HOW TO SELECT A HOME HEATING SYSTEM
Pittsburgh Furnace Service Experts Break Down the Ins and Outs of Choosing a Home Heating System
In cold climates, heating is responsible for most of a home’s heating costs The type of heating system chosen significantly impacts energy use, heating costs, and all-around comfort.
Any heating system over two decades old will require a lot of upkeep and maintenance to keep running year in and year out. Parts become harder to find making repairs more expensive.
Older units also weren’t built with the same energy efficiency requirements today’s models have. That alone costs homeowners significant money each year. Money that would be better spent on a newer and more efficient heating system.
Whether you’re replacing a heating system in an older home or installing a new home’s first one, know your options. Having a basic understanding of different systems available, energy efficiency ratings, and projected long-term installation and annual operating costs is important.
We here at Top Notch Heating & Cooling – Pittsburgh furnace service pros – have put together this summary of things to consider when selecting a home heating system.
In Pittsburgh, natural gas is the most common heating fuel. Homeowners living in an area with no natural gas may turn to propane or LP (liquefied petroleum) gas. Electric and oil heaters are also options.
While electrical heaters are cheaper to install and require less space, it’s more expensive to heat a home on electrical power than natural gas. This makes natural gas the most cost efficient and readily available option. It’s piped directly into your home. This means there’s never any worry about your supply running out like oil, propane, or LP gas.
TYPE OF HEATING SYSTEM
Most residential heating in Pittsburgh is either forced air or hot water heat distribution. Forced air heating systems use ducts and registers to distribute heat throughout a home. A hot water or hydronic heating system utilizes a boiler to heat water. This produces heat that’s distributed through pipes (not ducts) to radiators. Most residential boilers systems in the Pittsburgh region are fueled by natural gas or heating oil.
The more energy efficient a heating system is, the lower your heating bill will be. Even choosing a slightly more energy efficient system will pay off over the system’s lifespan.
Both furnaces and boilers are measured by their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). Manufacturers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to display a model’s AFUE rating for consumer comparison.
The AFUE rating measures an appliance’s efficiency in converting fuel into energy over the course of a year. For example, a 90 percent AFUE rating for a gas furnace means that 90 percent of the fuel’s energy is used to heat the home. The remaining 10 percent escapes through the chimney or an outdoors vent.
Cost is obviously a concern when choosing a new heating system. While the cost of the furnace itself is a factor, long-term operating and maintenance costs matter just as much. Saving a little bit now may cost you a lot in the long run. As Pittsburgh furnace service and installation professionals, Top Notch Heating & Cooling provides comparative operating and maintenance cost estimates for different systems. Give us a ring at 412-381-0598 if you’re considering a new heating system and want to talk.