Home / Heat Pump Blog / Industry Blog / Industry Blog / Types of Heating Systems You Should Know

Types of Heating Systems You Should Know

Views: 55     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-11-30      Origin: Site

When winter chill sets in, there is nothing you will desire more than a warm atmosphere. Heating systems play this role by harnessing thermal energy from a fuel source like electricity, wood, or gas and channeling it to every part of the house. There are various types of heating systems, each of them sharing the same goal, which is to “transfer heat to living spaces for maintenance of a comfortable environment.”

SPRSUN heat pump for home heating

Source: SPRSUN

In this post, we will discuss the most common types of home heating systems to enable you to choose the one that’s best for your home.

12 Types of Home Heating Systems

There are different types of home heating systems that are recommended for home settings. Each of them have their unique features, pros, and cons. Let’s break them down to help you find the best fit for your home.

1. Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are the newest types of heating and cooling systems and they are becoming an increasingly popular option for homeowners. It has a similar working principle as air conditioners, hence why there is often a debate about air conditioner vs heat pump.

Air to Water Heat Pump

Source: SPRSUN

In a residential setting, an air source heat pump is usually used. It works by capturing heat from the outdoor air into the home using a refrigerant. In the summer, it does the reverse. There are also geothermal or ground source heat pumps that generate heat from the ground.


  • Offers both heating and cooling solutions

  • Energy-efficient and generally cheaper to run

  • Does not require natural gas

  • Consistent heating performance

  • Reduced environmental impact, making it preferable to furnace, wood burning, burning coal mines, etc

  • Enhanced control and safety features, such as remote control, defrosting system, minimal noise, etc

  • Government offers mouthwatering incentives and grants to individuals who buy heat pump


  • Does not deliver sufficient heat if in an environment below -30 degrees Celsius

  • High upfront installation cost

2. Furnaces

Furnace is also referred to as a “forced air heating system.” It works by burning a fuel source (which could be natural gas, propane, oil, or electricity) to generate heat into the air. The hot air is distributed with a blower fan throughout the home via ducts and vents.

 Forced Air Vent

Furnaces are available in various types and efficiencies, so it’s essential to select one that can achieve your specific needs. The efficiency of a furnace is regulated by AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) and the higher the AFUE, the more efficient the furnace.


  • Requires little to no maintenance compared to other types of heating process

  • Uses ductwork that can be linked with an air conditioner

  • More affordable because of reduced fuel costs and enhanced energy efficiency


  • Potential risk of fire explosion and carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Can transfer allergens to the house through the fans and ductwork

3. Boilers

These home heating types are hot water systems, involving the heating of water in a central boiler, using natural gas, biodiesel blends, fuel oil, propane, or electricity. The heated water is circulated via a network of pipes to the radiator units that are professionally fixed around your home. Then, the steam from the water is released at the radiators and dispensed around the house.

Central Boiler Unit

When the steam from the water is exhausted, the water goes back to the boiler for reheating. This process continues until your home gets to the desired temperature. Boilers are commonly seen in older homes and apartments.


  • Best for zoned heating

  • Requires little to no maintenance since they have no filter

  • Circulates heat evenly across the home


  • May experience pipe leakage

  • Cannot be combined with air conditioning system

4. In-Floor Radiant Heating

These types of home heating systems can be electric or hydronic. They function by using thermal radiation and electromagnetic waves. Instead of heating the air like other types of heating process, this system directly heats the floor. It involves installing electric wires or water-filled tubes strategically under the floor.

In-Floor Heating System

The feeling of in-floor radiant heating can be likened to leaving your bed on a cold morning and feeling a warm floorboard underneath your feet.


  • Very discreet and silent

  • Can be powered with solar

  • No room for distribution of allergens like forced air systems


  • Requires change of floor during installation

  • Higher upfront cost compared to other types of home heating systems

5. Wood Heating

This is the best option for people who are looking for cost-effective ways to keep their homes comfortable during winter. Wood is cheaper than other fuel sources and can be obtained easily depending on where you live.

Indoor Wood Heating

However, because of the pollutants associated with wood burning, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted laws to reduce smoke emissions from wood heating. This led to the invention of wood heater technologies like pellet stoves, which use compressed pellets made from wood or other organic material.


