The Types Central Heating Systems and How They Do What They Do

Central heating systems are easily the most cost-effective form of heating for any home. There is not much more convenience than heating your entire home from one unit, as opposed to having to individually heat each room. The installation costs of central heating systems, may be relatively higher, but the operating costs are much lower, as they are more reliable, last much longer and may also be much safer.

One of the main components of central heating is the water circulation system. Water is heated in the boiler system. And the generated heat is then transferred to the air vents and circulations system. The water can also be distributed to radiators that supply heat to individual areas. A separate system also distributes the water to outlets where it can be used. The radiators are placed in various locations around the home or building, and are fed with steam or hot water from the boiler that is powered by the combustion of heating oil or natural gas.

Central Heating Systems can sometimes be powered by a Forced Air Furnace, which can be powered by electricity oil or natural gas. The heated air is then blown through the ventilation system where it is distributed to various areas through the air duct network. This system involves no heating of water, but a direct heating of air before it is circulated to the rest of the home.

Governments at both the local and Federal levels are now providing subsidies for the implementation of solar panels that can be used as a supply source for central heating. The technology is relatively expensive, but the energy source is unlimited, cheap and easily renewable. The sunlight is easily converted to heat energy through the use of special solar panels and then distributed through the house via the air circulation system.

Organic material can be burned to produce heat in Biomass Systems. The organic material can be any combustible material such as chips wood, or paper. These systems can be connected to central heating systems but the architecture can become quite complex, and the installation costs may be relatively high. However, the added benefit of being Eco-friendly should not be overlooked, as it contributes to a much lower carbon footprint.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of the systems. Combustion of fossil fuels may be an efficient energy source, but damage is done to the environment. Solar panels are a cheap source but still relatively inefficient as a complementary energy source and supply such as a boiler is still needed. Biomass systems can contribute to a better environment, but there are other important considerations such the availability of fuel, and the storage and handling of organic material.

It is absolutely essential that you seek professional advice before deciding on any heating system. A very thorough evaluation of your home or building is first required, as well as very careful consideration for the operating costs, maintenance and servicing of your heating system. You should also spend some time in determining the viability of any new technology as it applies to your particular circumstances

Home Heating System: Boost the Heat in a Cold Bedroom

Homeowners know when they’re cold and they know where their cold. They may not know how to light a pilot light, or air seal an attic floor, or balance a home heating system, but they know when they are cold. Bedrooms are often the coldest room in the house and most often people just live with it. Stick the kid in the cool bedroom, throw a couple extra blankets on the bed and tell them to finish their homework.

Dealing with a cool bedroom is frustrating. If you turn up the heat to warm the room, the rest of the house gets too warm. Shut all the heating registers except the bedroom and it puts too much back pressure on the furnace. Too often I see a household try to adjust the temperature of one room by closing heating registers in other rooms and soon they have half the registers in the house closed and the home heating system working overtime to satisfy the heating request at the thermostat.

Usually, the home heating system is designed by a professional Heating Contractor that went to HVAC school for several hours a week for a number of years. A Heating contractor must pass an apprentice program before he or she can even take the test for their journeyman license.

HVAC Education

During the educational phase of the heating and cooling training, they are taught how to do a heating load calculation on a home. They take the heating load and develop a designed heating system that includes furnace size, fan capacity, duct size, air flows, and register size. In other words, heating systems are designed to heat all rooms evenly and to work as a system with all registers open.

If you have one bedroom that is cooler than the rest of the house, one of two things has happened:

  • The heating system was designed by a contractor that barely passed the test, or
  • the heating system is broken.

Recently, I had a homeowner complain that they got very little air flow out of the heating register in their dining room. The dining room was cooler than other parts of the house. With a flow hood, I registered a 75% decrease of air flow at the register as compared to the register in the living room. I removed the register grill, took a flashlight and mirror and looked down the inside of the heating duct.

With the mirror to see around the initial elbow, I could see that a flow damper valve was installed in the heating duct. Further inspection showed that all the heating ducts in the home had a flow damper installed near the registers. The damper in the dining room was the only one that was closed most of the way. The homeowner was not aware that flow dampers were a part of the homes heating system.

Heating Duct Damper

Flow dampers are a bit unusual in my neck-of-the-woods, I don’t see them very often. Flow dampers are added to a heating system to allow manual adjustment of the flow of air to the registers. With dampers, the flow of conditioned air can be balanced so warm and cool areas of the home can be eliminated. To keep from putting increased pressure on the furnace fan motor, when one damper is closed down another damper should be opened up.

Sometimes, I believe a heating contractor may throw in a bunch of flow dampers when he looses his pencil and can’t be sure of how big to make the heating ducts or how many registers need to be in a room.

6 Ways to Boost the Heat in a Cold Bedroom.

Repair Heating Duct:
There is always the possibility that the duct system has a problem that can be fixed. Ducts can become partially or totally disconnected and flexible ducts can become pinched off or collapsed. This is the first and most important fix considering the cold bedroom. This fix will not only warm the bedroom, but also increase energy efficiency and energy savings.

The first step is the inspection of the duct leading from the plenum to the register to be sure it is securely connected. Also, look for holes, crimping, or collapsed areas. Heating ducts damaged by animals is also a possibility that you should be looking for.

Disconnected heating ducts can be reconnected, but damaged heating ducts most often need to be replaced as they are difficult to repair.

