Do You Know the Differences Between These Types of Heating Systems?

When you set the thermostat in the winter, you expect your home to get toasty and cozy. But do you know how that warm air is created? There’s actually a handful of different types of heating systems – some you may be familiar with and others that may be new to you.

Different types of heating system

Understanding how different heating systems work can be helpful when choosing a new or replacement unit for your home. Here are the basics of the most common heating systems available today. 


The most common type of residential heating system, furnaces can be powered by natural gas, electricity, or oil. They work by burning the fuel and using a heat exchanger to transfer that energy into heated air, which is then blown by a fan out of the furnace, through a system of ducts, and out vents into various rooms in the home. 

Heat pump

A heat pump can be a two-in-one HVAC unit – serving as the heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. It works by capturing heat from the air (either inside or outside) and moving the heat to or away from the indoor space. So unlike a furnace or boiler, a heat pump does not create any new heat on its own, which can make it quite energy efficient.


Boilers have been used in homes for a long time and can still be a viable heating option. The system works by heating water in the central unit, then moving that water through pipes to radiators in different rooms. The heat is released from the radiator, and the water returns back to the boiler to get reheated. Boilers can be fueled by natural gas or heating oil.

Ductless mini-split

A new type of heating system, ductless mini-splits are smaller units that are installed directly in the room that they’re intended to heat. As the name suggests, this type of system does not require extensive (and expensive) ductwork. Part of the unit is mounted to the exterior wall and it directly connects to the inside unit that distributes the air. A mini-split unit can be a good choice for zone heating or servicing a hard-to-reach room like a home addition. 

Radiant floor heating

Radiant floor heating works on the premise that heat rises. Small tubes are installed underneath the floor. When warm water is pumped through the tubes, the heat radiates upward and warms up the entire space. Since this type of heating is expensive to install and only works with certain types of floors, radiant heating is usually used in specific areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, or living areas.

Heating system installation in Fredericksburg

All of these heating systems have their own pros and cons. If you’re debating which type is the best solution for your home, call the experts at Robert B. Payne, Inc. Our experienced team will help you choose the perfect heating system and provide high-quality installation and service. Send us a message or call us today at (540) 373-5876.