As Autumn settles in across the United States, most people are turning on their heating system to combat the chill in the weather. Hopefully, your home has a heating system that works well for you. If you’re thinking about upgrading your heating system, however, you may want to consider the advantages and disadvantages that different types of heating systems have to offer. To help you make an informed decision Air National, a heating and cooling company operating in Southwest Texas, has provided this list of the Pros and Cons of Heating Systems.
Pros and Cons of Electric Heating Systems
- Simple and Reliable – When it comes to heating systems, you don’t get much more simple than electric. Their simple design helps them be very reliable and easy to use.
- Easy Installation – Because there is no need for external ventilation for hazardous emissions, most electrical heating systems can be installed relatively easily.
- Lower Maintenance – The simplicity of these heating systems means that they are relatively low maintenance, especially compared to any type of combustion heating.
- No Dangerous Emissions or Byproducts – There are no harmful gasses, smoke, or soot to worry about.
- High Running Cost and Expensive Repairs – These systems can be quite expensive to run, especially in a larger home. The cost of repairs can also be higher than for other heating systems.
- Power Outages Mean No Heat – Not surprisingly, electric heat doesn’t work when there’s no power. If you live in an area that is prone to blackouts or very low temperatures, electric heat may not be right for you.
- Inefficient at Heating Large Spaces – While electric furnaces are typically more efficient than gas alternatives, they may struggle to heat large areas evenly.
- Struggle in Extreme Low Temperatures – Electric heat has a hard time compensating in frigid weather conditions. Keep this in mind if you live in a particularly cold area of the country.
Pros and Cons of Gas Heating Systems
- Easy Thermostat Control – Like electric heat, you can generally use a thermostat to choose your temperature. However, you also need to keep one or more pilot lights lit any time of the year when the system may be in use.
- Energy Efficient – Gas furnaces often operate with an efficiency rating between 70% and 95% depending on how the system is set up.
- Lower Cost to Run Than Electric – Natural gas tends to cost less than electrical power, which can really help you save some money through the cold months.
- Not Always Available – Natural gas is not available in all areas. Many people in outlying areas use propane instead, but that means regular resupply deliveries must be arranged.
- Expensive and Disruptive Initial Installation – Because of how the system must be set up, a new installation for gas heating can be complicated and very expensive.
- Hazardous Gases Require Ventilation – Gas heating, by its very nature, uses and releases hazardous gases that require special exterior ventilation to be in place.
- Possibility of Gas or Emission Leaks – There is a small but very real possibility of fuel or waste emissions leaking from your heating system into your home.
- More Frequent and Expensive Maintenance – Because gas systems are combustion systems, they require maintenance more often than electric systems and that maintenance can be expensive.
Pros and Cons of Wood Burning Heating Systems
- Fuel is Widely Available – Easy availability mean you don’t have to worry about whether or not fuel will be available.
- Lower Fuel Costs Than Gas – Wood tends to be less costly than gas or propane.
- Fuel Prices are Relatively Stable – Because supply and demand tend to remain pretty constant, wood prices tend to be pretty steady.
- Provides Opportunities to Use Locally Sourced Fuel – You can often buy your wood locally, helping stimulate your local economy.
- Hazardous Gases Require Ventilation – Like gas furnaces, wood heating systems require good ventilation to make sure that hazardous gas emissions don’t remain in your home.
- Soot Accumulation Can Become Dangerous – Soot, tar, and other fire byproducts build up inside your chimney and create a flammable buildup called creosote that must be removed periodically.
- Need Lots of Space for Fuel Storage – Wood supplies take up a lot of room, and many people aren’t able to store a good supply.
- Ash Disposal Can be Problematic – Disposing of ash correctly can be time consuming or expensive.
- Wet or “Green” Wood Causes Inefficient Heating – The efficiency of your heating system depends on both the quality and condition of wood you’re burning. Properly cured wood is very efficient, but the amount of water contained in wet or “green” wood slows combustion and lowers heating efficiency.
Hopefully this list of pros and cons of heating systems will help you make a decision on what kind of heating system is right for you.