There are many ways to keep your Mooresville home warm this winter. If your current furnace or boiler is on its way out, you may be interested in learning about the different heating options that you have access to. Whether you’re building a new home or renovating an old one, this is an opportunity to enjoy greater levels of efficiency, increased reliability, and more comfort for everyone.
Get a New Furnace or Boiler
Older furnaces or conventional furnaces have pilot lights. These units also have moderate to low annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings. If your conventional furnace is nearing the end of its lifespan, you can opt for a high-efficiency condensing furnace. These upgraded furnaces have electric ignition switches. With a high-efficiency condensing furnace, you won’t have to make periodic trips to the basement to relight your pilot.
A high-efficiency furnace can use the vast majority of the fuel it consumes to produce heat. In fact, some options can use as much as 95% of the fuel that they burn for heat generation. With these models, only 5% is released through their venting systems. With more efficient fuel use, a high-efficiency furnace can lower your carbon footprint and reduce your home energy bills.
The same is also true of newer boilers. Modern, high-efficiency boilers can use as much as 90% of the fuel they burn to produce heat. Thus, whether your current furnace or boiler has gone out, if you’re willing to invest in a high-efficiency model, you’re in for a real treat.
Consider Radiant Heating
Given that heat rises, there’s really no better place to install your heating system than right under your feet. You won’t have to worry about cold floors with in-floor radiant systems. Best of all, they can be more efficient than even many high-efficiency furnaces. This is because they eliminate the potential for air loss via inefficient ducting systems.
If there’s anyone with allergies in your home, radiant heating could be the best choice. With these systems, heat is radiating off of in-built surfaces such as your flooring, your wall panels, or your ceiling. There’s no need to filter air before circulation, and no fear of having dirt, dust, dander, pollen, or other allergens get cycled and recycled through the indoor air. Radiant heating is also excellent for supplementing existing forced-air heating equipment.
Wood and Pellet Heating
Wood and pellet heating is something that you might consider for rooms that aren’t serviced by your central heating system. Installing a wood-burning appliance can add rustic charm to your property and make frigid, under-supported areas of the building more habitable. However, when installing a wood or pellet-burning stove, you have to make sure that it’s properly vented. Just like gas and oil-fired heaters, wood stoves produce harmful gases that might cause serious health problems for building residents if venting is insufficient.
Space Heaters and Electric Blankets
Space heaters are never an effective way to heat an entire home. If your furnace or boiler isn’t working, you don’t want to try eking winter by relying solely on these small-sized appliances. Not only are they inefficient and costly to run, but they only have enough power to heat single rooms at a time. Moreover, they can be tremendous fire hazards. You should never leave a space heater turned on and unattended.
There are, however, several times when using a space heater is acceptable for a short period. For instance, if you have an under-serviced room such as a garden room or a recent addition, you can set up a space heater in this area while you’re present. Space heaters also work well in garages and hobby rooms. No matter where you use them, they should always be plugged directly into wall outlets rather than extension cords, and they should always be unplugged and turned off before exiting.
Electric blankets or heating blankets have long been a way for people to create and maintain cozy sleeping quarters during the chilliest part of winter. Surprisingly, however, these relatively small-sized appliances can drive your heating costs up significantly. Moreover, if electric blankets are old, frayed, improperly used, or cleaned the wrong way, they can be a fire hazard as well. Using electric blankets too often or incorrectly can even result in skin burns. These products are best reserved for special occasions. It’s far better to have a functional and efficient heating system that keeps your entire home at a comfortable temperature.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of an Electric Heat Pump
For some households, the most efficient way to heat and cool the living environment is by having an electric heat pump installed. Unlike other heating sources, these systems have the ability to produce both warm air and cold air as needed. Thus, if you install an electric heat pump to meet your winter heating needs, you can use this same unit to cool your living space down during the stifling months of summer. Although this might seem ideal, electric heat pumps have both benefits and drawbacks.
One of the biggest drawbacks of electric heat pumps is that they can cost quite a bit upfront. More importantly, given that they draw warmth from the outdoor air and the ground to deliver heat indoors, they aren’t always as effective as homeowners need them to be. This is especially true when the outside temperature is exceedingly cold. If the temperature plummets in your area, having an electric heat pump as a standalone heating solution may not be enough to meet your household’s heating needs.
As far as benefits go, you don’t need ducting to support an electric heat pump. This makes it an excellent choice for older homes that weren’t initially constructed with HVAC air ducts. With a heat pump, you can have a single unit installed outdoors and have air registers installed in multiple zones or rooms. This setup is known as a ductless mini-split heat pump. It allows homeowners to selectively heat or cool spaces as needed. This way, they’re never paying to warm up rooms that people aren’t using, and building occupants can customize temperatures to their own preferences.
Some Charlotte homes have one or more rooms or zones that aren’t properly serviced by their central HVAC systems. In these spaces, heat pumps, radiant flooring, and even space heaters can be effective. However, space heaters should always be considered a short-term, high-risk alternative to a permanent heat source. For all other households in the region, high-efficiency boilers, high-efficiency furnaces, and whole-house radiant heating are often the best choices.
At Putnam Mechanical, we’ve been providing homeowners throughout the greater Mooresville, North Carolina, area with efficient heating solutions since 2006. We pride ourselves on offering the latest and most innovative heating products. We also provide lighting installation, electrical inspections, and preventative maintenance plans. If your heater has reached the end of its lifespan or if you’re looking for a way to warm up an under-serviced area in your home, we can help. Call us today to set up an appointment.