Home Heating Basics: Page 4 of 4

An Overview of Options
Beginner

Inside this Article

A blower door test
A blower door test, part of a typical energy audit, can help identify air leaks in your home that reduce the effectiveness of your heating system.
Thermal imaging
Thermal imaging can help locate areas of heat leakage to address with weather stripping or insulation.
A forced-air furnace
A forced-air furnace uses natural gas, propane, oil, or electricity to heat air and an electric blower to circulate it throughout your home.
A boiler
A boiler works like a forced-air furnace, but heats and circulates water, instead of air, to radiators or hydronic floor loops.
A heat pump
A heat pump removes heat from the outside air or the ground using phase-change materials. They can work in reverse to provide cooling in hot weather.
Designing new homes or additions using passive solar design strategies
Designing new homes or additions using passive solar design strategies can reduce heating costs and increase comfort.
Hydronic heating loops
These hydronic heating loops are awaiting the pour that will embed them in concrete slabs. They can also be installed between floor joists or in specially designed subflooring panels.
Electric radiant mat
Electric radiant mats can be installed between the subfloor and many types of floor surfaces.
Solar thermal collectors
Solar thermal collectors can efficiently heat your home, and large PV systems can offset some or all of the energy used for electric heating.
A blower door test
Thermal imaging
A forced-air furnace
A boiler
A heat pump
Designing new homes or additions using passive solar design strategies
Hydronic heating loops
Electric radiant mat
Solar thermal collectors

Of course, the cleanest fuel for heating (and possibly cooling) your home is solar energy, which produces no on-site emissions at all. New homes in cold or moderate climates should be designed to take advantage of passive solar heating. Active solar heating systems can be used in new or existing homes and are compatible with many conventional heating systems. Homeowners can use either solar air heating collectors for preheating of ventilation air or solar water heating collectors to supplement water heating systems. Solar energy can also be used to boost the performance of heat pumps, and an absorption heat pump will allow you to power an air conditioning system with solar energy.

Access

Adapted from the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, 9th ed., by Jennifer Thorne Amann & Alex Wilson, with permission from New Society Publishers (www.newsociety.com), and from EERE’s Consumer Guide to Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energywww.eere.energy.gov

Online home heat loss calculator • www.builditsolar.com/References/Calculators/HeatLoss/HeatLoss.htm

Info on efficient furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps • www.energystar.gov

List of clean-burning wood heaters & fireplaces • www.epa.gov/woodstoves

Comments (1)

Unikwil's picture

I've seen dust driving along form my AC. However, regular maintenance and cleaning of the ventilation systems results in clean surrounding around you. You can read more about it here.
There are many other factored resulting unnecessary heating as well but I think the proper maintenance can rule out all sort of problems.

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