It is important for you to understand the environmental impact and payback of your investment when choosing a heating system for your home.
Types of heating systems
As the warmed air is pumped into the room, it is mixed with the cooler existing air until the desired room temperature is achieved. At the same time as warmed air is being pumped into a room, some of the older, cooler air in the room is pushed into the return air ductwork to be reheated and recycled through the home. Learn more about forced air furnaces.
The baseboard radiator or floor conducts heat from the heated fluid. This heat is transferred via radiation to the rooms' objects. As cooler air comes in contact with warm objects (including the radiator), it warms and rises, creating a convective loop, mixing to the desired temperature. Learn more about natural gas boilers.
Heat naturally flows from warm to cool zones. A heat pump is a machine that reverses this, taking heat from a cooler area and pumping it to warmer zone. Heat pumps require electricity to operate, and in Minnesota 60 percent of the electricity is produced by coal. Learn more about gas and electric system efficiency.
Ground source (geothermal) heat pump
The term geothermal is sometimes used to describe a ground source heat pump system. However, a geothermal heat pump is actually a system that taps into really hot areas (hundreds of degrees) beneath the earth for district heating or electric generation. Areas of the world with geysers and active volcanoes, such as Iceland, utilize geothermal energy.
In this region, a ground source heat pump typically requires a supplemental heating system for below zero temperatures and later in the heating season when the latent heat in the ground has been exhausted. Get the facts on geothermal heat pumps vs. a high-efficiency natural gas furnace.
In addition, the payback on a ground source heat pump can exceed 25 years. Calculate for yourself with our geothermal calculator.
Air source heat pump (hybrid)
When temperatures are about 35 degrees or colder, an air source heat pump cannot deliver enough heat to the home and another heating system will be needed. In the summer, an air source heat pump operates just as an air conditioner does, taking heat from the home and pumping it outside. Learn more about air source heat pumps vs. a high-efficiency natural gas furnace.
Electric resistance heating