When it comes to home heating you have to get your head out of the furnace. Sure, furnaces are fundamental home heating systems, but because of energy efficiency and the soaring costs of natural gas, many homeowners are turning to innovative sources of heating, such as solar heaters, and many are even revisiting the past with woodstoves and indoor fireplaces. Solar energy, although it involves structural changes to your home, is more environmentally friendly and will cut down your heating costs by 50 percent or more. You can use alternative heat sources in conjunction with your furnace to keep your home comfortable and save money.
Regardless of how you choose to heat your home, you want to be sure that's all you're heating. You can get the most heat retention from your home by insulating and weatherproofing windows and doors.
With that said, though, the first step is choosing a heating system. Here's a brief look at the more popular home heating systems used today.
Furnaces - A furnace system takes air from living spaces, pulls it through ductwork to a heating area, inside the furnace itself, then pushes it back out into living spaces.
Electric heat pumps - Heat pumps differ from furnaces because rather than actually generating heat, they simply take heat from the outside and transfer it indoors. They can also work to cool your home on warmer days by reversing the process: pumping heat out of the house.
Radiant baseboard heaters - Baseboard heaters work as individual heating units to warm only the area surrounding them.
Radiant floor heating - One of the newest and hottest trends in home renovations today, floor heating has the ability to keep your tootsies warm and toasty no matter the weather outside. It's especially popular in bathrooms where your family spends so much time in bare feet. Electric floor heating systems are typically controlled via a programmable thermostat that controls each individual room. The thermostat works with a floor sensor to determine the current temperature and make the adequate temperature adjustments. Floor heating systems are installed right under your floor. They will add an extra 1/8 to 1/2 inch (on average) to the height of your floor, and they can be installed in just about any room in the house.
Space heaters - These are similar to baseboard heaters, but portable.