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(707) 539-4533 |  Sonoma Napa and Marin Counties

In St Helena, we’re lucky enough to enjoy a few warm but not unbearably hot summer months per year. However, most of the time, we experience a temperate climate, which means we have no choice but to rely on our heating systems. Even when temperatures soar, we frequently have to put up with strong winds that can make ‘real-feel’ temperatures feel rather cold. So, the question is, which heating system is right for your home? This home heating systems comparison article should provide the answers you require.

Before we give you our verdict on which is the best heating solution for your St Helena home, let’s take a look at the options available:

Furnaces and Air Handlers

Home Heating Systems
  • What is a furnace and air handler?

A furnace works by heating either water or a fuel such as natural gas, which is then pumped through your home through ducts or radiators.

  • The pros of furnaces and air handlers

Furnaces, or boilers as many countries call them, are beneficial because they can heat households that experience extreme winter conditions. In the northern states of Europe and the US, furnaces are commonplace.

  • The drawbacks of furnace and air handlers

If you’re environmentally conscious, you might choose an alternative heating solution to furnaces because they typically require natural gas, which is a fossil fuel, to function. Additionally, if poorly maintained, furnaces can lead to carbon monoxide exposure, which can be hazardous to your health at best and fatal at worst. It must be said; carbon monoxide poisoning from modern furnaces is extremely rare.

Heat Pumps and Packaged Systems

  • What is a heat pump?

Essentially, furnaces are like AC units, except they work in reverse. Rather than pump cold air through ducts which escapes into rooms via vents, they drive heat through pipes that, again, provide warmth to rooms via vents. Heat pumps, unlike furnaces, don’t produce heat via a flame – they transfer heat from one location to another.

  • The pros of a heat pump

In St Helena, heat pumps are often ideal due to our mild winter temperatures. They’re also beneficial because while they can make your home cosy during the colder months, they can provide much-needed mild temperatures during the summer by moving heat from your home to the outdoors. Last but not least, heat pumps are considered to be a ‘green’ heating solution.

  • The drawbacks of a heat pump

Compared to furnaces, heat pumps are usually more expensive to install. Another issue is that heat pumps often require a backup heating source to work effectively.

Mini-Split Systems

  • What is a mini-split system?

Continuing our home heating systems comparisons, we’ll now explore mini-split solutions, which are also known as ductless systems. A mini-split solution consists of two primary components; the condenser, which is installed outside, and an air handler, which is fitted inside your home. These systems are highly efficient and can be used to both heat and cool your abode.

  • The pros of mini-split systems

Because mini-split systems are energy-efficient, they could help you shave a significant sum off your annual energy bill. Because they’re ductless, it often takes a matter of hours to complete the installation. Some systems can support up to four indoor zones, all of which are connected to just one outdoor condenser, allowing you to control the temperature in individual rooms.

  • The drawbacks of mini-split systems

The primary disadvantage of a mini-split/ductless system is the initial cost of the installation. You may need to pay upwards of two thousand St Helena pounds to install a mini-split system, but this fee may end up being high-value given the long-term energy saving costs.

Dust Mites in your HVAC Ducts

Geothermal Solutions

  • What is a geothermal solution?

A geothermal heat pump, aka ground source heat pump, uses the Earth as a heat source. Like a mini-split system, you can use a geothermal system to cool and heat your property. It extracts cool water from underground before heating it to provide warmth. When the heat is transferred from the water, it’s returned underground where it cools down again in a continuous process.

  • The pros of a geothermal solution

Geothermal solutions are highly efficient – they can reduce your energy usage by up to 80% because they’re up to 48% more economical than gas furnaces. With few moving parts, these solutions have a long lifespan. They also provide warmth very quickly.

  • The drawbacks of a geothermal solution

As with mini-split systems, the primary disadvantage of geothermal solutions concerns the high installation costs. Moreover, you require a large yard for a horizontal installation or a bedrock-free ground for a vertical installation, meaning they’re not suitable for all households in St Helena.

Home Heating Systems Comparison: Our Verdict

As you can see from our home heating systems comparison overview, each solution has its pros and cons, making it essential to seek advice from an HVAC specialist to determine which is the most suitable for your requirements. If energy efficiency is your primary concern, you might want to go for a geothermal or mini-split solution. If you need to minimise installation costs, then you may be better off with a furnace or heat pump system.