Many regions, specifically the one’s that experience cold seasons, requires heating systems at home. Most of the houses in non-tropical places such as the state of Canada have home heating systems, this is to isolate and control warm temperature inside houses during winter or cold seasons. Putting up heating systems at home requires energy and therefore money. A house heating system works hand in hand with the home insulation. Regardless of the system chosen, a poorly insulated home will be hard to heat. So a better insulated home, the smaller heating system that is required. Efficiency of a heating system is also therefore an important matter.
There are three main types of heating systems, having different and various efficiencies; combustion, electric resistance and heat pumps. Combustion involves burning of oil, wood, natural gas or propane. Heat is delivered throughout the house, which is called central heating, with pipes or ducts or emitted form a direct source, which can be a fireplace or a stove. Heat is lost as it exits through the chimney, and is therefore less than 100% efficient. Oil combustion system is around 85% efficient, and wood combustion systems are 55% to 75% efficient. Gas combustion systems are the most efficient with efficiencies over 90%. Two most common types of electric resistance are electric base board heaters (space heating) and electric boilers (hot water central heat). One unit of electricity will result in the equivalent amount of heat released, therefore electric resistance heating system is considered to be 100% efficient. However, in Atlantic Canada, electricity production is principally based on fossil fuels, making electric heat to some extent an environmental concern. On the other hand heat pumps do not create heat directly. The process is to extract heat from an outside source using refrigeration cycle, and deliver it inside the house. The two sources of heat pumps are ambient air and the ground source. Between the three types of heating systems, heat pumps are more efficient than combustion and electric resistance with efficiencies ranging from 300% (air source) to 500% (ground source).