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Introduction to Different Types of Heating Systems

by vscontent on December 22, 2017

Introduction to Home Heating SystemsHaving a lot of options can lead to stress on the part of the consumer. A person can wonder, am I making the right choice? What brand or company should I trust? Did I pay too much? Will I be happy with my purchase in the long term?

When making an important and costly decision such as buying and installing a new heating system for your home, there are many options on the market. It’s important to do due diligence and research what’s available and what looks like a good fit.

From there, a professional HVAC company like Pacific Heating and Cooling can answer any of your questions and concerns, and educate you further about different fuel types and levels of energy-efficiency

Every home is unique and every homeowner has different goals and needs when it comes to their heating system. We can help you find the perfect heating system for your home, starting with this brief introduction to different types of heating systems.

Contact us for a personal Comfort Advisor to guide you through the heating replacement process.

Home Heating Systems

Whether you’re renovating your home or replacing an existing unit, it’s important to focus on the basics: energy-efficiency, fuel, lifespan, cost, and of course, comfort.

Forced Air Furnace

Forced air heating and cooling is the most ubiquitous heating system in this country. A furnace heats the air, which is then pushed throughout the home via a system of ducts. Central heating is dependable, and easy to install. It is relatively inexpensive, especially gas-fueled central heating. Its energy efficiency continues to evolve, with newer models offering impressive results—AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) ratings as high as 98.5%.

Learn more about furnaces and forced air systems on our Furnace FAQ page.


Boilers are the second most common heating type in homes. A boiler will heat water to produce hot water or steam and run it through pipes and into radiators. Boilers are slightly more expensive to install than a forced air system, but can be a cheaper choice depending on your home and existing heating system.

Many people prefer boilers for their ability to provide a form of zoned heating (only heating the areas you need). Talk to a professional HVAC company about the pros and cons of boilers.

Learn different furnace and boiler retrofit options for improving your heating efficiency levels.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are unique because they pull heat from the surrounding air in order to warm the home. Although the word “heat” may lead you to believe it is only for the colder months, heat pumps can also be used for cooling.

Heat pumps can run on either electricity or geothermal energy. Best for a moderate climate, heat pumps will last an average of 15 years, and may cost more upfront.

Learn if a heat pump is right for your home.

Hybrid Heating (Dual-Fuel)

Hybrid heating combines the power of a furnace with the energy efficiency of a heat pump. While heat pumps are very efficient in a certain temperature range, they can be quite inefficient when temperatures approach freezing. This is when the system automatically switches over to a forced air furnace.

Active Solar Heating

Relying on the sun to heat your home seems like an ancient solution but is actually quite modern. The sun is used to heat liquid or air in a “solar collector,” which can then be accessed to heat the indoors. Fueled by solar energy, active solar heating systems have a life expectancy of over two decades, and are guaranteed to reduce your fuel costs.

Radiant Heat Flooring

This direct heating solution has been gaining popularity in recent years. Warmth is provided from the floor up as a boiler/heat pump/electric heating system sends heat flowing through pipes beneath the flooring. It is an expensive installation process, and repairs can often be costly as well.

There are benefits depending on your particular home, and it is beneficial for people with respiratory issues as radiant heating will not distribute allergens.

Electric Heating

Electric heating is where electricity is converted into heat. It has a high life expectancy and a super high efficiency rating. However, using electricity for your heating may become expensive to operate based on your comfort preferences.

A technician will be able to determine if electric heating is a cost-effective solution for you based on an evaluation.

Ductless Mini-Splits (HVAC Zones) 

Ductless mini-splits utilize a heat pump system, but instead of utilizing duct to distribute the air, the mini-split units are directly installed into your home. Like traditional heat pump system, ductless mini-splits allow you to provide heating and cooling to the areas you need it most.

Learn more about ductless mini-split units.

Let Pacific Heating & Cooling find the best heating system for your home.

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Contact Pacific Heating and Cooling (available 24/7) at (253) 292-3995 for everything you need to know about your heating system.

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