How to Select a Home Heating System

By Susan M. Keenan

Selecting the right heating system for your home can provide you with financial savings through lower energy bills. In fact, an energy efficient system that is working properly can also provide a more comfortable living environment.

Size of Heater

Probably one of the most important facets to consider when making your purchase is the size of the heating system. The largest heating system isn’t always the best option for consumers to purchase. Although several factors should be considered when determining the size of the heating system to purchase, one factor plays a larger role in determining the size of the system that you purchase. The area of the home is the determining point when it comes to the size that you select.

The heater needs to be the proper size so that it functions properly and with efficiency. A heating system that is too large is not going to heat your home until it is nice and toasty. Instead, the system will frequently turn on and off, creating short on cycles. This will cause it to use more energy than necessary, as well as making it less efficient. If the heating system continually fluctuates between on and off, it will never reach maximum performance. Plus, your energy costs will go up.

Additionally, a heating system that is not working in the manner for which it was designed is going to experience additional wear and tear on its parts. Eventually, the wear and tear is going to lead to an early replacement of the system.

A heating contractor can take a heat loss, heat gain calculation to assist in determining the size of the system that is appropriate for your home. This calculation takes into consideration such factors as the number and types of windows in your home, the size of your home, the orientation of your home to the sun, and the number of levels of insulation in your ceilings, walls, and floors.

Additional Options: Zone Heating

When making your selection of a home heating system also consider the options that you would like to include. Many options are recommended in order to provide a healthier living environment including humidifiers and air cleaners. Another option to consider is to acquire a system that allows zoned heating.

Two basic methods can be used to achieve zoned heating. The first method involves the acquisition of temperature sensors for each zone in the home. Additionally, a motorized mechanical damper directs the flow of heated air to the different zones of the home.

The second method involves the acquisition of two separate heating systems or furnaces to provide heated air to different areas or zones of the home. Additionally, each system has its own thermostat. The benefits of programmable systems or systems that use zoning can be released in a savings of energy and money.

Heater Efficiency Check

When making a selection of a home heating system, check the Standard Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER. The higher the ratio, the more efficient the system is. Plus, systems that showcase the energy star have qualified for the Environmental Protection Agency’s requirements for the efficient use of our natural resources.

Many newer models of furnaces have been developed with an electronically commutated (ECM) blower motors. These are more energy efficient than furnaces that use standard motors. Fan blower motors push the air through the ductwork and through the rooms in the home. An ECM motor uses less energy and will lead to savings in your energy costs.

Replacing a currently working heating system is probably not a cost efficient idea. However, if your heating system is ineffective and on its last leg, replacing it can provide a home with a nice warm environment and your savings with an added boost.