Replacing any HVAC system—whether it is a basement furnace, an HVAC system with forced hot-air heating, or a central air conditioning unit—can be one of the most expensive improvements you can make. However, replacements often provide cost-saving energy-efficiency, and keeping your system well maintained will ensure optimum performance. Experienced and professional HVAC contractors can help your system maintain a consistent temperature, humidity, and air-quality level to keep your indoor environment pleasant and healthy. Best Pick Reports has made the process of finding a top Southwest Chicago Suburbs heating and air conditioning company easy by naming this year’s Best Picks. Home heating has come a long way since simple fireplaces, but the amount of new options can make your selection process daunting. Being armed with a number of quality contractors and information about the different types of systems will help alleviate much of the stress involved in replacing your heating system.
Furnaces are a common home heating option and work by blowing warm air through a duct system. They are normally referred to as a “forced-air” heating system and can run on a variety of fuel types. Electricity, oil, and natural gas are the most commonly types of fuel used. Newer furnaces are more energy efficient than ever, but their cost varies depending on fuel prices. Something else to consider is a furnace’s AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating. The AFUE rating determines how much of the furnace’s energy actually goes into heating the home. If a heater’s rating is 85, that means 85 percent of the energy used goes into producing heat. The higher the AFUE rating is, the more energy efficient the furnace. AFUE numbers are useful when comparing hot water heaters and boilers in addition to furnaces. If you're considering an upgrade to your heating system, commonly available furnaces are becoming more energy efficient than ever and can be modified to clean the air in your home. Disadvantages to consider are that furnaces require ductwork, and if you are using natural gas, they can be dangerous when leaks occur. If you would like to have a new furnace installed, contact a Southwest Chicago area or Naperville air conditioning and heating Best Pick.
Boilers and radiant heating systems are a furnace alternative. Instead of forcing air through ductwork, boilers heat water with electricity, propane, or natural gas and heat your home through radiant heating systems. Examples of radiant heating systems are radiators, baseboard heaters, or aluminum panels in a home’s ceilings, walls, or floors. Radiant heat in the floor is by far the more popular option in the United States and works well when paired with ceramic tile. Radiant heating is also a viable option when renovating a cool basement. Since boilers transfer heat without a duct system, they do not circulate airborne allergens or take up as much space as a traditional forced-air system. Boiler and radiant heating systems are energy efficient, like furnaces and can be controlled room-to-room. However, boiler and radiant heating are typically more expensive to install than a furnace and an air conditioning system must be added separately.
Heat pumps are another viable option for keeping your home warm. They use refrigerant to take in heat from outside sources like the ground, air, or a body of water, and they use a heat exchanger to transfer it into the home. The exchange process can be reversed, and, like a furnace, heat pumps can also cool your home. Air-source heat pumps are not recommended for areas with extended freezes during winter months, so a geothermal variety—one that pulls heat from the ground—might be best for your Southwest Chicago heating needs. Heat pumps may be more expensive than a furnace to install, but they can provide substantial energy savings to homeowners. A hybrid system of both a heat pump and traditional furnace is also an option for Chicago homeowners. Heat pumps are typically less efficient in temperatures below freezing, but they could save money during more mild days. A furnace could then take over once temperatures drop significantly. Consult with a Best Pick Chicago heating and air conditioning contractor to determine what is best for your home.