  • More environmentally friendly than fossil fuel

  • Very cheap

  • Easy to get depending on where you live


  • Can’t efficiently transfer heat from room to room

  • Can result to fire outbreak if not properly setup

6. Active Solar Heating

This is a more modern home heater that uses solar energy. It collects energy from the sun to heat a fluid (which could be liquid or air) then transfer the heat directly into the living space. The heat can also be transferred to a storage system for later use.

Residential Solar Heating

Unfortunately, active solar heating system relies on other heaters like boilers, heat pumps, and radiant heating systems to be 100% efficient. This mostly happens during extremely cold weather when there is not enough sun for solar energy.


  • A very eco-friendly way to heat your home

  • Help save on utility bills

  • Increases your home’s value


  • High initial cost

  • Requires backup heating system

7. Gravity Air Furnace

Also referred to as “Octopus Furnace,” this heating system is the modern version of the traditional furnace heating process. Unlike the former furnace heating system that involves forcing hot air into the home, gravity air furnace distributes air through ducts.

Gravity Octopus Furnace

It works by installing a gravity air furnace in the basement to heat the air and the heat rising into the room via ducts. The action is repeated as cool air goes back to the furnace through another process of cold-air return ducts. This system simply lets warmth rise and cool air sink. While it is not very energy-efficient, it is durable and easy to maintain, which is why some people still use it.


  • It has no moving parts, making it last for decades

  • Requires little to no maintenance

  • Very silent operation


  • Can’t filter air effectively

  • Not so energy-efficient

  • Slow to change temperature

7. Hybrid Heating

This heating system combines the energy efficiency of a heat pump with the power of a gas furnace. Among heat pump pros and cons is that it is energy-efficient but cannot operate in extremely cold weather. This is where the gas furnace comes in, making it 100% efficient.

Hybrid Heat Pump System

Usually the heat pump operates at full capacity, then during extreme climates, the gas furnace will heat the home to reach the desired temperature. Because both heating systems work together, there is less strain on them, resulting in less repairs.


  • Serves as a worry-free heating system during winter

  • More efficient than only heat pump or furnace

  • Automatically kick-start in extreme climates


  • Setup cost is high

  • Requires frequent maintenance checks

8. Ductless Mini-Split

This is a modern heating system that uses electricity. Just as the name implies, it does not require fixing of wall ducts. This makes it easier to install with less periodic maintenance. Also, this type of heater does not create heat, it only transfers air between components.

Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump

Asides heating the home, ductless mini-split can cool the house when the outdoor environment is hot. This heating system uses an indoor air handler and evaporator coil with an outdoor compressor and condenser coil to transfer heat into the home.


  • No need for ductwork

  • Can also function as an air conditioning system


  • High installation cost

  • Must be sized and setup by a professional

  • Need multiple units for separate rooms

9. Hot Water Baseboard Radiator

Also referred to as “hydronic heating system,” this is a modern version of in-floor radiant heating. Instead of under-floor pipes, this heating process use a boiler to heat water, which is then transferred through pipes to baseboard heating units. The boiler can be powered by gas, oil, propane, or electricity.

white heating radiator

These radiators for heat pump systems transfer heat into the home through thick metal fins made of steel. The hot air rises from the heater while the cold air falls down to the baseboard heater.


  • Excellent energy efficiency

  • Quiet operation

  • Easy temperature control


  • Cannot be used with an air condition unit

  • Home pipes are prone to freeze if boiler stops working

10. Electric Resistance Heating System

Just as the name implies, this system functions using electricity. However, it isn’t used as a major home heater because of the high cost of electricity. Regardless, it is a good supplementary heating system for small rooms in the home, such as home offices, garages, and basements.

Electric Resistance Heating System

Electric resistance heating systems have a simple installation process. Just plug them into an electric socket and they are ready to work. They are portable and don’t have moving parts, meaning they can be easily transported for use.


  • Can be used anywhere with an electrical circuit

  • No ductwork or serious installation needed

  • Quiet operation


  • Consumes a lot of electricity and can overload the electrical circuit

  • When using electricity powered by coal, it emits much carbon

11. Electric Space Heaters

These types of heating systems are best for people who want to heat up a very small space or need a good option to supplement their existing heating unit. They are also called “portable or plug-in heaters” because of their miniature look. Once they are plugged to an electric circuit, they start heating the room immediately. Some modern electric space heaters are equipped with cooling fans which are beneficial during hot climates.

