Winters in Northbrook, Illinois are no joke, and when it gets really cold, the last thing you want to worry about is your heating system. Options for heating your home have changed and improved over the years. With an understanding of the different heating systems available, you can make the best choice for your home. Before you choose a new heating system to keep you warm and toasty this winter, make sure you understand all of the options you have available from heat pumps to radiant floor heating.

Standard Heat Pump

Traditional heat pumps are an efficient option in climates that don’t experience weather extremes. Heat pumps extract warmth from the outdoor air and use it to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Modern heat pumps can now work very well in cold regions. They are efficient alternatives to basic air conditioning systems and double as heaters as well.

Gas and Oil Furnaces

When the temperature dips below the thermostat setting, your thermostat sends an electrical signal to a relay. When this happens, a valve opens in your furnace and delivers fuel to the furnace. In an oil furnace, the oil has to be converted to mist first and then sprayed through something called a blast tube. Once the fuel is delivered, whether gas or oil, it is ignited by the pilot light or other ignition switch which lights the burners in the furnace’s combustion chamber. Heat gathers in the exchanger which is a metal chamber where the warm air moves and flows. Once the air gets to the right temperature, it is moved through the furnace system and out into different rooms through the ductwork.

Gas and Oil Boilers

Like furnaces, there are few differences between oil and gas boilers other than the fuel used. Once the boiler receives the signal that it’s time to send out warm air, it mixes either gas or oil with oxygen and using an ignition, lights up the fuel, causing combustion of the fuel. This combustion creates heat that is then sent to the water within the boiler itself. Once the boiler heats the water to the right temperature, the water is pumped out through pipes in your home and brought to hot water coils to generate warm air. If you have a steam boiler, the process is much the same except that steam, instead of water, flows through the pipes without the need for a pump to get it from high-pressure to low-pressure areas.

In-Floor Radiant Heat

With in-floor radiant heat, heat comes through the floor instead of the air around you. There are three types of radiant heat: air, electric, and hydronic. Air radiant heat isn’t very efficient and can be very expensive. The electric radiant system uses cables built into the floor, or plastic mats that are electrically conductive added to the subfloor below tile or other hard flooring. This type is most cost effective when you can mount it under a thick concrete floor. If your floor is thick enough, it will store enough heat to keep your home warm for up to ten hours.

The most popular system is the hydronic radiant system. It uses water that is heated in a boiler and pumped through tubes installed in a pattern under your floor. Some systems are sophisticated enough to allow for zoning control. This lets you use your thermostat to control the temperature in different rooms.

Radiant heating connects to your existing boiler or to your baseboard heating. We can install floor systems under any type of hard floor – tile, vinyl, hardwood, or concrete. Panels can also be installed in your walls or ceiling. If you are interested in making the switch, we will work with you to find the best radiant heating system for your home and your needs.

The best heating choice for your home is based on your budget, your home design, and your current system. When you are ready to discuss your heating options and what system you need, contact Roberts Heating and Air Conditioning at 847-272-5836. Don’t stick with an inefficient, poorly functioning heating system through one more winter. Upgrade to something new for the right temperatures during the cold winter months.

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