Home heating has come a long way since our ancestors huddled around fires in caves! Since taming fire and electricity, many smart people have developed lots of innovative methods to heat homes and businesses. Right this moment, as you are reading this, another great idea to improve energy efficiency and comfort is being developed.
You have many choices of methods and technologies to heat your spaces. The most common method is the “forced air” furnace where air from the living spaces is moved by a fan called the “blower” in the furnace. The air comes to your furnace through the “return” ductwork, heated as it passes through the “heat exchanger” within the furnace, then sent back out to the living spaces through the “supply” ductwork. This concept built on the earlier pre-electricity concept where air was circulated by convection from the coal or wood fired heating plant located in the basement. Most of today’s furnaces create their heat by burning natural gas, liquid propane (LP), oil, wood or electric heating elements.
Another common method is the use of water to move heat from the heating unit to radiators in the living spaces. This is called “hydronic” heating and is exceptionally versatile in many ways. Hydronic heating evolved from the days of steam heat that used a “boiler” to actually bring the water to boiling temperature and create steam that migrated throughout the heating system through convection. As electricity became readily available pumps were developed that could move hot water more efficiently than steam to heat spaces. Steam systems for home heating have all but disappeared in favor of the more efficient hydronic systems. The term “boiler” has remained to describe the hydronic water heating unit that no longer boils the water. Today’s boiler heats water to temperatures close to boiling so the heat can be transferred through pipes by pumps to a variety of heat radiators in order to heat buildings. Most of today’s boilers create their heat by burning natural gas, liquid propane (LP), oil, wood or electric heating elements.
While the two heating systems listed above are by far the most common methods used to heat spaces, they’re by no means the only way to accomplish this. Additional heat sources such as pellets, air and water source heat pumps, geothermal heat systems and active or passive solar are gaining popularity and affordability. Stores, warehouses, production facilities, garages, dairy barns and other larger structures utilize radiant tube heaters and unit heaters that hang from the ceilings, and radiant in-floor heating has become very popular for heating homes, offices and even milking parlors in dairies. Control systems have become highly sophisticated and smart in order to maximize energy efficiency and occupants’ comfort.
In order to get the “most bang for your heating buck”, your living spaces must be well insulated, your windows and doors need to seal well allowing only the bare minimum of temperature transfer and your air ducts must be properly sealed. Read on to learn more about today’s choices in meeting your heating needs.
Call 920-261-9218 or use our contact form.