6 Popular Types of Home Heating Systems

Home heating systems help warm our living spaces during the year’s coldest months. There are many options available for heating installation for your home. Explore six popular types of home heating systems, each with unique features, benefits, and considerations. We will help you navigate through different home heating systems, making an informed decision for your comfort and well-being throughout the winter season.


Furnaces can run on either natural gas or liquid propane. They work by burning fuel through combustion to heat a component called the heat exchanger. When the furnace blower turns on, the heat is rejected into the air stream and dispersed through the duct work to the various rooms in your home. The two most common furnaces are 80% and 90%+ efficient.

The major difference between the two is the amount of fuel consumed to heat your home. The easiest way to understand the efficiency difference between the two is with simple math. With an 80% furnace, 80% of the fuel consumed is used to heat your home and the other 20% is dispersed out of your home through a flu pipe. A good cost analogy would be for every $100 spent on fuel, $80 heats your home, while $20 goes out the flue. The higher efficiency on the furnace, the more fuel savings you’ll experience.  

Electric Resistance

Electric resistance heat provides heat to your home by energizing electric coils. These coils provide heat that the blower then rejects into your ducting system. Essentially, this type of heating system is much like a glorified hair dryer. Electric resistance is 100% efficient but is the costliest form of heat in operational terms. If you currently have this type of heat, the best way to reduce the cost of your energy bills is to combine this type of heat with an outdoor heat pump.

Heat Pump

Heat pumps are effective because they can both heat and cool your home. Heat pump units provide heat to your home through two methods. One is air-to-air and the other is ground source, commonly referred to as geothermal. During warm months, the heat pump functions as an air conditioner, and in cold months the flow of refrigerant reverses to provide heat. They are eco-friendly and energy-efficient, making them a popular option with homeowners.

Ductless Mini-Split System

For homes without ductwork, the ductless mini-split system provides a convenient option. They include an outdoor compressor unit and one or more indoor air handlers. These systems are energy-efficient, offer zoned heating and cooling, and are flexible regarding installation and control. This type of system is also ideal for room additions, outbuildings, and four-season rooms.

Hybrid Heating Systems

Hybrid heating systems combine a heat pump’s efficiency with a gas or propane furnace. These systems are most commonly used in rural areas where propane is the main source of heat. With the rising cost of propane, this system provides an alternate and more efficient heat source. The primary component of a hybrid heating system is the heat pump, which helps operate year-round. 

During the winter, the heat pump efficiently extracts heat from the outdoor air using a refrigerant cycle. This heat is then transferred into your home’s indoor space, providing warmth. When the outdoor temperature drops to a level where the heat pump becomes less efficient, the system can be switched to the secondary heating source, in this case a propane furnace.

Geothermal Heat Pump

Geothermal heat pumps tap into the earth’s consistent subsurface temperatures to keep your home comfortable year-round. The system utilizes a ground loop, a series of underground pipes in a horizontal or vertical configuration. These pipes are filled with a glycol solution used to absorb and reject heat.

The ground loop is buried below the frost line, where the temperature remains relatively constant, typically between 45°F (7°C) and 70°F (21°C), depending on the location and depth. During the heating season, the geothermal heat pump draws heat from the ground through the earth loop. The generated heat is transported to the pump unit located in the house. 

The heat pump then uses a refrigeration cycle to concentrate this heat and distribute it throughout the home through a ductwork system. As a result, the indoor space is heated, even in the coldest winter months.

Contact Heating Installation Experts

Choosing the right heating system for your home comes in a variety of options. Each of these six popular systems has advantages, so consider exploring them. Please consult with our heating installation professionals to find the one that fits your home’s need.