With so many types of heating available for homes its a really good idea to schedule a Long Island home inspection or New York City inspection depending on your locale.
There are four types of heating that are found in most houses. They are steam, electrical, hot water and forced hot air.
Steam: is usually found in older homes. A steam system consists of a boiler fired by oil or gas. Water in the boiler is heated until it turns into steam which is then sent by pipes to the radiators which then heat up the home. The pipes for a steam system are large, usually anywhere from one to two inches. This allows the steam to travel easily to the radiators.
Hot water: is in many newer homes. A boiler heats water to about 180 degrees. The water is then pumped through copper or plastic pipes to the radiators or baseboards then back to the boiler. Hot water systems use smaller pipes usually half to one inch and can be made of iron, copper or plastic. Hot water systems can usually be zoned, that is to say you can have more than one thermostat to have individual control the heating in separate rooms.
Forced Hot Air: Can be found in both older and newer homes. The heating unit is called a furnace and consists of a heat exchanger, a source of heat and a fan. The heat exchanger is heated up and air is then blown across it. This heated air is blown through metal ducts to openings in the walls of each room called heat registers.
Fuel for the above systems are usually oil or gas but they can also use coal, electric, etc.
Electric: Electric heating consists of an electric baseboard with a heating element. Electricity is connected to the heating element which then heats up to warm the room. This type of heating requires individual units placed in each room requiring heat. There are also several other types of heating systems such as electric heat pumps, solar, radiant heat and geothermal.
There have been many advances in heating technology. If you were shopping today for a new system you could purchase a traditional boiler or a high efficiency unit. High efficiency units are smaller and more compact than a standard boiler or furnace but cost a bit more. The initial cost of the unit is usually offset by the fuel savings.
We at Sure Check are familiar with all types of heating systems and can answer any of your questions.