During the winter months in Central Pennsylvania, heat is a necessity. Depending on the style and age of your home, there are many different options for heating your home. From baseboards to central heat, floor heating and wood burning stoves, this blog will discuss many options in the mid-state and even some new ones for you to consider.
Forced Air System
This is most commonly referred to as the furnace or central heat. It is the most common type of heat in newer houses in the mid-state. The air in your house is heated through the furnace and then distributed through the rest of the house through vents and ductwork. Furnaces may also use many types of fuel sources. They are able to use gas, propane, oil or electricity depending on the house.
Advantages: This method of distributing heat is also the only one that can be used for cooling.
The air can be filtered, humidified, or dehumidified.
It is inexpensive and can attain highest efficiency ratings
Disadvantages: Ductwork can take space in the walls
Some furnaces can be loud and heard throughout house
Allergens are distributed by air flow through ductwork.
Provides the most natural and comfortable heat in a home. Radiant heat can be different in many houses, from pot belly stoves to the less common in-floor hot water tubing. It radiates or transfers heat from a hot surface to a cold surface. This type of heat is most commonly provided by hot water in tubing under the floor, electricity, radiant panels in the ceilings or heating stoves. The in floor tubing is water heated by a boiler which can be fueled by natural gas, propane, oil or electricity. The heating stoves may use wood or coal.
When the tubing was first made, it was modeled to fix cold bathroom floors. It then grew to conservatories and extensions, like stone-floored kitchen-diners, which were popular especially if you could have the tubing installed while building. However, now, the electric systems are becoming more varied and can match most flooring types including hardwood, laminate and even carpet.
Advantages: Even supply of heat
Boilers can be energy efficient
Heats from the floor up
Frees up more space from walls and floors without radiators/baseboards
Wet or water systems are 30% more energy efficient than radiators
Disadvantages: Slow to heat up
Expensive to install
Difficult access to piping if maintenance is required
Air Conditioning requires separate work.
Electric systems can be 30 to 40% more expensive to run
Hot Water Baseboard System
This type of heat also uses hot water heated by a boiler. The hot water is piped into a “fin-tube” baseboard units mounted along the bottom of the walls. Then the air is distributed by convection and as the air rises it is heated by the baseboard unit. The boiler may be fueled by natural gas, propane, oil or electricity.
Advantages: Energy Efficient
Accurate temperature control
Disadvantages: No furniture can be placed directly in front of baseboards
Slow to heat up, all heat rises to ceiling first
Air conditioning requires separate system
Wood Burning Stoves
This is probably the most controversial type of heating because of accidents and mishaps in the home. However, those in favor of wood burning stoves agree that with education and personal responsibility, wood heating is environmentally appropriate and economically beneficial. Gathering the wood yourself is physically healthy and experiencing the wood stove is comforting. There are several ways to heat your home with wood and they include wood stoves, fireplaces, advanced technology stoves and outdoor boilers.
Advantages: Heating with wood, partially or totally, is environmentally appropriate and economically beneficial
Burning wood the correct way can reduce net greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming
Homeowner is using a renewable energy source to heat home
Disadvantages: Wood must be collected by homeowner and should not be stacked next to a home for fear of termites
Wood has limitations on how often it can be burnt and when but most can be managed
Wood must be treated and burnt correctly or heat is wasted and harmful.
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