For homeowners, new home heating system means a substantial investment. There are several major types, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the right home heating system can be confusing, but it doesn’t need to be. In this article, we’ll talk about electric, geothermal, natural gas, and oil-fired heaters for the home. This will help you make informed decisions for your own personal needs.
Choosing the Right Home Heater
There are many factors that go into selecting the right home heater system for your specific needs. Homeowners need to think about the costs, efficiency ratings, and environmental impacts of any given system. Regional differences in the price of fuel, especially for those heaters burning fossil fuels, may also need to be considered. Finally, annual maintenance costs are a commonly overlooked factor. Some types of heating systems require more in annual maintenance and tune-ups than others.
Four Types of Heaters
There are four common heater types for residential applications. Each has different installation costs, estimated monthly operating costs, and variable impacts on the environment. Let’s dig deeper:
Electric heaters – electric heaters offer a surprisingly low environmental impact, depending on what fuel your utility company uses. Modern electric heaters are energy-efficient, using only a fraction of the electricity of their ancestors. Installation costs run around $5000-6000 dollars and expected monthly operating costs are about $215, depending on the region. The expected lifespan of an electric heater is about 20 years.
Oil heaters – variable installation costs mean that oil-fired heaters range between $2000-8000. Operating costs also fluctuate, ranging from $200-400 a month. Oil heaters have a 15-20 year expected lifespan. Unfortunately, their environmental impact is pretty high, as are any heaters that use fossil fuels for energy. One benefit of oil heaters is that in areas where oil is a common fuel source, costs may be significantly less expensive to install and operate during the winter.
Geothermal heaters – these are a great choice for homeowners who wish to reduce their environmental impacts. They don’t consume fossil fuels; rather, a ground loop uses changes in earth temperatures to create heat. A small amount of electricity is used to operate air blowers inside the home. Geothermal units have a longer lifespan than other heater types, with components expecting to last up to 50 years. Initial installation costs are much higher, though, ranging from $10,000 to as much as $30,000. Monthly operating costs are the lowest among the four major types, with estimated costs about $150 a month.
Natural gas heaters – just like oil heaters, natural gas-burning models have fairly high environmental impacts. Monthly operating costs are some of the lowest, however, running between $140-180. Initial installation is between $2500 and $10,000 or more, depending on size and complexity. The estimated lifespan of a natural gas heater exceeds 20 years.