Get the Best: Comparing Home Heating Systems and Heating Fuel Types

Knowing the best way to heat your home could save you lots of money and help the environment. There are many types of home heating systems and heating fuels to consider. Do you know which combination is best for you and your home?

According to one estimate, the average cost of heating a medium-to-large home in the US can be as much as $3,000 a year. We’re talking about a significant chunk of change. Knowing what each heating system does and what each heating fuel can cost could save you a lot of money.

Whether you are looking to build a new house or considering upgrading the heating system in your current home, we want you to have the best information possible. Trying to work out all the different combinations isn’t easy. Having more facts to use in your decision should help you work out what will be best for your home and family.

From heat pumps to fireplaces, and from solar power to natural gas, here’s how you work out what’s the most efficient heat system and heating fuel for your needs.

Heating Systems

Heating Systems

With eleven options to choose from for a new heating system, how do you know where to begin? Each heating system has its pros and cons of course. Some are more efficient. Some use cheaper fuel. Some are better for the environment. Some are state-of-the-art.

Here’s a look at each type of heating system so that you can see what they all do best. Having this information at your fingertips will allow you to get the best option possible.


Furnaces are the most common type of heating system used in American homes. They work by blowing heated air through a duct system and out into rooms through vents. Furnaces don’t always work for older homes if there isn’t room for the duct system. Be sure to check the latest furnace standards to make sure you’re adhering to national requirements.


Boilers use heated water to heat your home through radiators. The heat passes from the water into your rooms. As the water cools it is recycled through the system and reheated in the water heater again.

Heat Pumps

This type of heating system forces air into the house through ductwork. Heat pumps pull cold air from the outside and extract warmth from that air using electricity. The good thing is that they can reverse that system in the summer and push warm air from inside to out. There are air-source and ground-source heat pump systems you can choose from.

Space Heaters

Gas or electric space heaters are best for single-room use. They don’t use ductwork and typically can only heat small areas. Either option of space heater is usually quite cheap to buy but neither one is terribly efficient. Small upfront costs are therefore outweighed in the long run by fuel consumption costs.


These heating systems are often preferred in rural areas. Some people just love to cut their own wood and enjoy the ambiance of a stove. Newer regulations have made stoves much more efficient. The choice between wood or pellets is often personal preference but pellets are usually more efficient.


Just as with stoves, there’s something about a wood-burning fireplace that just screams winter comfort. No matter how efficient newer fireplaces are, they are not a great way to heat your home. A fireplace will almost always lose more heat than it puts into your home. But they do look and smell wonderful.

Radiant Floor Heat

Heated tubes under the floor of your rooms are a great heat source. You get excellent control of the temperature in each room. However, they are also incredibly expensive.


Ductless heat pumps are slowly becoming more common in the US. If you don’t have ductwork or space for ductwork in an older home, this heating system is a great way to heat your house, room by room.

Combined Heat and Power

CHP is a new heating system that hasn’t caught on yet. But there’s a good chance it will because it is so cost-effective.

Heating Fuels

Heating Fuels
No matter which heating system you choose, you’ll also likely have a choice of power for that system. The best home heating system will also need the best option (for you) in terms of heating fuel.


Solar power is the gold standard for environmentally-friendly heating fuel at the moment. Here’s how solar energy works. You can use solar panels to generate electricity as a power source. Or, you can use solar heating panels. Solar heating panels heat either water or air and then circulate that around your house. Either option is great for the environment. After the initial expensive costs, you have a renewable source of heating fuel.

Fuel Oil

Fuel oil is cheaper than electricity but you need a tank in which to store it. Most fuel oil suppliers will set you up with an automatic renewal plan but there’s always the chance you might just run out!

Natural Gas

You’ll never run out of natural gas because it’s pumped directly into your home. It’s also usually less expensive than fuel oil and electricity.


It’s not as cheap as natural gas and you can’t get as much power out of it as other sources. It is, however, available in pretty much every house already so you won’t have to bring in a new power source.


Propane isn’t as powerful as fuel oil but it is safe and clean. This non-toxic fuel option can even be a whole-house power alternative to electricity. You will need somewhere to store your propane and schedule deliveries.


Probably the main benefit of using wood is the romance and ambiance it provides. It can also be cheap if you have a wood source from which you can cut and dry your own wood.Wood is also a renewable heating fuel.


Pellets are less expensive than fossil fuels or electricity. They are also quite efficient and have good heating power. The environment quite likes pellets, too.


There are no chemical or carbon monoxide risks with kerosene. It’s not always easy to source. It can be a good choice for space heaters.


This heating fuel is efficient and inexpensive, but it’s a drain on natural resources. Coal isn’t renewable and digging up coal damages the environment in many different ways.

Get the Best Heating System and Heating Fuel for You

No matter which options you choose, make sure they suit your needs. There’s a lot of things to consider so make sure you ask experts in your region. Cost, efficiency, and the environment are all going to be factors in your decision.

We want you to have the information you need to make smart choices about the interior and exterior of your home, especially when it comes to heating fuel and heating systems.

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