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How Does a Central Heating System Work in a House?

Central heating is one of the most tried-and-true methods of keeping your home at a comfortable temperature when it gets to be a little chilly outside. Most houses still utilize this method of heating, which has been in use since before the Second World War. Despite its ubiquitousness, however, many people still don’t completely understand how a central heating system works in a house. While it’s not necessarily complicated, it’s also not as simple as it might seem at first glance.

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How the Heat Is Generated?

The first step, of course, is to generate the heat that will be circulated throughout the home. There are many methods of doing so, each with its own advantages and drawbacks.

Gas Heat

Gas heating is extremely common in millions of homes all over the country. For this, propane and natural gas are the most common fuel sources. The benefit of a gas-powered furnace is that it heats up very quickly and burns very hot. Even the coldest parts of the country are no match for the toasty temperatures generated by a gas furnace.

The major drawback for a gas furnace is access; if your home doesn’t already have a gas main hooked up to it, it can be prohibitively expensive to have one added. Still, it may be your best option if you live somewhere where the temperature regularly becomes very cold.

Electric Heat

Another popular option for generating heat is electricity. This has the benefit of being much more easily accessible than other methods. Because it doesn’t require burning anything to use, it also is safer than other methods.
Electricity, however, does take longer to achieve your desired temperature, and electric heating coils can struggle against temperature extremes. A power failure can also leave you without any heat for your home.

nowstorms and other inclement weather can cause these power failures, meaning you could lose your heating just when you need it most.

Other Combustible Fuels

You can also opt to install a furnace that utilizes another combustible fuel. Coal, wood, and oil are all regularly burned to keep houses warm. Each of these will certainly get the job done, but how practical they are depends upon where you live and the prices in your area. If you happen to live somewhere where it’s difficult to get coal, for example, then a coal furnace might not be your best option.

Alternative Heat Options

Finally, there are more modern, technologically advanced methods of generating heat for your home. Solar heating has really taken off in recent years. By storing the energy generated naturally by the sun, you can save a great deal on your energy bill.

Another method that has come into vogue in recent years is the heat pump. By using refrigeration coils similar to what is in your air conditioner or refrigerator, a heat pump can utilize the ambient heat energy outside your home to achieve your desired temperature.

Both solar heating and heat pumps can save you a lot of money on your energy bill, however, installation can be very costly because the technology is still relatively new.

How It’s Circulated Through Your Home?

The key word in central heating is the word “central.” Unlike other methods, such as space heaters, which only generate heat for individual rooms, a central heating system is installed in a single location—either inside or outside of the house—and then used to generate heat, which warms the air that is then transferred to every room in the home.

How the heated air is transferred from place to place can vary depending upon what type of system you have. The most common is the forced-air method. This method utilizes a blower motor to blast heated air through a system of ducts in your home.

Another method that’s sometimes still used is the gravity furnace. A gravity furnace generates heat in a lower area of the home, such as a basement. Because hot air rises, the heated air will then naturally make its way from the basement toward the attic of the house. Through a system of ductwork, the heated air will find its way into every room as it rises upward.

While gravity furnaces have their advantages—they don’t require any expensive mechanical components and thus are less likely to break down—they aren’t very efficient overall. As a result, you’ll have to generate a lot of hot air to get your home to a comfortable temperature. This means a very high energy bill.

How To Figure Out the Best Way to Heat Your Home

Understanding how a central heating system works in a house is a big part of choosing the best heating method for your home. It will help you to decide which method is the most efficient and will save you the most money in the long run. To ensure that you’re making the best financial decisions with regard to your home heating and cooling, try to find an HVAC contractor who understands your specific needs and is able to work with you to find the perfect heating method for your home. Entek HVAC is a great example of a company that works hard to make sure their customers have the best and most efficient heating methods for their area.

The professional staff at a company like Entek will also help to ensure your heating system stays in good working order. They’ll be able to perform regular inspections to prevent any catastrophic failures and regular diagnostics on your thermostat, blower motor, and other mechanical parts. They will ensure that your flue isn’t blocked to make sure your family stays safe while your heater runs. A quality company will also keep your ducts clean and regularly replace your filters to keep air circulating perfectly. This will not only save you money on your energy bill, it will contribute to a clean and healthy home.


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