Check for a Damper:
The sneaky heating contractor may have placed a damper in the heating duct and kept it a pretty good secret. Look and feel inside the duct by removing the register cover. Also, remove insulation from the outside of the duct, especially near the register and check for the telling signs of a damper. A metal rod with a small handle and a few anchor screws indicate a damper inside. Open the damper and your cool room problems maybe over.

Balance Room Pressure With a Cross Over Duct:
Now we need to talk about room pressure and balloons. Crack the bedroom door open about an inch, turn the furnace on and see if the pressure builds up in the room and closes the door.

The heating system is a circle of air. Air is heated in the furnace, pushed through the heating ducts into a room and then sucked by the same furnace, out of the room, back through the return air duct to the furnace. If the air in the room cannot get back to the furnace, the room builds air pressure, like a balloon, which restricts the flow of conditioned air into the room in the first place.

With an increase of pressure in the bedroom, the conditioned air is forced through a different duct and into an adjoining room.

To fix the potential problem, many homes have cross over ducts installed in the ceiling or over the door that allow the air in the room to get back into the hallway even when the door is closed. In some larger, higher priced homes, they may have eliminated the room pressure problem by installing a return air register in every room.

To balance the room pressure and stop this problem, the two most used repairs are installing a cross over duct through the wall over the door or simply cutting the bottom of the door off so there is a wider gap between the door and the carpet.

Increase the Size of the Duct:
Maybe the Heating Contractor ran out of 8 inch ducting so he decided 6 inch was close enough. There is a real possibility that the back bedroom is cool because the heating duct system was not engineered correctly. When this happens, the best fix is to correct the mistake and replace the duct with a larger one. If the home is fairly new and the Contractor is still around, you might get this done as a freebee.

In this way, the cool room will get a larger share of the air coming from the furnace. This repair can still be a do-it-yourself’er if your willing. Heating duct material, both ridged and flex, can be purchased at your favorite home store. Some zip ties, a few sheet metal screws, a sharp knife and a pair of tin snips should do the trick.

If the heating duct size is simply too small to service the room, besides replacing the duct with a larger one, the only other fix that might work is installing a booster fan in the duct or adding a complete second duct and register.

Duct Booster Fan
Place a baffle in the heating plenum:
This adjustment can be very effective – especially in a manufactured home. A section of the main heating trunk ( the plenum ) needs to be opened up so a metal baffle or shield can be placed in the main trunk line that will direct more air into the heating duct that goes to the cold room. This is a very effective way to grab more of the conditioned air that passes down the main heating trunk and direct it in the direction you want it go. This is an inexpensive and permanent fix that works very well.

Install a Booster Fan in the Duct:
This $30 part won’t create more heat, but it will pull more heat to the cool room. The booster fan should be installed as close to the offending room as possible and can be wired directly back to the furnace fan so the booster fan will run each time the furnace comes on. Installing it can be a pain. A section of round metal duct either needs to be dropped down or added to the system. Be sure the duct system is air sealed or this added fan will pull unconditioned air into the system and lower your energy efficiency.

I know dealing with a cold spot in your home can be a frustrating ordeal. Hopefully I have provided some solutions to the problem that will work for you and your home. The home heating system was designed to provide the comfort you are expecting and deserve and, with a little T.L.C., will provide years of energy efficient service.

Thank you for stopping by Detect Energy, hope to see you again soon, but I won’t leave the light on for you…Don Ames

An Efficient Central Heating System For Your Home Or Office

Central heating systems will contain a primary source, such as a furnace, that supplies the heat. There are 4 basic components in every furnace, which include the burners, heat exchangers, a blower and a flue for delivery of exhaust. The main energy sources can be gas, oil, or a hybrid of the two, and electricity.

Upgrading the central heating system can increase the value of your home. With an upgrade of your central heating system, you can gain the benefits of added comfort, as well as improved energy conservation. The heating system in your home is probably operating at 75% efficiency, which means that 25% of your heating bill is actually being given away. With the emphasis being placed on energy efficiency, many of the current heating systems are capable of operating at 90% efficiency or better.

Some heating systems are rated according to the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE. Others may use the Heating Seasonal Performance factors (HSFP), while some systems will be rated according to the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER. The rating will be determined by the type of installation.

The AFUE is the measurement used for evaluating oil and gas fired furnaces. It indicates how much fuel is being consumed and how much is wasted. High efficiency furnaces can be more than 96% efficient. Higher efficiency leads to more consumption and lower energy bills. This means that a lower amount of energy is needed to heat your building, resulting in lower costs.

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER is used to rate heat pumps and air conditioners. The higher number implies increased savings in energy bills. The HSFP is used to gauge the efficiency of heat pumps, with higher ratings implying higher efficiency and increased costs savings. With the central heating, systems, the heat is generated in one location, before it is distributed to other areas of the home or building. This approach is different from the use of space heaters or fireplaces that heat specific areas or rooms.

The typical central heating system would involve the combustion of fuels such as gas, oil or coal in a boiler or furnace. The furnace will normally be located in the basement or loft area of the home, and commercial buildings will include a dedicated boiler room. In regions of lower electricity costs, the heating systems will be powered by electricity, and many regions are implementing eco-friendly solutions such geothermal heating pumps.

When evaluating your heating, there are some very important reasons why professional assistance is necessary. You will need to determine which system is right for your needs. The requirements will be based on the size of your home or the areas to which the heat is distributed. You will need to get an idea of how much heat will be lost.

This is determined by the insulation, and the relationship of wall floors and roofs that have external contact. Calculations that use the desired temperatures, as well as internal temperatures and volumes of space, are used to generate an approximate of the required heating capacity denoted as British Thermal Units needed per hour.