January 25, 2021

Finding the most energy-efficient new heating system for your home can feel like a daunting task. The experts at Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating help San Antonio homeowners navigate all their options to find a heating system that saves on utility costs and fits within their budgets. Having a basic understanding of the different types of heating systems that are available is a great first step to making a confident decision that will keep your family comfortable this winter.

Cost of Heating Your Home

First, let’s understand just how much of your utility bills are attributed to heating your home. Studies have found that, on average, approximately 50% of a typical energy bill in the San Antonio area is for heating during the winter. Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating helps you find ways to reduce your heating bill, such as:

  • Installing new energy-efficient heating units
  • Replacing controls with programmable and smart thermostats
  • Routine maintenance and repair services to optimize HVAC operation
  • System checks for leaks
  • Inspecting ductwork for areas of heat loss

Types of Energy-Efficient Heating Systems

If you are looking to stick to a budget for your new heating system, the most cost-effective option is to use the same type of unit. The most common heating systems in the San Antonio area are:

  • Heat pumps
  • Furnaces
  • Boilers

Highest Energy Efficiency: Heat Pumps

Of the three types of heating options for San Antonio homes, heat pumps represent the most energy-efficient option. These systems work by extracting heat from the air. During the winter months, the heat is circulated throughout your home. In the summer, the heat is released outside your home to keep your family cool and comfortable. The efficient design of heat pumps translates into production of energy that is about four times what the system uses in electricity. Homeowners in San Antonio who are concerned about environmental impact prefer heat pumps because they do not rely on natural gas, oil, and other fossil fuels. This also means that the system will not generate carbon monoxide.

Types of Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are available in geothermal and air source designs. Geothermal systems offer a unique technology for heat capture. A series of loops are buried underground on your property, but not in any way that disturbs the foundation of the house. Heat is captured and released into the soil. You can reduce your energy use by up to 70% with a geothermal system, representing the most efficient type of system available.

Air source heat pumps work much the same way as geothermal units, with the exception being that heat is extracted and released into the air instead of soil. This is the second-most energy-efficient design available for San Antonio homes.

Moderate Energy Efficiency: Furnaces for Heating Your Home

Most homes in San Antonio have furnaces that keep families comfortable during the winter months. If you have an older home, your furnace is less energy-efficient compared to newer designs, so you can save money on utility costs by replacing your current system. When you are choosing a new furnace for your home, the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating can help you find the most energy-efficient for your budget. The rating tells you how much of the consumed energy is converted into heat for your home, so opt for the highest AFUE rating that you can afford.

Types of Furnaces

Furnaces are available to run on natural gas, oil, and electricity. Furnaces work by using a heat source to warm air that is circulated in your HVAC system. Of these, natural gas models save San Antonio homeowners the most money each month on utility costs. Natural gas is an affordable source of energy, and operation is more budget-friendly than a high-efficiency air source heat pump. Oil furnaces offer mid-range energy efficiency, and you can use propane or heating oil for these systems. With natural gas and oil heating systems, though, there is a risk of carbon monoxide. Electric furnaces do not produce gases, such as carbon monoxide, yet these are the most expensive types of furnaces to operate.

Lowest Energy Efficiency: Boilers

Boilers are rare in San Antonio because they are typically found in older structures. If you do have a boiler, we want to provide some information on this type of heating system. Boilers are the least energy-efficient design. The units work by warming water that is distributed to radiators and pipes. New boilers have AFUE ratings like other heating systems, and you can find models with considerable efficiency.

Types of Boilers

Boiler designs include steam, hot water, and condensing. Steam and hot water boilers are the least energy-efficient designs. If you want to maximize energy savings with a boiler system, a condensing design is your best option. The units have AFUE ratings up to 95% thanks to the dual heat exchanger technology. Hot water and steam boilers rely on water that requires heating as the system runs. With a condensing boiler, water is heated, circulated, and then reheated. Another way that condensing boilers save energy is by using energy found in exhaust gases to re-heat the water in the second exchanger.

Boilers rely on electricity, natural gas, or oil to operate. The potential cost savings of each energy source is the same as furnaces. Natural gas offers the highest savings, and oil will give you mid-range savings in operations. Electric boilers represent the most expensive to operate. Electric boilers are best for smaller homes due to the capacity of the storage tanks, and you should also consider that you will not have heat during power outages.

Ductless Systems

If you are looking for an energy-efficient heating system for a small area of your home, such as an addition, you may want to consider a ductless system. The units are installed separately from your main HVAC equipment and provide heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.

Tips for Choosing the Most Energy-Efficient Heating System

You have many options for choosing the best heating system for your San Antonio home from Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating. You should first consider upfront costs. It may be worthwhile to invest in a new type of system and save more on energy costs. The type of fuel, whether it be natural gas, oil, or electricity, should also factor into your decision. If your current system runs on electricity, you need to investigate the cost of adding a gas line for your new heating system. You can also boost the energy efficiency of your heating system with our duct cleaning and repair services, and we can install a programmable or smart thermostat to save you even more money on utilities.

Find an Energy-Efficient Heating System for Your Home

Now that you have some basic information about the many options for energy-efficient heating systems for your home in San Antonio call Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating for more information. We help you find the best style and model for your budget that will maximize your savings in energy costs. Need other heating and cooling services? We can help! For more than 40 years, Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating has provided exceptional installation, repair, and maintenance services for heating and cooling systems. Be sure to ask about our indoor air quality products.

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