Building a new house is exciting for many reasons. Not only do you get to have a say in the design and decor of your home, but you also get to customize your heating and cooling options, as well. While this doesn’t sound particularly thrilling, consider this…
With energy costs on the rise, don’t you want to make sure your home is as energy-efficient as possible? New building methods such as insulated concrete forms, structural insulated panels and thick foam insulation has made the newer homes almost impervious to changes in the temperature outside. But extreme shifts in temperature still require an efficient heating or air conditioning system (or both). But what are your best options?
This article from HandyAmerican.com explains, outlining the most energy-efficient heating systems available.
1. Heat Pumps
Heat pumps take energy out of the air to provide either hot or cold air, depending on what you require. In the summer, your heat pump can be used as an energy-efficient air conditioning system, while it can provide heat down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter.
Geothermal heat pumps are not constricted by changes in the weather because instead of taking heat and cold from the air – which is constantly changing in temperature – they draw their heat/cold air from belowground, where the temperature stays fairly consistent.
Both types of heat pumps can drive either a forced-air system or a hydronic system.
2. Condensing Gas Furnaces
Today’s gas furnaces are engineering marvels, drawing as much heat from the fuel as possible. This is why many models are up to 97% efficient.
The key to the success of the new gas furnaces is that there is a second heat exchanger above the first. As the burned gas cools it releases more heat into the second heat exchanger by condensing into liquid form, which is drained off. In this way more heat ends up in the plenum for distribution to the home and not up the chimney. Other innovations such as precision valves and electronic motors to run the blower fan reduce the overall energy consumption. Condensing gas furnaces can also be used as efficient boilers for in-floor heating systems.
3. Solar Hot Water and Air Heating
Two hours of direct sunlight can provide enough energy to heat a home through hot water and even hot air.
Vacuum tubes in an array on the roof magnify the sun’s energy and transfer it to glycol. This heated coolant is then pumped into a storage tank for dispersal throughout the home. Sometimes it is used to pre-heat hot water tanks.
Hot air systems are also becoming very popular. In these systems, solar rooms capture the heat in ceramic tiles and a fan disperses the heat throughout the home. Heat can be stored in the ceramic for hours.
4. Off-Peak Electric Thermal Storage
ETS (Electric Thermal Storage) units are cabinets loaded with ceramic bricks, surrounded by heating coils. A microprocessor automatically switches the power on when energy is cheapest then shuts the unit off at peak hours. During the time of high prices for electricity a small fan circulates the stored heat from the ceramic bricks throughout the home.
If you have any questions about making your home more energy-efficient, contact Fresh Air Concepts by calling 1-800-708-4FAC or click here today!