Most homeowners rely on forced air heating units to heat their homes during the colder months, but there are several other options available. Listed below are our top picks for alternative heating options.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
For new construction, geothermal heating is an excellent choice. Geothermal heating works by utilizing the heat from the ground, which maintains a steady temperature between 45 to 75 ºF. Large coils of tubes are placed into the ground, and the tubes circulate water that heats up from the Earth’s temperature. The extracted heat from the water is then used to heat your home.
During cooler months the ground temperature itself can be much warmer than the outside air. Due to the ground already starting at a warmer temperature, it is much easier and more efficient for the system to reach the typical 70 ºF Temperature on your home’s thermostat. During warmer months, the system can also efficiently cool your home by using the earth as a heat sink, rather than a heat source. The initial investment of a geothermal heating system can be pretty substantial, but since this type of heating uses less energy, it can save you big money in the long run.
Pellet or Wood Burning Stoves
Depending on the size of your home, pellet or wood burning stoves can be a sensible choice for heating. You’ll need to purchase a stove that is appropriately sized to your home; otherwise, you’ll either be wasting energy, or your unit won’t big big enough to adequately heat your space. High efficiency models are now available which use less energy overall.
Both pellet stoves and wood burning stoves have their own pros and cons. For example, a pellet stove in general has fewer particle emissions, but may require electricity, making it vulnerable in times when the power goes out. Wood burning stoves, on the other hand, can be used without reliance on electricity, but you’ll need more wood than pellets to generate the same amount of heat.
Before considering having a wood or pellet stove installed, you’ll want to contact your local environmental office or codes department to find out the restrictions for wood burning or pellet stoves.
Solar Water Heating Systems
When looking for alternative heating options for your home, solar water heating is often a good choice. These types of heating systems utilize the sun’s energy and are available in a wide variety of designs. These variations are usually regarding the type of energy collector and circulation system the the heaters have. Options include:
- Flat plate-collectors, usually made from copper tubing fitted to collecting plates
- Batch-collectors, (or Integrated Collector Storage Systems) which both heat and store water in tanks and are not recommended for cold climates
- Evacuated tube-collectors, which is the most efficient method of solar water heating as it is constructed in the same manner as a thermos, and therefore loses very little heat
If you’re in the market for an alternative to a forced air HVAC system, give us a call and learn how our services can help you with your heating needs.