The Types Central Heating Systems and How They Do What They Do

Central heating systems are easily the most cost-effective form of heating for any home. There is not much more convenience than heating your entire home from one unit, as opposed to having to individually heat each room. The installation costs of central heating systems, may be relatively higher, but the operating costs are much lower, as they are more reliable, last much longer and may also be much safer.

One of the main components of central heating is the water circulation system. Water is heated in the boiler system. And the generated heat is then transferred to the air vents and circulations system. The water can also be distributed to radiators that supply heat to individual areas. A separate system also distributes the water to outlets where it can be used. The radiators are placed in various locations around the home or building, and are fed with steam or hot water from the boiler that is powered by the combustion of heating oil or natural gas.

Central Heating Systems can sometimes be powered by a Forced Air Furnace, which can be powered by electricity oil or natural gas. The heated air is then blown through the ventilation system where it is distributed to various areas through the air duct network. This system involves no heating of water, but a direct heating of air before it is circulated to the rest of the home.

Governments at both the local and Federal levels are now providing subsidies for the implementation of solar panels that can be used as a supply source for central heating. The technology is relatively expensive, but the energy source is unlimited, cheap and easily renewable. The sunlight is easily converted to heat energy through the use of special solar panels and then distributed through the house via the air circulation system.

Organic material can be burned to produce heat in Biomass Systems. The organic material can be any combustible material such as chips wood, or paper. These systems can be connected to central heating systems but the architecture can become quite complex, and the installation costs may be relatively high. However, the added benefit of being Eco-friendly should not be overlooked, as it contributes to a much lower carbon footprint.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of the systems. Combustion of fossil fuels may be an efficient energy source, but damage is done to the environment. Solar panels are a cheap source but still relatively inefficient as a complementary energy source and supply such as a boiler is still needed. Biomass systems can contribute to a better environment, but there are other important considerations such the availability of fuel, and the storage and handling of organic material.

It is absolutely essential that you seek professional advice before deciding on any heating system. A very thorough evaluation of your home or building is first required, as well as very careful consideration for the operating costs, maintenance and servicing of your heating system. You should also spend some time in determining the viability of any new technology as it applies to your particular circumstances

Central Heating Systems – Buyer’s Checklist

One of the best ways to increase the value of a home is by upgrading the central heating system. Some of the best reasons for updating is for comfort, to conserve energy or because the current system is no longer operable. Most homes are generally operating at an average of 75% rate of efficiency meaning that 75% of the energy (normally gas, oil or electricity) is utilized in the operation of the furnace. Therefore an average of 25% is wasted, which is money down the drain. Newer central heating systems are made to run more efficiently than ever before. Currently most furnaces that are being installed are operating at a 90% or better average rate of efficiency. Conserving energy equates to lower utility bills which means more money in your bank account. Therefore over time the new central heating system will pay for itself. In addition, the upfront market value of a home is increased with the installation of a new central heating system. If you were to sell the home, the value would be increased by the new system and would also make the home more appealing to a potential buyer.

With central heating, the heat is generated in one central place and then distributed throughout the home or building. This approach differs from local heating where the heating source such as a space heater or fireplace heats only one area or room. A typical system for central heating involves burning fuel such as gas, oil or coal in a boiler or furnace. In a home the furnace is normally located in the basement, attic, utility room or an airing closet. In commercial buildings, the furnace is normally in a dedicated boiler room. Electric central heating systems are more common where there are low cost electricity supplies or geothermal heat pumps are available. There are also green/environmentally geared central heating systems which are becoming more and more popular with growing concern for the environment. Such alternatives to fossil fuels such as solar and wind power are becoming more common but they are still much more expensive to install and therefore have not yet become mainstream.

The heat generated in the furnace, either from electricity, the combustion of fossil fuels or by seizing solar energy, is then distributed throughout the home. There are various methods for doing this. One method is to pump heated air through duct work. Another method involves heating water in the boiler and then circulating steam or hot water through pipes around the home or building. The pipes lead to wall mounted radiators. Each radiator has a regulating control so that the heat can be adjusted in the room.

The central heating system is often part of a larger and more expansive HVAC system (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning). HVAC systems are used to control the temperature and often the humidity. Updating a HVAC system improves a home’s comfort and value while lowering utility costs but does often come with a hefty price tag. Factors such as size, brand and model all contribute to the price of a HVAC system. The price of a new system can range from $750 to $3000. A new furnace will cost on average $1500. This price does not include any accoutrements or installation. When it’s time to get a new central heating system or HVAC system, price is often a concern. It’s important to do your homework so you understand what type of system you currently have and what you need to have implemented. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and always get at least three quotations from notable contractors.

More Efficient Heating Systems Means More Savings

Many different heating systems have been devised for heating buildings. Each has its own characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. They can be classified according to the method in which the heat is delivered, the nature of the heat, the fuel being used and the efficiency of the process. The fuel being used, can again be differentiated, and makes a significant contribution to the efficiency of the systems. Each fuel has its own advantages and disadvantages, such as availability cost, and the efficiency of the heating equipment which is dependent on system design and construction.

There are four mediums for transferring heat, that include air, water, steam and electricity, and heating methods may differ considerably in efficiency and desirability. Because of the various methods in practice, heating systems can vary, but most fall into different classes.

i) Warm-air heating systems: Air is used to transfer heat to various rooms. The main unit of the system is a furnace which can use any of the fuel sources. Cool air is heated and then distributed through the duct system, where the heat is transferred, recycled and re-distributed.

ii) Hydronic systems: Hot-water heating systems use water, which is heated in a boiler or water heater and circulated through the piping system or radiators or heating panel installed in the floors or ceilings. Hot water systems can be further classified according to the type of water circulation, the piping arrangement, and the temperature of the supply water.

iii) Steam heating systems: Steam is a very effective heating medium and was until recently, the most commonly used method for heating residential, commercial and industrial buildings. However, the use has diminished as less expensive methods have been developed. The steam produced when water is boiled is used to heat emitting units such as radiators and convectors located in rooms throughout the building.

iv) Electric heating: Electricity can be used both as a source and a fuel. For example, the boilers in the hot water system are heated with electricity, and electric furnaces can also be used to warm air in the forced-warmed heating systems. The electric systems may be cheaper but contain more components, variables and controls such as the electric furnace, the duct heaters, and heat pumps

There some advantages to using electric heating, that includes safety, and quiet operation, as fewer mechanical parts are involved. The heating units are very compact and there is no need for ducts or pipes.

In solar heating, the energy produced by the sun is used to heat water, which is used for domestic purposes. Solar hot water also has industrial applications, e.g. to generate electricity. Solar heating is being adopted in climates where the sun is and abundantly and readily available and as the technology improves, more widespread adoption and uses can be expanded.

The type of heating selected will depend on several factors, which should include the cost, efficiency, availability and suitability.