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Which Method Should You Use To Heat Your Home

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Mar 2, 2018


Are you in the market for a new way to heat your home? Today, you've got a lot of heating options, including electric, gas, water, and wood. This week, I'm looking at the pros and cons of various popular heating methods to help you decide what's best for your home.

Electric: Space Heaters vs. Baseboard Heaters

Space Heater

  • Pros: One of the biggest advantages of a portable space heater is that you can move it around a room to direct the heat wherever you want it. There's no installation involved, and these heaters are relatively inexpensive to purchase and operate.
  • Cons: Space heaters must always be monitored due to a risk of fire if they're tipped over. Some space heaters are hot to the touch, which is a risk if you have young children or pets.

Baseboard Heater

  • Pros: A baseboard heater has very few parts, so it needs very little maintenance. This type of heater runs quietly and takes up very little space.
  • Cons: Baseboard heaters can drive up the electricity bill, especially if they run constantly. You must avoid putting furniture and other items in front of your baseboard heaters to prevent safety issues as well as to allow the free flow of heat.

Gas: Gas Furnaces vs. Electric Furnaces

Gas Furnace

  • Pros: One pro of a gas furnace is there's just one piece in the system and it's kept indoors. A gas furnace is energy-efficient and costs less to operate than an electric furnace.
  • Cons: A leaky gas furnace can be a big safety hazard. In fact, it can lead to an explosion or a fire. A gas furnace may create poor air quality inside your home. The installation cost of a gas furnace is more than for an electric one due to the type of venting it needs to operate safely.

Electric Furnace

  • Pros: An electric furnace can be installed in a short amount of time practically anywhere in a home. This furnace runs on electricity, which is readily available in most homes.
  • Cons: An electric furnace doesn't work as effectively as a gas furnace. In addition, electricity is more expensive than gas, which can result in high utility bills.

Water: Steam Radiators vs. Radiant Heat

Steam Radiator

  • Pros: These radiators are reliable and can last for a long time with little maintenance. They can be purchased with built-in thermostats, allowing you to adjust the heat as needed.
  • Cons: A steam radiator can start to make noises as it grows older. It must have a clear, open area around it, so nothing blocks the flow of warm air.

Radiant Heat

  • Pros: With radiant heat, water runs through pipes beneath a floor. It's a clean, easy heating process with little to no maintenance required.
  • Cons: Installation of a radiant heat system costs more than installing electric heat. Radiant heat pipes are usually installed when a house is being built; renovating a fully constructed home to put in radiant heat would be very disruptive and time-consuming.

Wood: Fireplaces vs. Wood Stoves


  • Pros: A wood-burning fireplace quickly warms up a room. You can select long-burning or short-burning wood. Maintaining your chimney and purchasing wood are the only costs of this heating method. Besides all of that, I love the look, sound, and smell of a crackling fire in a fireplace. Don't you?
  • Cons: A wood-burning fireplace must be monitored to prevent stray sparks or ashes from starting a fire in the home. You must have enough space to store logs and keep them dry. It's necessary to pay to have your chimney properly inspected and cleaned to prevent chimney fires due to a buildup of creosote.

Wood Stove

  • Pros: A wood stove has a damper that allows you to control the intensity of the fire as well as how quickly the logs burn. Wood stoves use fewer logs than a fireplace, which is a money-saving feature.
  • Cons: A wood stove isn't very efficient in heating your home because most of the heat gets absorbed by the stove itself. Many wood stoves are bulky and take up a lot of space. Some wood stoves are hot to the touch presenting a safety hazard to young children and others.

I hope this information helps you find the most efficient heating method for your home. Thanks for reading. - Alan


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