Heating & AC

Home   Heating & AC

What you Should Know

Heating and cooling systems make up an average 48% of a home’s energy use. When deciding whether to upgrade your heating system, take into account the relative cost of fuel, the year-round efficiency of the system, and the existing features and condition of the home. Homes that have oil burning furnaces, electric baseboard or other forms of electric heat can usually benefit from upgrades. In some situations, heat pumps, which efficiently provide both heating and cooling, make sense.

Heating systems are usually classified by the type of fuel they use. Modern furnaces and boilers use natural gas, and heat pumps use electricity. Natural gas is less expensive than electricity, but heat pumps are more efficient than furnaces or boilers, overall. One advantage of heat pumps is that they can also operate as air-conditioners.

FuelRelative CostEfficiency
Natural GasLow90+%
ElectricityHigh300%*

Benefits and Drawbacks

SystemBenefitsDrawbacks
Natural Gas Furnace
  • High temperature from vents
  • Low installation cost
  • Potential for carbon monoxide (CO) danger**
  • Fossil fuel
  • Ductwork required

Natural Gas Boiler

  • Very efficient
  • Combine with hot-water system
  • Can use existing radiators
  • Potential for carbon monoxide (CO) danger**
  • Fossil fuel
  • High installation cost

Electric Heat Pump

  • Very efficient
  • Heating and A/C
  • Lower temperature from vents
  • Ductwork required
  • High installation cost

Electric Ductless Heat Pump

  • Low installation cost
  • Zonal heating and A/C
  • No ductwork
  • Lower temperature from vents
  • Aesthetics
  • Usually requires an auxiliary heat source

Cost and Lifetime Value

Get Started

Thinking of starting a project? The first step is to schedule a phone consultation with an Community Energy Project Home Advisor to find opportunities to improve the efficiency, safety and health of your home. Book a Free Phone Consult *Efficiencies greater than 100% are explained by relatively complex science. Heat pumps move heat rather than “create” it (by burning fuel as a furnace does).

**Because natural-gas combustion occurs inside your house, this equipment must be installed properly to ensure that toxic combustion gasses are safely exhausted.