Forced air, steam, and hot water are three types of heating systems used in most American homes. All three systems feature some of the same basic parts: a centralized source for heat, conduits that move heat through the house, and appliances that transfer the heat into the rooms of your home. But other systems may not be as common for Savannah, Georgia, homeowners. Find out whether radiant-floor, solar heating, or geothermal heating make financial sense for homeowners seeking a comfortable and energy-efficient home.
With radiant-floor heating, heat gets pumped through a system of channels or pipes usually installed under flooring. The heat can be supplied by water, hydronic heat, or electricity. Most homeowners who use this form of heating choose water because it’s more affordable.
Radiant-floor heating can have many advantages over traditional forced-air heating systems:
If you choose to install an electric radiant floor, you won’t have to worry about frequent maintenance. If the heat turns off, you contact the manufacturer who can walk you through some troubleshooting. The problem may lie with the power supply, in which case an electrician can help correct the problem. Alternatively, if something malfunctions with the heating under the floor, the manufacturer can refer you to an HVAC services professional that specializes in radiant-floor heating systems.
If you opt for a hydronic radiant floor, you’ll need to maintain the source of the hydronic heat, generally a boiler. You also don’t want to drill into floors or ceilings as you can puncture pipes and cause leaks to occur. If a leak develops, you’ll need to contact a plumbing and heating professional that specializes in hydronic heating.
Before you consider radiant-floor heating, consider the following:
According to HomeAdvisor Inc. figures, installations for electric radiant-floor heating systems average about $8 per square foot minimum and about $6 per square foot minimum for hydronic systems.
This type of heating system uses the sun’s energy to heat water, create electricity, or heat a house. Some utility providers offer credits to homeowners who install solar heating systems in their homes.
Leveraging the sun’s power occurs in three ways:
Before you consider installing a mechanical solar-heating system to complement an HVAC system upgrade in your home, make sure you check with local building codes in your area. Some restrictions may apply. Also check with your utility provider to verify whether you can qualify for credits on your home heating bill if you install this type of system in your home.
According to figures from EnergySage, in 2017, homeowners can expect to spend between $2.87 and $3.85 per watt to install solar panels, with the average cost (before tax credits) being about $16,800. Assuming the U.S. average system size is about 5 kW (about 5,000 watts), EnergySage estimates the cost range after tax credits to be about $10,045 to $13,475.
Outdoor air temperatures change regularly from season to season. But about 4 to 6 feet down below the earth’s surface, temperatures remain consistent throughout the year. Geothermal HVAC systems take advantage of these consistent temperatures to heat and cool a home.
A geothermal heating system generally has an indoor unit and a piping system buried underground, often referred to as an earth loop. During the winter months, fluid moving through the earth loop absorbs heat stored in the ground and transfers that heat indoors. An indoor unit takes this heat and shifts it to higher temperatures, distributing that heat throughout a home. During the summer, a geothermal HVAC system transfers heat from the home and carries the heat through the earth loop where it releases the heat back into the earth.
Unlike traditional home HVAC systems, geothermal HVAC systems don’t use fossil fuels to produce heat. The system simply transfers heat back and forth from earth to home. Electricity is generally used to power the system’s fan, pump, and compressor.
Geothermal HVAC systems offer several advantages for homeowners:
Before you consider installing a geothermal HVAC system in your home, consider the following:
According to Energy Environmental, paybacks for homeowners with geothermal heating systems typically range from between two to 10 years, with the lifetime of a geothermal system averaging about 18 to 23 years. Over time, a geothermal system can reduce utility bills by 40 to 60 percent.
Before deciding whether to install an alternative heating system in your home, consider all of your costs carefully. Focus not only on the savings on your monthly utility bills, but also on the up-front costs for installation. For expert information, turn to one of our home HVAC service specialists at Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning. With more than 30 years of experience, our team can help provide you with the information you need to create a comfortable home. Call us at 912-373-8447.
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