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Different types of heating systems: explained

furnace maintenance east alton il

What type of heating system do you have?

Replacing an existing heating system provides homeowners with the opportunity to choose an energy efficient upgrade. Often, older homes have been equipped with hot water boilers or forced air systems powered by propane, fuel oil, or gas. Many new home builders are turning to heat pumps and geothermal heating due to their higher efficiency rating. The heating contractors at B & W Heating and Cooling in East Alton, IL can help you determine which type of furnace will work best for your needs. When discussing options with a heating contractor, it helps to understand the different types of furnaces that are available and how they heat your home. These include:
  • Geothermal heating
  • Forced air
  • Boilers with radiators, baseboard, or floorboard radiant heat

Geothermal Heating

geothermal systems east alton il Geothermal heating operates by running tubes of water through boreholes to absorb heat from under the ground in the winter and to cool the circulating water during the summer. This is a year-round, ground-based system, that delivers heat and air conditioning in one unit. The geothermal heating system passes water through a heat exchanger in much the same manner as an air-based heat pump. Although the initial installation cost is typically higher than a traditional furnace, a geothermal heating system is substantially more economical long-term and may make your home more desirable to buyers if you choose to sell in the future.

Forced Air

forced air systems east alton il A forced air furnace may operate using gas, propane, fuel oil, or even electricity. These furnaces have been the standard in many homes for decades. An expert heating contractor may recommend adding more ductwork or replacing existing ductwork with insulation when upgrading to a more energy-efficient model. Essentially these units work by burning whichever source of fuel you choose and blowing the heat through the home using a blower. The higher the efficiency rating, the lower your operating cost. An advantage of forced air furnaces is that the homeowner can treat the air by passing it through filters, humidifiers, or dehumidifiers before sending it through the ductwork and registers. Registers can be partially closed to reduce the amount of heat or air conditioning entering a room without affecting the others.


radiators and boilers east alton il Boilers heat water which is then passed through steam radiators, baseboards, or even under the floor to create radiant heat. Boilers can be fueled by fuel oil, propane, natural gas, or electricity. They evenly heat the space; however, the pipes do not work for delivering air conditioning so additional ductwork will be needed. To learn more about the best option for your East Alton, IL home, please call B & W Heating & Cooling today. Our experts can provide information to help you find the best solution for your needs.