Keeping Your AC System Cleaner

Fired, Forced, Or Boiled: Which Common Heating System Is Best For Your Home?

by Yolanda White

Heat is a basic need in your home; you need a way to stay warm when the winter temps drop. Modern advancements make it so there's a wide array of heating choices available to you on the market. Each different method of home heating has different advantages. Here are some of the more common heating systems and what specific benefits each one offers. 


Boilers are common in some older historic homes. You might have seen radiators tucked in the corner. However, modern homes can still use this heating type. It's more costly to install and certainly not as common as forced air heating with a furnace, but a boiler does offer more even heating, which is why many older homes still use this method. Since the boiler doesn't rely on blowing air, you won't feel as drafty or have to worry about dust and allergens being cycled through the house. If you have allergies or breathing sensitivities, a boiler is a great heating system to consider. Also, even though the initial start-up cost for boiler system does cost more, boilers use less electricity to run over time, so they can save you on your utility bill. 

Forced Air

Forced air heating is probably what you're most used to. The furnace heats air and then the fan blows the warm air through the ducts of your house as needed. This modern centralized heating system allows for more open concept home designs with less cost for installation. Forced air also pairs nicely with air conditioning systems, since the same duct work can be used for both. Boiler heating would need a completely separate system for air conditioning. To save on utilities, see if you can get a gas furnace over an electric one, since natural gas often costs less than other heat sources. Some furnaces can also run on propane or heating oil which can vary in cost depending in where you live.

Forced air has some disadvantages. It can dry out the air inside, which means you should consider a humidifier during the colder months, and it can have trouble penetrating a larger room if the system is poorly planned. 

Wood Stoves and Other Burners

Possibly the oldest source of heat is a wood fire. Many people use wood stoves to supplement their other heat source, but could you actually have a full-on wood-heated system? In a way, you can. One of the downsides of wood is that it's hard to control temperature in a wood stove, so you have periods of intense heat followed by cold when the fires dies down. Hybrid wood burners, however, rely on wood as the primary fuel and then use a supplementary fuel (usually gas, oil, or electricity) to maintain interior temps should the fire go out. These hybrid systems are money savers when you have a plentiful supply of cheap firewood, and they can also be set to a thermostat to help make temperature regulation easier. 

If you don't want to shell out the dollars for a modern wood furnace, you may consider coal (some homes still do have coal burners), or you could simply install a simple wood stove into your home to take the edge off other bills. Wood stoves are best at heating open spaces where the heat can radiate out to fill most of the living space. For open concept homes, the stove should be as centralized possible. To heat rooms, keep interior doors open and install a few fans to move air around the house so the hot zone near the stove isn't too warm while the other areas are chilly. 

Heating your home in this day and age means you have many options beyond a basic furnace. Talk to a local HVAC company, such as Henry's Service All, about your heating needs.