To keep your family and your home safe during the winter season, you need to invest in a home heating system. With so many options on the market today, it can be a bit overwhelming to determine which heating system is best for your home. If you’re like most folks, you’re looking for a heating system that is both effective and affordable.
What Are Your Options?
When it comes to heating systems, there are three main types that you can opt to purchase. These are a heat pump, furnace, and boiler. Heat pumps run primarily on electricity and also work to cool your home in the summertime.
Furnaces are the most popular choice for homeowners and can run on electricity, propane, heating oil, or natural gas. Furnaces use a forced-air blower system to deliver hot air throughout your home. Boilers heat up water or steam and pipe it to radiators through a home. Boilers can run on heating oil, propane, electricity, or natural gas.
Average Replacement Cost Per Unit Type
To help give you a good picture of what these units cost to have installed, we’re going to evaluate the five most popular. These are a heat pump, gas boiler, gas furnace, electric furnace, and electric boiler. Each cost figure will include both an installation fee that your installer will charge for their labor and a system cost that is the flat rate for the heating system itself. All price estimates are for installations and vary depending on the size of the house.
Depending on the system you choose for your home, an electric boiler is going to be the cheapest system to have installed in your home. Conversely, a heat pump is going to be the most expensive.
All of the estimates above are based on the replacement cost of a heating system. This assumes that there is already adequate infrastructure in place, such as ducting or radiators. Most older homes already have this existing infrastructure, and all homeowners need to worry about is finding a system that fits that existing infrastructure. It’s always going to be cheaper to buy a replacement heating system that matches the existing infrastructure of your home as compared to purchasing a heating system that requires a different infrastructure.
If you’re moving into a new home or you’re considering switching to a different type of heating system that requires a different infrastructure setup, then you’ll need to evaluate the purchase price of the infrastructure that you need. In general, there are two different infrastructure setups.
The most common is the forced-air system. This requires an air handler and ducting to be installed throughout the floors and walls of your home. If you’re building a new home, having this ducting infrastructure installed will cost about $1,300. If you’re considering having ducting installed in a home that is already built, the price can climb to over $6,000. This is because the installer will have to remove and replace drywall and other structural features of your home to insert the ducting.
The second type of infrastructure is a hot water or hot steam radiator system. These are necessary for boilers, and their cost will highly vary depending on whether you’re having a new home built or you already have existing drywall and flooring installed in your home.
A Note on Energy Efficiency
When you purchase a new heating system, you want to take into account how efficiently it will operate. Just because a system is cheaper to install than the next doesn’t mean that it’s going to be cheaper to run. In fact, some of the cheapest heating systems on the market are the least energy efficient out there.
To determine how energy efficient a particular heating system is, it’s given an AFUE rating. This allows consumers like you to compare different types of heating systems to determine which one meets your efficiency needs. AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency. This number is given in a percentage format and indicates how much energy a system produces per unit of fuel it receives.
The higher the AFUE rating, the more energy efficient a heating system will be. This translates to lower energy bills for you during the winter months. Below is a list of the AFUE ratings for different heating options available to you:
- Geothermal heat pump – 400%
- Gas boiler – 96%
- Gas furnace – 98%
- Electric furnace – 100%
- Electric boiler – 100%
The climate that you live in will have a large impact on the heat options that you have available to you. More specifically speaking, heat pumps are not highly recommended for homes in the northeast part of the country. This is due to the fact that heat pumps don’t work well at temperatures below freezing. While heat pumps can offer four times better efficiency than other heating options available to you, they can struggle to keep your home adequately warm if there are cold spells that drop the temperature below freezing.
If you would really like to take advantage of the energy savings that a geothermal system can offer you, then you may want to consider installing two types of heating systems. You can make your geothermal heat pump the main heating option for your home. Then, purchase a backup electrical or heating oil furnace that works to heat your home when temperatures plummet below freezing. This gives you the best of both worlds as you can cash in on energy efficiency while the weather is fair and still have a viable heating option when the temperature drops below freezing.
Others Important Factors to Consider
When making a decision about the appropriate heating system for your home, price is only one factor to consider. You’ll want to consider the system’s operating costs, expected lifespan, energy efficiency, warranty, maintenance needs, tax rebates, and so forth. It’s best to evaluate the inclusive long-term costs associated with a particular heating system so that you can get a clearer picture of what the actual cost is going to be. For example, geothermal heat pumps are the most expensive to install, but they last 10 to 15 years longer than your average residential gas, propane, electric, or oil furnace or boiler.
Quality Heating Services
Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating offers quality heating service for the entire Hanover, MD area. We’re also here for all of your cooling, custom ductwork, indoor air quality, and commercial HVAC needs. Contact our office today to schedule your next service appointment with one of our highly knowledgeable technicians.