Central Heating Characteristics and System

One characteristic of central heating is that it is extremely practical to use. It will heat every room in the house. It should have a thermometer in every room to control the temperature in that particular space. It should come with digitized temperature controls that allow the operator to set the controls and see the temperatures read in digitized form. Or you can remotely control the temperature throughout the house via your mobile device.

If you are in England you should be able to set your central heating system to your desired temperature when your house is situated in the United States or Asia. You may be able to choose the heating system that will fit your budget. The central heating system will be designed to operate in the ceilings of the house covering every square foot of the living space. Like it was said before the central heating system allows the occupants in the dwelling to set their temperature to their own comfort level wherever their space is. The talk of the town is central heating systems and which one is the best.   



It could be that most North American homes are equipped with central furnace heating systems. This system blows hot air through ducts that deliver air by grilles, registers or air vents. This is called a forced air or duct air system. It is powered by natural gas, electricity, or fuel oil.  

Specifically, inside a gas or oil-fueled furnace system the gas is mixed with burning air. The air is directed through the heat exchanger by the “air handlers” furnace fan and then it travels through the air ducts by force. The air ducts are below the heat exchanger or in other words, they are lower than the heat exchanger. In this system, you can observe that every part has to work in unison and one part is connected to the other part. If one part fails to work then the whole system breaks down.

The furnace has a safety “valve” or a protection system for the homeowner because all the combustible elements are pushed through the flute on the roof of the house or building. This prevents poisonous emissions to be breathed by the residents in the home. Older “atmospheric” furnaces wasted 30% of the oil energy to keep the exhaust vents hot enough to release the emissions through the chimney. These furnaces released the emissions into the atmosphere but they were extremely energy inefficient. These furnaces will save energy which ultimately keeps the energy costs down. 

Furnaces have gone through a design revolution over time as the latter furnace models are designed to save energy keeping costs down and keeping the home environment safe from toxic fuel entering the inside of the home. Carbon Dioxide poisoning is less likely to occur with today’s newer furnaces. 

Newer “condensing” furnaces will recapture a lot of the heat that would otherwise escape through the chimney. This is done by the furnace cooling the exhaust gases to well below a certain amount of degrees turning the water vapor into water. The water is then reheated and the heat is used to heat the house once again. These types of new furnaces are known as high efficiency furnaces or boilers these are the primary benefits of these types of heating systems. These furnaces and boilers vent through a plastic pipe in the wall.  

New Heating Standards 

New Heating Furnace Standards

Thankfully, the standards for furnaces are being changed in 2016 because they have not been updated since 1987. The update is long overdue, to say the least. Various heating system controls control when the heat will turn off and on. From the point of the customer, the thermostat is the single most important control that the customer will operate to turn the heat on and off. You can control the temperature in the home by the thermostat which turns the distribution system on and off to keep the homeowner comfortable. Most typical forced air heating units will have just one thermostat and not multiple thermostats.

There are invisible controls inside the unit that will shut off the system if a problem occurs for safety reasons. One such control is a “high limit” control which is another safety control. 

The best furnaces today have efficiency levels of 90% which means when 100% of energy is forced into the furnace will deliver 90% of that energy. Which means only 10% of the heat will be lost. Combustion efficiency is the measuring unit of any type of heating system with a furnace. It is the unit’s efficiency while it runs. Combustion efficiency is like measuring the gallons per mile your car would get when it travels at 55 m.p.h. In the U.S. the furnace is measured by AFUE((Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) which includes estimating seasonal efficiency, average peak and load situations, start-up, cool down, and other operating losses that happen while the furnace is operating. It also estimates the amount of electricity used by the air handler, inducer fan, and controls. It can be compared to your car mileage between fill-ups this includes city and freeway driving. High AFUE means the furnace is running well. 


Boiler Heating System

The next heating system is the boiler system. The furnace delivers heat through warm air the boiler will deliver heat through hot water hence the name boiler. The hot water releases the heat as it passes through radiators distributed through the home. Do not touch the radiators as the hot water is passing through the units because you can burn yourself. Boilers are special purpose heaters because they transfer the hot water through the system. 

Once the water has passed through the house it is cooled and is reheated in the boiler to be sent through the house once again. Boiler heaters may be old-fashioned heating systems. In the U.S most homes will not contain boiler heaters. Boilers are called hydronic–denoting a cooling or heating system in which heat is transported using circulating water–heating systems. 

Steam Boilers     

Residential Steam Boilers

In this heating system, the steam carries the heat through the house through radiators and the steam condenses the water as it passes through the system. These systems are usually heated by natural gas or oil. These types of heating systems are rarely found in homes today. In days gone by this type of heating system was the dominant heating system and was found in many homes around the country. These types of heating systems could be high maintenance and expensive to be repaired. 

Note: It is highly advisable to keep your furnace filters clean and changed at whatever interval the furnace manufacturer recommends. If the filters are left unattended the dust could back up and eventually clog the system damaging the internal parts and the dust may bypass the filters and actually travel through the vents throughout the house. You could really end up with an expensive repair bill. All parts could be replaced if the dust accumulates and clogs them up.

If you suspect any problem with your heating system be sure you call a trained professional to work on it. Don’t try and repair the heating system especially if you are not trained to repair the system. They can be very dangerous to work on if you do not know what you are doing. Also, it could end up that you cause more damage to the furnace and a minor repair could turn into a very expensive repair. The worst case scenario could be you break the furnace and you have to buy a new one. Now, you are talking thousands of dollars to buy a new furnace. You get the point.

