Are you ready to do some serious comparison shopping for heating and cooling systems for Wisconsin?
In general, you can determine the efficiency of heating equipment by measuring how well it turns fuel into useful heat. Of course, the condition of your heat delivery system — the ductwork, for example, also affects efficiency.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the efficiency of a heating appliance is an important factor when determining the cost of a given amount of heat.
So how do the various systems stack up? Let’s see!
Ground source heat pumps
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, geothermal heat pumps use much less energy than conventional heating systems, since they draw heat from the ground. They are also more efficient when cooling your home. Not only does this save energy and money, it reduces air pollution. Learn more about geothermal at the Department of Energy which also has a good video explaining how geothermal works.
Wood and pellet heating
There are several types of wood and pellet heating devices, from older masonry fireplaces – designed more for show than heat – to pellet stoves, which the DOE calls the cleanest of solid fuel-burning residential heating appliances. There also are fireplace inserts, wood stoves, advanced combustion woodstoves, and masonry heaters. Learn more about all of these units at the DOE.
Boilers and central furnaces
The efficiency of these appliances is measured by annual fuel utilization efficiency or AFUE. An AFUE of 90%, for example, means that 90% of the energy in the fuel becomes heat for the home and the other 10% escapes up the chimney and elsewhere. AFUE doesn’t include the heat losses of the duct system or piping, which can be as much as 35% of the energy for output of the furnace when ducts are located in the attic. The minimum allowed AFUE rating for a non-condensing fossil-fueled, warm-air furnace has been 78% for all types of furnaces except those specifically for mobile homes (with minimums of 75%) — about a quarter of heat lost! However, minimum AFUE requirements for furnaces are being increased. Learn more at DOE.
Electric resistance heating
According to DOE, electric heat such as baseboard heating is often more expensive than heat produced in the home or business using combustion appliances, such as natural gas, propane, and oil furnaces. That is because most electricity is produced from coal, gas, or oil generators that convert only about 30% of the fuel’s energy into electricity. Learn more at DOE.
If you want to learn more, contact us for a FREE copy of the Homeowners Workbook, a guide to Buying, Building and Remodeling.