside is the heat pump. Air source heat pumps are electric only and they warm the air by transferring heat energy instead of generating heat. The air source heat pump extracts heat energy from outdoor air, which is transferred to the indoor unit. Heat energy is released into the air circulating through the air handler and distributed throughout the home via the duct system. These systems can work in reverse to cooling a home during hot months too.
  • Geothermal Heating: Geothermal heating systems are a type of central heating system that also uses heat pump equipment. Instead of moving heat energy between indoor and outdoor air, geothermal systems move thermal energy between a ground source and the air inside a home. The electric geothermal heat pump is installed indoors alongside an air handler for distribution, or some geothermal heat pumps contain their own air handling equipment. A component called the ground loop is buried on the property, using the earth or a nearby body of water as a source of heat energy. Fluid circulating inside the ground loop absorbs thermal energy from the earth or water and moves it up to the heat pump. The energy is transferred to air circulating through the system and moved into living areas via a duct system. The system can run as a cooling unit during the warmer months, too.
  • Boilers: Boiler heating systems are central heating systems that heat water instead of air. The central boiler unit inside the home uses natural gas, oil, liquid propane, or electricity to generate energy used to heat water within the boiler. Either hot water or steam is circulated through pipes installed in the home’s floors or pipes and radiators that sit in living areas, which give off radiant heat that warms people inside the space.
  • Ductless Heating Systems: Ductless systems, sometimes referred to as mini-splits, are a type of heating system that can be used to heat an entire home or only certain areas called zones. One or more indoor air handling units are installed directly within living areas and are connected to outdoor mini-split heat pumps. To heat the home, the electric system transfers heat energy from the outdoor air to the indoor air. Each indoor air handler controls a zone that can be independently operated, allowing for individualized comfort settings. These HVAC systems are also able to provide cooling.

Which Is the Most Cost-Effective Heating System?

Overall, the most cost-effective heating system when it comes to heating costs is the geothermal heating system. Geothermal heat pumps are the most cost-effective heating system as the heat pump transfers more units of energy than it consumes – up to 3 to 4 units of heat energy per unit of electricity used, depending on the model. This makes the geothermal heat pump systems 300 to 400 percent energy efficient! Geothermal heat pump electricity consumption is up to 50 percent less than electric heating options such as furnaces and boilers, and about 44 percent less than conventional air-source heat pump systems. While geothermal heat pump systems can drastically cut your heating bills throughout the lifespan of the system, they are quite expensive to install compared to other options.

Air source heat pumps and ductless heating systems are energy-efficient heating systems for a North Carolina home. They are able to move as much as 3 times the amount of energy they consume, which means they use about 50 percent less electricity than an electric furnace. These systems cost much less than geothermal heating systems to install, which can make them the most cost-effective heating system choice for many families. Because of their superior energy efficiency and their energy source, many people opt for these systems as a way to stop burning fossil fuels in order to reduce their carbon footprint.

Gas furnaces and boilers are on the lower end of most efficient heating systems, but with constant changes in technology, gas furnaces, and boilers have boosted their energy efficiency over the years. However, gas furnaces have stayed so popular in so many homes because they are an efficient heating system that can heat homes quickly, oftentimes faster than boilers. High-efficiency furnaces have energy efficiency ratings up to 98% AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency), meaning 98 percent of the fuel consumed is converted into heat energy for warming the home. While electric furnaces essentially generate no fuel waste, they can be more expensive to operate due to the cost of utility power, as electricity is often more costly than natural gas.

Heating System Installation

Choosing the most cost-effective heating system for your home can be a challenge. You want efficient home heating that is responsive to your temperature demands that also doesn’t waste energy. To find the best choice for your household, work with the pros at A+ Heating & Cooling – Electrical. We’ll help you explore the heating equipment options and explain how each system type will function. Contact us today to request an estimate for heating installation.

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