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Gas and Oil-Fired Furnaces provide warm, even heat throughout your home by circulating heat through the ducts. The heat is created by burning the fuel (gas or oil) inside your furnace (some furnaces use outside air to help burn the fuel; others use air from inside your home). When the fuel burns, the hot gases that are created go through curved metal tubing called a heat exchanger and then out of your home through a metal or plastic vent pipe. At the same time, the air that circulates through your ducts passes over the outside of the heat exchanger and takes on the heat from the hot metal. The warm air is then circulated through your home. By keeping combustion air and supply air separate, the heat exchanger allows the air in your home to be heated without contaminating it with the toxic by-products of combustion.
Boilers create heat the same way but instead of heating air they typically heat your home by circulating steam or heated water through a system of pipes and baseboard or radiator-type heat exchangers.
A furnace or boiler's efficiency rating, or AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), tells you how efficient furnaces or boilers use fuel (gas or oil). Mid-efficiency furnaces or boilers, also known as non-condensing or induced draft units, offer efficiencies from 78% to about 84%. High-efficiency furnaces or boilers, also called condensing or sealed combustion furnaces, offer AFUE ratings from 90% to 97%. Usually, the higher the efficiency, the more expensive the equipment, but it will help lower your monthly utility bills. Therefore, your installation will give you a return on your investment. The same is true for servicing your system(s) annually. Annual heater cleanings and air conditioning tune-ups are vital for your units to run efficiently and save you money in the long run!
Heat Pumps use a small amount of energy to transfer heat between your house and the outside air. There are several types of heat pumps that can create this exchange of cool/warm air. Traditional HVAC systems have separate air conditioning and heating units. Heat pumps are a single component that can either heat or cool your home or office.
Mini Split / Ductless Heat Pumps operate on the same principle as the standard heat pump but are ductless. The ductless heat pump is a smaller device capable of heating the home or office. It differs from the air heat pumps because the system contains many indoor units, or "splits". The outdoor unit routes refrigerant piping to each section. It does not process heated or cooled air through the standard duct system of a house. An indoor unit is placed in the space that it will be heating or cooling, and each indoor unit has a small fan that controls the airflow of that room. If your home or office doess not have ductwork, such as historical homes or commercial locations, ductless units are highly recommended.
Although Ductless Systems are efficient to heat and cool a building independently from traditional systems, some people use them as backup energy systems. Or sometimes the layout of your home or office has a "problem area" (this is common in split level homes) the need for a supplemental system in this area is necessary - a Ductless system is a perfect fit for this need. A reliable HVAC contractor who is knowledgeable on all heat pump options can advise you.
Read more information on Ductless Systems.
Today's Mitsubishi units are now capable of heating/cooling a room with outdoor temperatures below 0 degrees. Like all technology, heat pumps have come a long way! They are the perfect answer for a hot or cold area(s), guaranteed to cure any uneven distribution of comfort in problem areas!