If you’re looking for a new heating system for your Milwaukie, OR, home, making sense of your options isn’t always easy. There are multiple types of home heating systems to choose from, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Plus, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so you need to understand all of your options to make the right choice. To help you do that, here are the pros and cons of the major heating system types you’ll have to choose from.
The Pros and Cons of Boilers
Boilers, as their names suggest, boil water to heat your home using hot water or steam passing through radiators or baseboard heaters. Generally speaking, most boilers use natural gas or home heating oil as their fuel source, although oil boilers are the more common of the two.
Boilers come with some notable advantages, including their near-silent operation and the fact that they heat homes quite evenly. Plus, boilers don’t circulate air through your home, so they don’t blow allergens and other airborne particles around. For the same reason, boilers don’t require air filters, so they require less maintenance than forced-air heating systems do.
Unfortunately, boilers also come with some significant disadvantages, too. One is that they may cost more to install than other options, depending on your home. Plus, boilers often come with higher average repair costs because their parts are more intricate and expensive. Boilers also come with a risk of leaks since they rely on water to carry heat throughout your home.
The Pros and Cons of Furnaces
Furnaces are one of the most popular types of heating systems in Milwaukie homes. They are typically natural gas-fired, although you can also purchase fully-electric versions. In either case, furnaces generate heat using a burner or a heating element and use a fan to direct hot air around your home via a network of ducts.
The main advantage of a furnace is efficiency. Gas furnaces are among the cheapest heating systems to operate because natural gas is plentiful and inexpensive, and even a minimally efficient gas furnace sold here in Milwaukie will be between 81% and 90% efficient. Electric furnaces, for their part, convert 100% of electricity into heat but cost more to operate due to the higher price of electricity. Plus, furnaces offer excellent reliability and do a great job of adjusting the temperature in your home quickly when you need them to.
However, as previously mentioned, electric furnaces are very expensive to operate, making them a non-starter here in Milwaukie. And gas furnaces aren’t perfect, either. They rely on combustion to produce heat, which results in the production of carbon monoxide. If a gas furnace leaks any of that carbon monoxide, it can be deadly for anyone in your home. Plus, gas furnaces have relatively high maintenance requirements, which can add to their total operating costs.
The Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps
Heat pumps are a somewhat unique option among their peers. That’s because they’re the only heating system that doesn’t consume fuel to generate heat. And they’re also the only system type that can function as an air conditioner in the summer.
The biggest advantage of heat pumps is their unbeatable efficiency. In heating mode, a heat pump can operate at efficiency levels approaching 400%. They can achieve that because they rely on already-existing heat energy from the outdoor air to function. They collect that heat using a refrigerant and carry it into your home to warm it up. As a result, a heat pump can save you up to 40% on your yearly energy bills compared to other system types. It’s also worth noting that heat pumps do an excellent job of managing humidity, too, which is quite useful here in Milwaukie.
However, heat pumps will cost you significantly more upfront than your other heating system options. Plus, they operate at lower temperatures than other heating systems. Although that doesn’t mean they won’t heat your home, their owners often report feeling a drafty feeling when they’re running. That’s because a heat pump will only put out air that’s between 10- and 20 degrees Fahrenheit above your body temperature.
Making the Right Choice
There are a variety of factors you’ll want to consider as you approach your decision on which heating system to purchase. One of those factors is whether or not your home already has a natural gas supply line or not. If it doesn’t, that will add significantly to the cost of installing a gas-fired boiler or furnace. The same logic applies if your home lacks either the plumbing or ductwork to support a boiler or furnace. In those cases, you’d have to make significant alterations to your home to install either system.
However, if you do already have the infrastructure to support either a boiler or a furnace, sticking with the system type your home already had will almost always be your least expensive option. In those cases, your best bet is to prioritize efficiency so you can save additional money on your new system’s operating expenses.
You should know, however, that heat pumps are gradually displacing other heating system types across the country. Their unbeatable efficiency makes them a key component of the fight against climate change since they cut your home’s overall energy consumption significantly. Plus, you can pair them with renewable energy to all but eliminate their carbon footprint. It’s also worth pointing out that you can purchase heat pumps in the form of ductless mini-split systems, too. So, they are a viable option for homes that don’t have preexisting ductwork or as an upgrade over a radiator-based system.
Heat pumps are also subject to federal tax credits that can lower their costs significantly. And as of 2024, there will also be point-of-purchase rebates available for heat pumps based on your home’s total income level relative to the median income in your area. As a result, heat pumps are far more cost-competitive with your other options than they used to be. And when you combine that with all of the money they save on operating costs, choosing a heat pump is never a bad move.
Your Heating System Specialists
Since 2006, 3 Mountains Plumbing has offered quality home services to the residents of Milwaukie. We provide expert plumbing services ranging from simple repairs to water heaters, gas lines, water filtration, and more. We also provide comprehensive drain and sewer services and electrical services, too. Plus, we follow a strict fixed-price policy and offer a workmanship guarantee so you’ll never have to worry about surprise charges or the unexpected reoccurrence of problems we’ve fixed.
Our team of licensed plumbers can make short work of any job and will treat you and your home with the respect you and it deserve. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Instead. Check out our countless five-star customer reviews from homeowners just like you. So, if you have questions about your home’s heating options or you have plumbing or electrical problems that need solving in Milwaukie, contact 3 Mountains Plumbing today.