There are 7 methods you can use to heat your home or portions of your home. We’re going to go through each one.

As you’ll see, some are more efficient than others.
  • Boiler
  • Furnace
  • Heat pump
  • Fireplace
  • Space heaters
  • Space furnaces
  • Stoves (pellet or wood)

Home heating system


Boiler and radiator systems provide heat quietly. In fact, of all the ways you can use to heat your home, boilers are the quietest.

The boiler, typically powered by natural gas, heats water or in some cases turns the water to steam. That steam or hot water then moves through pipes into each room of a house, where it is radiated outward by baseboard radiators, radiant floor systems, or even cast-iron radiators (in older homes). Boilers are a sealed system – the water is turned into steam which eventually cools and condenses back into water which is converted into steam again.


Most homes in the US use energy-efficient furnaces, powered by electricity, gas, or oil. The air within the furnace is heated and then blown outward via fans into ductwork throughout the house, emerging into rooms via vents in the baseboards. It’s this hot air that heats the room, in contrast to radiant heating, which warms the objects in a room.

Heat pump

There are two types of heat pumps – air-source and geothermal source.

A furnace heats air and blows this hot air throughout a home. An air-source heat pump, on the other hand, moves heat rather than creating heat. A heat pump consists of two units – an outdoor unit that is the heat pump, which draws warm air in during winter, and an air handler inside the house, which brings warm air out in summer.

A geothermal-source pump captures heat from the soil outside your home or from a nearby body of water, using what’s called a loop system of pipes to bring the heat indoors.

Heat pumps are typically only used in regions with mild winter climates and single-floor homes.

Individual room heating


Older homes will have fireplaces that burn wood. Properly used and cared for, these fireplaces provide heat and can create a soothing ambiance.

Most of today’s new home buyers want fireplaces, but they are typically gas-powered. They don’t want the inconvenience of having to haul in wood and haul out ashes on a regular basis.

Fireplaces are ideal for warming a single room.

Space heater(s)

Space heaters, either electricity- or gas-powered, are also used to warm single rooms.

The advantage of space heaters is that they are portable. If some inhabitants of a home are more sensitive to cold than others, a space heater can be used to warm their room, without having to increase the thermostat for the entire house.

Space heaters can operate either by convection (heating air) or radiant heating (heating objects).

Space furnaces

There are a few types of furnaces in the space heating category. These include floor furnaces (inset into your floors), wall furnaces (inset into a wall), and pipeless furnaces. A pipeless furnace is used only in homes with a basement. The furnace is installed there, and it provides heat to the room or hallway above it.

Stove – wood or pellet

Wood and pellet stoves are other forms of space heaters.

Pellet stoves are gaining popularity. Pellets are made of waste matter from wood such as sawdust. The pellets are poured into a hopper, where they are fed as needed into the stove itself.

Pellet stoves come in many different exterior designs and can look quite attractive, suitable even for a living room.

Wood stoves operate on the same principle as a pellet stove, but actual wood is used. A wood stove can even take the place of a fireplace in one’s living room if so desired. Designs can look quite elegant as well.

The drawback with both wood and pellet stoves is that they require constant replenishment. Pellets are relatively inexpensive but they, or wood, must be purchased and stored somewhere for quick access throughout the winter months.

When deciding on a heating system for your house, the best thing to do is to consult an HVAC expert to learn about all the options – all the pluses and minuses, as it were, to ensure that you have the best home heating system for your particular home.

Furnace not working in Denver?

If your furnace is not heating as it should, don’t hesitate – call the N.A.T.E. certified experts at Summit Heating & A/C today. We will inspect your unit and walk you through your options to ensure you make the best possible decision based on your budget and needs.

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