Heating is a vital component of the HVAC umbrella (the other two components of the acronym being ventilation and air conditioning). Most heat systems are central, or local, in nature, meaning that they provide heat for an entire home/building. They are complex systems requiring a variety of components, such as fans, coils, evaporator coils, heat pumps, furnaces, and thermostats. They also come in several variations, each with different strengths and weaknesses and suited for different applications.
The most common type of heating system these days is a forced-air system, a setup in which air heated at a central point is channeled through interior ducts that spread it all over the building. One benefit to this type of heating is that it is very good at heating large partitioned spaces like the modern house, which is difficult with other methods. Further, because the air is traveling through an enclosed space, it is easy to force it through a filtration system in the ducts. This ensures that things like dust and smoke are removed before they can make you and your family or customers sick, leaving clean breathable air behind. However, this type of system requires a significant degree of retrofitting to put into buildings where it doesn’t already exist, and can be quite expensive as a result.
Radiant heating systems are rather uncommon now, but they were once the only type of heating available to people. They work by radiating heat outward from a central point, as a boiler, campfire or old-fashioned cooking stove does. This type of heating is inefficient compared to modern methods like forced-air, as it has no way of effectively distributing the heat produced from the source outside of its limited natural range. This means that if a large area needs to be heated, that source point must be incredibly hot in order to produce a proportionally larger range, wasting energy and making it impossible to regularly use the space directly around that point. Radiant heat systems can still be very effective for specialized uses, though; their ability to warm a small space up quickly and consistently make them a good choice for something like a small one-level cottage, where the heat will not have to travel far and the rustic nature of the solution will be appreciated.
Duct-free split systems are a middle option between these two opposite extremes. They combine the efficiency of the forced-air system with the simplicity and ease of the radiant system to form a versatile, cost-effective way to heat a space. They are composed of two main parts, a condensing unit, and a main heat-producing unit; the condensing unit stays outside of the building while the main unit itself sits on the wall or in the ceiling. The systems are usually only capable of producing enough heat for a fairly small area, but you can install as many of them as you need with relatively little hassle. They are an excellent choice for property owners who like the idea of a modern forced-air system but either can’t afford to have one installed or don’t want to lose access to the building for the time it takes to install the duct infrastructure.
When the cold weather comes, everyone needs reliable access to heat in their homes and places of business. Whatever your individual needs might be, one of these three heating systems is sure to be the perfect solution.