Forced air heating systems have advantages over hot water systems and vis versa. So what you need to figure out is which of the differences are most important for you and your family.
Hot Water Heating System
Hot water heating systems have always been the most common residential heating system in New England. Hot water heating works by heating water by means of a boiler and sending the heated water through a network of pipes within the house. Home heating is accomplished by a combination of radiation and convection.
The pipes in a hot water heating system are actually “fin-tube” units that are wall-mounted around the house. The fin-like design serves to increase the surface area and allow greater dissipation of heat.
There are some disadvantages to this traditional residential heating system. Firstly, the system needs a relatively high level of maintenance as the radiation/convection units must be kept clean and dust free, and cleared from obstructions in order for them to maintain optimum performance.
The wall-mounted heating units can also present some challenges towards furniture layout and draping. Then too, this type of heating system is often marked by a slow increase in temperature. Perhaps the biggest drawback with a hot water heating system is that the pipe network of a hot water cannot be used for air conditioning or cooling systems. When time comes for air conditioning, the homeowner must install another system solely for air conditioning or use those ugly inefficient window units.
Forced Air Heating System
Forced air heating system is fast becoming a more preferred choice when it comes to residential heating. It works by heating air in a furnace and distributing the heated air through a series of ducts.
Forced air heating affords several advantages to the homeowner. Firstly, it is a relatively inexpensive residential heating method. Secondly, the system allows for filtering and cleaning of air, a feature which cannot be found in hot water heating systems. Thirdly, the same ductwork can be used for air conditioning and for air humidifying and dehumidifying. In other words, with a forced air heating system, you do not need to set up another system for air conditioning.
Yet another significant advantage of forced air heating over hot water heating is that the former can attain the highest annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the furnace is in converting fuel to heat energy.
A forced air heating system is especially efficient when the furnace runs on natural gas. Natural gas is an affordable, readily available and environmentally sound fuel choice today. Energy companies such as Shell are opening up new resources of natural gas and developing technologies that facilitate shipment to distant markets. For example, natural gas can be cooled to a liquid form in order to shrink its volume 600 times and allow for easier transport.
A forced air heating system that runs on natural gas burns cleaner than oil. The fuel source, natural gas, is continuously supplied compared to electricity, is of a stable price rate due to government regulation, and is inherently more efficient and cleaner than heating systems which run on oil.
Compared to air coming from an electric heat pump for example, air heated by a natural gas furnace heats up faster and is 25 degrees warmer, steadily flowing around your house to heat your home much quicker. Natural gas furnaces also last far longer than electric heat pumps.
Click to learn more about specific forced air heating systems. Then feel free to contact us with any inquiries on forced air heating systems and natural gas furnaces. We will gladly discuss your options and give you a free estimate. We also offer services to convert your old oil or natural gas boiler into a cleaner, greener natural gas furnace that may well be the best heating system you will ever experience.