There are a few different heating types and the advances over time have made them much more effective and efficient.  

Let us start with good old wood stove heat.  If you have ever got in from outside and had a fire going you just feel it in your bones and it warms you very quickly.  An open wood stove doesn’t push the heat around as a sealed unit will.  Normally they will have a damper that will adjust the air ratio to burn faster or slower and must be vented outside of course. 

If you have a sealed unit they must be wett certified which means it meets the regulations of the manufacture so it doesn’t start a fire.  A woodstove sealed or open doesn’t push the heat around like other sources, but you can put a heat-regulated fan on top, giving it a bit more distance on heating.

Baseboard heat is the cheapest to install as most of the heaters are only about $20 apiece.  They normally have a thermostat on the wall by the light but sometimes will have a small turn dial on the end of the heater itself to regulate the heat.  The great thing about baseboard heat is that you can regulate the heat per room.  If you don’t need the heat on in the bedrooms you leave them off costing you nothing and just turn the heat on for the rooms as you need it.  

There are a few problems with baseboard heat.  The main one being that there is no airflow and you get stagnant air in your house which may cause other issues.  The other issue is that baseboard heating is more expensive as hydro increases and will also take a bit more breakers in your panel and could be an issue if you have a smaller panel.  

Forced air heating sources mean exactly what it says, heat that is forced through pipes throughout the house.  

Oil forced air is the oldest type normally we are seeing around and the most expensive to run. If you have an oil system make sure you have it checked out because it more than likely is nearing its end of optimal function.

Electric forced air and gas forced air work the same but with the gas pricing now it is a bit cheaper to run the gas forced air.  With the gas forced units, it is easy to tell if they are a high-efficiency unit by a PVC or white or grey plastic pipe running out of its top.  

Heat pumps can be attached to any forced air units as they work through the ductwork systems.  You must have the original system as a backup in case the system needs help normally due to too cold outside.  The systems are much better and work well below 0 but start needing help around -5 which hopefully we don’t see very often.  A heat pump is great as it will give you air conditioning as well.  

If your home doesn’t have ducting and maybe just has baseboard heat you can get a ductless heat pump which is a box unit outside and then a large rectangular box or fan unit on your wall.  They need an open space to push the heat, making it not as effective but a great alternative.

Forced air units give you the air circulation that your house needs.  Air movement will keep the moisture off the windows and that stagnant air smell you can sometimes get in your house.  

I hope this helps explain a bit more about the different heating sources that can be found in your home and when you are looking.  It's always an option to upgrade and if you have an older forced air system the best option is to add a heat pump to take the stress off of the older system.  There is always a solution to every problem.


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