There are many types of heating systems that can keep your home warm during winter. These brief descriptions will give you a basic idea of how different heating systems work. Construction Pros will evaluate your system during our Home Energy Audit and give you the details on how it can be improved for better performance and energy savings.
Forced-air heating systems (aka furnaces) burn fossil fuel (oil or gas) to heat the air. A central fan blows this air through supply ductwork to distribute it throughout your living space. Return ductwork delivers air back to the unit to be reheated and redistributed. Forced air heating is affordable and offers the advantage of a ductwork system that can also be used for central air conditioning.
Hydro-air is a variation on forced-air heating. A boiler (gas or oil-fired) heats water that is then pumped through a heat exchanger or coil mounted in your ductwork. Air passes through the coil to pick up heat before it's distributed throughout the home. The boiler in a hydro-air system often does double duty, heating water for washing as well as for heating. This eliminates the need for a separate water heater.
Hot water baseboard heat also relies on a boiler to heat water. The hot water gets pumped to baseboard or other types of radiators that are mounted on the wall. This type of heating system requires no ductwork, which is both good (no leaky ducts to worry about) and bad (no distribution system for central air conditioning).
An air-source heat pump is a central air conditioner that can run in "reverse," supplying hot air in the winter and cool air in the summer. If you're ever waved your hand over your AC unit outside on a hot day while it's cooling your house, you probably noticed the outdoor unit was blowing hot air. During cold weather, this cycle can be reversed to move this heat into the house.
Hybrid heating systems: By combining an air source heat pump with a fossil fuel furnace, this system gives you the flexibility to use the most cost effective fuel at any given time or temperature. In addition, you get built-in redundancy so that if one system isn't working correctly, the other can take over. Controls are automated so there's nothing for you to do once you have programmed the thermostat, besides the enjoyment of unmatched comfort and energy savings.