Given just how cold Massachusetts winters can get, it should come as no surprise that we constantly hear from homeowners who want to heat their homes more efficiently.
With the broad array of heating systems available, it can be hard to find the most energy efficient heater for your home. Knowing a bit about different heaters can make that choice easier and Hurley & David is here to help.
First step: insulating your home
Taking those steps before you upgrade to new energy efficient heating systems can actually reduce your home’s heating load, letting you save money upfront by buying a smaller and more energy efficient heater.
Second step: measuring your heater energy efficiency
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency.
One term you’ll need to understand is AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This is the percentage of fuel a furnace, boiler or similar system converts into usable heat. (For instance, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 90 converts 90 percent of the fuel it burns into usable heat, with the remaining 10 percent lost in the exhaust.)
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor
Another important term is HSPF, or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, which measures the efficiency of an air-source heat pump; the higher the HSPF, the better the efficiency. In either case, actual performance may vary depending on the conditions in your home, such as insulation, layout, and quality of HVAC ductwork.
Third step: Choosing the most energy efficient heater
With all the options available, navigating through energy efficient home heating system can be tough. How are the heating systems similar and how are they different?
Furnaces, or forced-air systems, are some of the most popular heating systems around. They work by heating air directly with an oil- or gas-lit flame and distributing the hot air throughout the house using a duct system. This also means that finding an energy efficient furnace is pretty easy, no matter where you live.
As an efficient heating system, furnaces are an affordable way to heat your home, and the same air ducts can also be used for central air conditioning.
Hot water baseboard heat uses a boiler to heat water, then distributes it to radiators throughout the home.
Boilers have the highest heating capacity available, making them great for cold Connecticut winters.
They also eliminate the need for a duct system, which can help reduce air leakage throughout a home, hence making it another energy-efficient heating system type, although it provides no means to incorporate a central air system.
Hydro-air is a hybrid system setup that uses a boiler to heat water, then pumps air through a heat exchanger to pick up that heat and distribute it through the duct system.
Most hydro-air systems have the boiler pull double duty and work as a water heater as well.
Air-source heat pumps are essentially reversible air conditioners.
During the summer, they collect heat inside the house and pump it outside; during the winter, they collect heat from the outdoor air and bring it into the house.
This sort of system includes an electric heating element as a backup system in case temperatures drop too low.
Geothermal heat pumps
Ground-source or geothermal heat pumps use the same reversible cooling cycle, but instead of pulling from the outside air, they use the stable temperatures found deep underground.
The heat pump uses the ground as a heat source in the winter and a heat sink in the summer, providing a highly efficient heating system using climate control no matter how hot or cold the air gets.
Energy efficient heater installation services
With so many energy-efficient heating systems available, it can be difficult to choose the most efficient heating system, accounting for both up-front cost and long-term efficiency.
When it comes to energy efficient heating, you know you can count on Hurley & David to provide honest advice based on your home’s energy needs.
We’ll help with a calculation called a payback analysis, which estimates how long a given heating system will take to pay for itself in energy savings.
Contact us today to learn more about our efficient heating systems options.