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|HVAC & Water
> Home Heating
Heat Pumps & Furnaces
Energy & Efficiency
Services & Costs
|The heating system in your home is a vitally important contributor to your quality of life. Without proper heating, life during the winter months would be difficult at best and dangerous at worst. Even in a well-insulated home, it is only a brief matter of time before the cold air outside begins to make its way into the home. However, even though the importance of heating may be obvious, the optimal appliance to install for this purpose is much less so. Updating or replacing the heating system in your home is a complex task.|
Selecting an optimal heating system or purchasing quality space heaters for individual rooms or outlying areas can certainly address each of these three primary issues. However, there are many separate elements that have to be considered. Certainly, there is purchase price and warranty. But beyond that, there are such issues as energy efficiency, heating capacity, fuel source, manufacturer brand, climatic compatibility, ease of installation, and portability, among others. Our goal on this site is to provide you with a free-of-charge, yet value-added guide that will contextualize and explain each of these critical elements so that your next winters can be spent in maximal comfort.
For most of us, a new heating system is a major expenditure. While it does not have the same wallet impact as buying a new car, it is right up there with the big-screen TV, the newfangled outdoor grill, and the fancy refrigerator in terms of sticker price. Consequently, it is important to do your homework and make sure that you do it right the first time. A properly chosen and sized central heating system should last a minimum of ten years and, in most cases, 15 to 20 without a serious hiccup. That is why we believe a site such as this is important. Rather than try to bias you in favor of a particular brand or confuse you with industry jargon, we provide a set of straightforward explanations that will empower you to go head-to-head with the craftiest HVAC salesperson and come out with a quality product rather than a bad case of buyer's remorse.
With the introduction out of the way, let's get to the information. This portion of the site deals with home heating, a complex topic which we have subdivided into several categories. Each category is accessible from the navigation menu at the top left of this screen. Furthermore, each category is self-contained and deals with an important set of issues relating to home heating products. Please read on for an overview of each category.
The "Heat Pumps & Furnaces" section describes the two primary categories of central heating systems, which are heat pump-based and furnace-based. The two systems operate by a different set of underlying principles, with furnaces using a heat generation process and heat pumps utilizing a heat exchange process. Delving deeper, there are multiple different types of furnace and heat pump systems. We explore each of these in detail, considering their characteristics and articulating both their advantages and their disadvantages. This section is most useful if you are either trying to select a heating system for a new home that you are building or looking to replace the old heating system in your home and are at the early part of that process, seeking to understand the different kinds of central heating systems that are available.
The "Space Heaters" section deals with portable heaters, which are distinct from central heating systems in that they are intended to heat a single room or otherwise enclosed area rather than an entire home. Such heaters are compact, mobile units which can be easily transported from one location to another and which can provide an effective extension for areas that are beyond the limits of central heating, such as basements, garages, and outdoor sheds. In addition, space heaters can be used as standalone heat sources for individual offices and studio apartments. They can also be used for specialty applications, such as hot yoga. This section will be helpful if you are looking for a low-cost alternative to central heating for the purpose of heating a particular area of your home or office.
The "Leading Brands" section provides background on the heating industry generally and specific manufacturers specifically. Due to significant consolidation within the space, a number of differentiated brands of heating products are actually owned by the same parent companies. As a consequence, the differences in quality between these brands are virtually non-existent. On the other hand, differences in quality between heating systems that are produced by different manufacturers are very real. We help you to identify the acknowledged market leading brands and highlight the differences between them. This section can be viewed as a scorecard that will assist you in the course of selecting a specific heating system for your home.
The "Energy & Efficiency" section delves into the full range of energy considerations that pertain to powering heating systems. Fuel options are explored in detail, including electricity, natural gas, oil, propane, and wood. Each is compared to the others in terms of cost, ease of use, and environmental impact. The issue of energy efficiency is explored, including the calculation and use of AFUE and HSPF ratings to determine the relative efficiency of a furnace or a heat pump, and the details and benefits of the government-run ENERGY STAR program. This section is particularly useful if you are considering whether to replace an old heating system and would like to better understand the concrete benefits of new, more energy-efficient units.
The "Considerations" section explores more specific selection criteria which play into the decision-making process for a new heating system. We explore the important issue of capacity, determine key sizing requirements, and explain BTU-based calculations. We also take a close look at other considerations, such as advanced features and different purchase options that are available. This section is helpful if you have determined the type and brand of heating system that you prefer and are now getting down to the nuts and bolts of determining the specific model that will best match the needs of your home.
The "Services & Costs" section comprises information regarding professional services and typical expense bands associated with different heating systems. We address the question of how to go about selecting quality contractors and deciding whether a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach may be appropriate. With respect to costs, although specific prices will vary by region, by service provider, by system type, and by brand, they will still generally fall within a certain range. Having an idea of this range can help to plan ahead, as well as to identify price estimates or quotes that are questionable. This section provides a useful planning tool if you have decided to purchase a new heating system, but have not yet begun the comparison shopping process.