Electric Space Heating System

Electric space heaters are easy to install and don’t require the use of any natural gas or ductwork, which makes them a great option for individuals who seek to avoid the difficulties of dealing with complex heating systems.


  • Immediate heat once plugged

  • Very small and portable

  • Simple installation


  • Can’t heat bigger rooms

  • Safety can be a problem if the heater accidentally falls

How to Choose the Suitable Types of Home Heating Systems

The different types of heaters for homes discussed above basically perform the same function i.e., keeping your house warm. We understand that choosing between them can be confusing. To help you make an informed decision on the option to choose, here are the factors you need to consider:

  • Cost: Take time to evaluate how much you will spend on purchasing the heater, the installation, and its ongoing monthly energy costs. This will give you a full scope of the long-term costs. Also, factor in potential rebates, tax credits, and any incentive. This is especially important with heat pumps. Consult a professional air to water heat pump manufacturer for proper understanding of the benefits involved.

  • Climate: Your preferred heating system should be one that contributes greatly to your quality of life. It should meet your temperature control needs and operate quietly. If the winters are extremely harsh, you should choose a powerful heating system that will function optimally. Picking a heating system that suits your climate and lifestyle prevents future disappointment.

SPRSUN cold climate heat pump, with EVI technology, can work in a -30℃ environment. But if the temperature is below -30℃, you need to choose other heating systems.

  • Energy Efficiency: This is very important if you want to consume reduced energy and save on utility bills. Compare the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) and Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings of the different types of home heating systems you like before choosing, Also, more efficient systems like heat pumps usually get rebates and tax incentives to compensate for their high initial cost.

  • Property and Household Size: Consider the size of your home and the number of people living in it. Smaller homes require less heat compared to larger ones. So you can contact professionals to choose the right power for your heating equipment.

  • Periodic Maintenance and Repairs: Consider the maintenance difficulty and cost for each heating system. Costly maintenance and repairs down the line can contribute to making an initial cheaper system become very expensive. High-quality heating equipment, also with easy maintenance is the best choice for everyone, heat pump is one of them.


A heating system is a cost-intensive investment that is due to last for years. Therefore, it’s important to compare the different types of heaters for homes to see which one meets your needs more. Also, you may need to consider talking to an HVAC professional for more information. Feel free to reach out to us; we are here to help.

Latest News & Articles

Related Heat Pump Articles

  • Why Does My Swimming Pool Heat Pump Freeze Up?


    During the winter season, some ice on your pool heat pump is a common occurrence. However, when the whole unit is covered in ice, there is a concern for worry as your device won't function well and might be at risk of getting damaged.This article focuses on people who want to use their pool heat pum Read More
  • A Complete Guide: Air Source Heat Pump Costs


    Heat pumps have surprisingly become a ‘necessary’ appliance for their ability to offer a convenient and reliable energy source for anyone looking to warm their pools or stay warm indoors. If you want to invest in a heating or cooling unit, heat pumps are undoubtedly a suitable option to suit your ne Read More
  • The Best Air Source Heat Pump Manufacturers of 2022


    Air source heat pumps are a highly efficient and renewable heating solution for many property owners. These valuable appliances help save money on energy bills, have a low carbon footprint, have a high Seasonal Coefficient of Performance (SCOP), can be utilized for heating and cooling, have low main Read More
  • Why choose an inverter heat pump to heat your pool?


    It's frustrating and uncomfortable to swim while the weather is a bit cold. With the weather shifts, temperatures can drop substantially, especially during cloudy days or winter. A significant drop in temperature can render a pool useless. About 90 % of pools in the U.S. are used two to three times Read More

Recommended Heat Pump Products

Air Source Monoblock Heat Pumps forHot Water/House Heatin

Guangzhou SPRSUN New Energy Technology Development Co., Ltd.

A Professional Heat Pump Manufacturer Since 1999
No.15 Tangxi Road, Yinsha lndustrial Park, Xintang, Zengcheng , Guangzhou, Guangdong, China, 511338

Contact SPRSUN. 7/24 Support. We Will Reply You ASAP!

Tel: 0086-20-82181867
Phone: 0086-18933985692