Pin It

The Best Way To Heat Your Home

As the temperatures get colder, we become hyper-aware of how comfortable – or uncomfortable -our home is.   Often the awareness is: “the furnace is running, the heating bills are high, yet why am I still cold?”

A home energy audit is a commonly accepted method of measuring the energy efficiency of a home.   There are multiple factors that affect health, comfort and efficiency.  Sealing air leaks and beefing up insulation are two ways to increase comfort and save energy.  But what kind of heating system is best for you and your home?

Several types of home heating systems are available when building new or adding additional space.  The heating systems most common to the Metropolitan St. Louis area include:

Electric Furnace


  • As an energy source, electricity is currently a less expensive energy compared to natural gas
  • Electric resistant heat furnaces generally have fewer moving parts so may require less maintenance
  • Initial purchase and installation cost is lower
  • No carbon monoxide created in heating process
  • No flues or exhaust to cause negative pressure in home


  • Not a “hot” heat with temperatures at register typically below 110 degrees F
  • A low-tech energy technology

Gas Furnace


  • Most common and comfortable “hot” heat
  • A “hot” heat delivery at the register above 110 degrees F
  • Units available with 90% plus energy efficiency
  • Sealed combustion units maintain indoor air pressure
  • Substantial domestic U.S. supply of natural gas and propane


  • Natural gas prices are relatively higher when compared to electricity
  • Has more moving parts so may require more maintenance
  • Initial purchase and installation cost is higher than an electric unit.
  • Standard efficiency unit’s burn home’s air for fuel and creates negative pressure

If gas is your choice for heating your home, we recommend a sealed combustion unit. When installed correctly, this is the gas system with the highest efficiency, health and safety.

Geothermal Heating

This is a highly efficient way to heat a home, and is discussed in greater detail at this link.

Radiator Heating

A boiler unit – usually gas powered – dispenses heated water to upright radiator units throughout the house.


  • Maintains the look and feel of historic homes
  • The heat lingers long after the unit has been shut off


  • Home still requires duct work for a central air system
  • Radiators are hot to the touch so require safety measures for small children
  • Radiant systems for steam and hot water require frequent maintenance

Radiant Floor Heating

Coils in the floor dispense a water-based or electric heat throughout the house.


  • Heat is delivered into solid materials rather than heating air in a space
  • Heat covers an entire floor area
  • Floors are pleasantly warm to the touch
  • Electric versions are low maintenance
  • No change to moisture or humidity in the air


  • Home still requires duct work for a central air system
  • Challenging access to piping if maintenance problems occur
  • Limited floor covering options
  • Lag time response when changing temperatures

Get Heat Where You Need It Most

Once the type of heating has been decided, consider how to control the temperature of each room individually.  Simple laws of physics make it challenging to keep an entire house at a consistent temperature, with varied conditions of glass and insulation, unless there is a zoned heating system.

A zoned heating system comes in two forms. An electronic retrofit damper system can be installed into existing ductwork to direct air flow into the rooms requiring the most heat.  This is a basic manipulation of the flow from the forced air furnace, a way to reduce heat flow into one space and force more volume flow into another.

A damper system is often a retrofit treatment of an unbalanced ductwork design to try and better balance heat in your home.  It takes flow from one area to deliver more flow into a new space, effectively under-delivering and under-serving the existing space.  A more comprehensive solution is to design and build a specific duct work system sized precisely for seasonal comfort in specific spaces and rooms.

The most efficient, long-term solution for balancing ever-changing heating needs is separate heating systems for specific zones of the home.  For instance, with the introduction of a room addition or finished basement, simply adding more ductwork to an existing furnace can potentially unbalance and stretch thin the current furnace system.  There is a better option for comfort.

Rather than reduce the efficiency of an existing system by tacking on more ductwork, consider adding a separate heating (and cooling) system to these new spaces.  This specific design and sizing also allows for different types of heat within the home.  For example, a master bathroom addition is a perfect situation for a radiant floor heating system which will run on a separate system from the gas furnace system in the rest of the home.

There are so many ways to properly heat your home, and enlisting the help of experienced professionals is how to match the correct system to your specific needs and discover what is best for you.  Learn more about the Mosby Building Arts home energy audit here.  Bring comfort and efficiency to your home this winter by calling the Mosby office at 314.909.1800 or contact us here.