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The Boonstra Blog

The Hamiltonian’s Guide to Home Heating: Furnaces, Heat Pumps, & More

warm socked feet in front of a fire

As we all know, Hamilton isn’t exactly known for tropical weather and beautiful sunshine. Hamilton is as Canadian as it comes with a yearly average temperature of 8.4oC. Naturally, you are going to need a heating system built to last and will keep you cozy throughout the entire year. But where do you even start?

Boonstra Right Time doesn’t want you left out in the cold, which is why we created this handy guide to help you determine which heating system is best for your home.

How Do Heating Systems Work?

Before you dive into all your home heating options, it’s good to know a little about heating systems to help guide your decision.

For the most part, heating systems have three main components:

  1. A source to either warm the air
  2. A means of distributing that air
  3. A control to regulate the temperature (e.g. a thermostat)
mother and daughter reading a book in front of a fireplace

Types Of Heating Systems

Since you now have the very basics of what makes a heating system, you need to determine which style of heating system is right for you? What should you be looking for when buying a new heating system?

diagram comparing the pros and cons of furnaces boilers heat pumps space heaters and fireplaces

Furnaces

Furnaces are the most common form of home-heating in North America. Two types of furnaces are available for homes:

Gas-powered furnaces work by igniting a pilot light, or for newer models, an ignitor, inside a combustion chamber. Then, as cool air is brought in through a return duct, it is blown through the heat exchanger by a blower motor, warming the air so that it can be used to heat your home. The furnace then distributes the warm air through your home’s duct system.

Electric furnaces are not that much different from their gas-powered counterparts. Instead of using a pilot light and a combustion chamber to produce the heat in the heat exchanger, electric furnaces use electric heating coils in the heat exchanger instead.

Because of how conventional furnaces are in North America, most homes already come equipped with one. 

Boilers

Boiler systems heat about nine million homes in North America and are probably the next most popular form of home heating after furnaces. Boilers generally work by using a gas-powered heat source to boil a liquid, either water or glycol, then pumping it throughout your home using a pipe system to radiators, which disperse the heat.

Boilers can also be hooked to underfloor tubing, heating your floor as well! You can finally say goodbye to cold feet as you walk around your home.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are electrical devices that operate like a refrigerator or an air conditioner. By circulating refrigerant between two heat exchanger coils, the refrigerant collects warm air from the outside coil, where it then travels to the inside coil, moving the heat inside the home.

Even during the winter months, refrigerant can still soak up help you heat your home by being colder than the temperature outside.

Heat pumps can also double as an air conditioner when reversed since the technology is nearly identical.

Space Heaters

If you are looking to heat small spaces like cabins or apartments, then you might be in the market for a space heater. While they are not ideal in terms of heating any large area, they can be useful. What space heaters lack in power, they make up for in affordability and portability. 

Fireplaces

Fireplaces are the old tried and tested way of heating. However, while fireplaces can add to the ambiance of any home, they aren’t a cheap or efficient way to keep your home warm. If your home isn’t already equipped with one, then installing one requires lengthy and expensive renovations.

If you are not in the design process of your home, then you might want to look at other options for heating your home.

Professional Eyes Can Save You Both Time & Money

The very first thing you should do before you go ahead with any sort of heating appliance installation is to contact our professionals at Boonstra Right Time. Improperly installed or inefficient heating systems can raise your heating bill by quite a lot and prevent you from being comfortable in your own home. By having a consultation, you can be sure you’re getting the best heating system for your house so you can live through the colder months with ease.

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