As temperatures plummet in Cincinnati, it seems inevitable that your home’s heating costs will soar. But is it really inevitable? Maybe not. If you’ve already taken investing in a new HVAC system off the table, there are still ways to reduce your energy bills during winter. You could insulate your windows, for example.
But what if you’re in the process of building a custom home? Well, then it’s definitely possible to lower your future home heating costs by working with your builder to choose the most efficient heating system possible.
Of course, there are other factors besides energy bills that come into play when choosing a heating system. Some heat sources are quieter than others, and some may work better with your home’s design than others. Additionally, if you’re working with a LEED certified builder like Classic Living Homes, you can choose a heating system that’s good for the planet, too.
Don’t know your heat pumps from your forced air systems? You’re not alone! Below, we break down the most common ways to heat homes here in Cincinnati and the surrounding area, where it gets cold enough to warrant a total home heating system that goes the distance 24/7.
First, we’ll talk about heat sources, or vehicles that provide the heating. Then, we’ll discuss heat distribution systems. These are how heat, that gets generated from the source, will move through the house.
Popular heat sources for Cincinnati homeowners
Furnaces. One of the most common heat sources found in homes in the Queen City, furnaces heat air that then gets passed through the home via air ducts that are usually installed in floors and ceilings. Furnaces, if serviced regularly, can last up to 30 years and can be extremely energy efficient if they are regularly maintained.
Boilers. If you see a radiator in a home, there’s a good chance it’s one that’s heated by a boiler. Another common and extremely efficient way to heat homes in the Midwest and northern states, boilers work by passing hot water through pipes to radiators or floors. Like furnaces, boilers can last about 30 years and are about as energy efficient as furnaces.
Heat pumps. Heat pumps work by adding heat from surrounding air. These last about 15 years and are less common in homes in the Cincinnati area, as temperatures dip low enough to require a more substantial heating system. That being said, if you opt for this type of heat source, you may need to use additional heat sources like portable heaters when the temps dip into the single digits.
Solar heating. Active solar heating passes heat through solar panels. This method of heating homes is becoming more popular for custom built homes for two good reasons, it’s energy-efficient and it’s sustainable. By tapping into the natural heat of the sun and converting it to warm air, solar heating is an excellent alternative for heating homes, and most solar heating can last more than 20 years.
Types of heat distribution
Now let’s take a look at how the heat will get distributed throughout your home, because this is just as important as the heat source. Below we take a look at four main ways to move heat through houses.
Electric and hot water baseboards. Electric heat distribution systems work via heaters that push warm air out and upwards. Since heat rises, this system can be an effective way move heat through rooms. Alternatively, hot water baseboards are wall-mounted and work in a similar fashion.
Steam heating. Radiators installed on floors and walls can move water through pipes that, in turn, gets converted to steam to heat the house.
Forced air systems. Air ducts and vents can move warm air from furnaces through the house efficiently.
Radiant heating. This type of heating is becoming popular with custom homeowners and involves installing ceiling, floor, or wall panels to heat the house. Often, radiant heating is used in combination of another heat distribution system.
Ready to learn more about home heating systems and which will work best in your home? Classic Living Homes works with one of the top HVAC companies in Cincinnati. Together, we can help fit your new home with a heating system that’s energy efficient, great looking and good for the planet, too!