The boiler system uses a pump to circulate the heat through the water instead of using a duct system to transfer the heat. Boilers are very traditional systems as we have mentioned before. Key components in the boiler heating system are thermostats, aquastats, and valves which control water temperature and circulation. 

This brings us to a maintenance point for these systems. If the plastic tubing in the floors happen to deteriorate and water starts leaking inside the floor you could end up with all kinds of water damage under the floors and house. If the floors begin to warp and smell moldy and damp there is a very good chance you have water damage underneath the floors.  

The cost of installing “zone” thermostats for hydronic systems are expensive but they are much easier to install then thermostats for a forced air system. This may be true but still, boiler systems are not popular heating systems you will find in homes across the country. Some controls are standard equipment on boilers but you can have controls added to the system to save energy. If you have these controls added to the system the expense will be higher upfront. But in the long run, you will save money with cheaper monthly heating bills. The controls will pay off in no time. Plus the controls will help the system to run more efficiently.

Like furnaces condensing gas-fired are common in the U.S. but the steam and water boilers are not as common. Oil-fired condensing boilers are not common in the United States for several reasons connected to lower latent oil potential and for the potential for the latent oil to foul the conventional fuel oil.  

Heat Pumps

Photo by: deelyhouse.com

Are basically two-way air conditioners is the simplest way to put it. Air conditioners in the summer move hot air out of the home into the elements. Heat pumps move the cold air from outside and through electricity convert it to warm air in the home. Most air pumps are warm air forced delivery systems. There are two types of heat pump heating systems. The hot air is converted from the cold air and the heat sink converts the hot air into the cold. Ground-source air pumps– are also known as geothermal, GeoExchange, or GX–receive its heat from underground where the heat remains stable throughout the year. 

But ground-source air pumps are usually chosen by people who plan on staying in their homes for a long time because the heat is much more sustainable. These air pumps are much more efficient but they are more expensive to install and maintain. 

Remember, if you decide to buy an air-source heat pump you will have to invest more money and it will probably cost more to maintain and repair. But on the other hand, it will operate more efficiently because it extracts the heat from the ground and it will keep your heat more regulated the whole winter.

Air source heat pumps are installed like forced air furnaces but ground source heat pumps require a loop to be put into the ground in long trenches or vertical boreholes. It depends on the size of your lot, the experience of the installer, and the subsoil will determine the method of installation.

There are so many factors to consider when you decide which heating system to install and you can get estimates and talk to your local heating systems. It would benefit you to get estimates from different heating companies and see what the best estimate is.

You can get different packages from different companies and check out the companies history of serving other customers. Read the reviews written about the company. You can learn a lot about a company from the reviews written about the company. Also, ask a trained expert to come out and evaluate your particular situation and he or she can advise you on the best system for your household. 

Electricity is moved through the heat pump instead of generating within the system. This allows the heat pump to deliver more heat to the house than the furnace. The typical range is from 1.5 to 3.5. This is called the “steady-state” measure and is not exactly the same as the heating season performance factor–HSPF–a seasonal measure mandated for rating the heating efficiency of air-source heat pumps. Converting between the different measures is not a straightforward equation but just remember that ground-source air pumps are usually more efficient than air-source air pumps.

Gas-Fired Space Heaters 

Gas Fired  Space Heaters
Photo By: popularmechanics.com

In some areas of the United States, space heaters are very popular. They are all marked by their lack of ductwork and they put out relatively low levels of heat. If you need these heating systems to heat many rooms in the house the doors need to be left open. Or another healing method must be used. These space heaters really warm one room effectively and they are small heating systems. 

They are relatively inexpensive but if you decide to insert one in every room in your home you will run into some money buying several units. They are a relatively ineffective heating system in comparison to the other heating systems discussed here. 

These units are limited but they can provide adequate heating in cabins or buildings where the rooms may have great temperature differences but it does not matter in the building. These models can be fired with kerosene, gas, or propane so be careful using these fuel sources because they are highly inflammable.

Electric Space Heaters 

Electric Space Heaters

They convert electricity taken from the wall plug and convert it into heat but if the unit breaks down it will be costly to repair. The parts for these units can run some money especially if they are key component parts. 

The units hopefully will not break down a lot because after a while you might as well buy a new unit. If it ever reaches the point you have spent more money on repairs than the unit is worth–buy a new one. 

Central heating

Conclusion: We have discussed several heating systems in this article that have many different characteristics that control their operating methods and it depends on the type of climate you live in and what your particular heating requirements are. Certainly one of these heating systems will meet your needs. They will vary in price range as far as purchasing them goes and the repair costs will be more expensive for some heating units as opposed to other heating systems. They will fit into any budget.  

Look into the type of topsoil or type of climate you live in if you are considering one of the floor air pumps. They are more efficient than the other type of air pumps but they are more expensive to have installed. These types of air pumps really should only be purchased if you plan on staying in your home for a long time.

Keep in mind if you purchase one of the smaller floor units they will not heat all the rooms in the house and you will have to buy several to put into every room and this will increase your installation costs dramatically increase. And the obvious difference between gas and boiler heating systems is the furnace will run on fuels and the boilers will run on heated water. The systems are vastly different but they both achieve the ultimate goal to heat the entire house and keep it at a comfortable temperature.