Our winters in southern Ontario can fluctuate from mild to sub-zero temperatures within hours. For the comfort and protection of your house, be sure to have the right type of home heating system installed.

Most home heating systems on the market today have high energy efficiency ratings to help offset the costs while reducing the home’s carbon footprint. Based on your location, lifestyle, budget, and comfort level, there is a perfect home heating system for you.

Below, we provide a breakdown of the different types of home heating systems to choose from.

Central Heating Systems

Central heating systems are one of the most common systems used in homes. These units offer heating and cooling to numerous rooms within a structure via one main heat source. They use ductwork and/or radiators to distribute the heat through the home.


Whether powered by gas, oil, or electricity, furnaces provide a pre-set level of heat (or cold air) throughout a home via a series of ductwork to vents or air registers. A furnace transforms the fuel into hot air and expels the heat, forcing all by-products to be emitted through a pipe or chimney to the outside.

As a furnace is a forced-air system, it offers lower maintenance and operation costs in comparison to some other home heating systems. Modern furnaces have high-efficiency ratings and can be used as a whole-home air conditioner in the summer.

It is important to note that furnaces have a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fires due to their combustible fuel sources. This type of heating system requires extensive ductwork to be installed if none exists and can waste heat if ducts are not properly sealed.

Heat Pumps

With manufacturer and government rebate incentives, heat pumps have become a growing trend in recent years. This central heat system operates in two ways, depending on the type of pump. An air-source unit transfers heat from the air outside to the inside of a home, while a geothermal pump will transfer heat from the inside air and ground outside.

Heat pumps are designed to save up to 50% of energy use and utility costs in comparison to electric-operated heating systems. Both the geothermal and air-source pumps have the option to heat or cool a home.

The geographic location of the home will determine the efficiency of the heat pump as this heating system does not provide optimal heat in severe cold temperatures. In addition, the initial purchase and installation cost can be higher than other home heating systems.


A boiler is commonly known as a hydronic system as it uses water to disperse heat throughout a home. With this type of hot water heating, the water is heated within a central boiler before running through a series of pipes connecting to radiators in separate rooms. As the water is released into heat, the cold water is transferred back to the boiler system.

This heating system is preferred in homes with severe allergy suffers as no dust or allergens are blown around in the air as seen with other heating systems. Furthermore, boilers do not dry out the air. With each radiator having its own thermostat, boiler heat is better controlled per room.

Aesthetically, radiators do not complement most home décor and require a certain amount of space for installation. Boiler heaters do not offer an option for cooling a home and can become hazardous if a pipe leaks.

Ductless Heating Systems

These home heating systems are preferred in homes where there is no existing ductwork or for homes that are rented or up for resale. Since no ductwork is required, one or more head units are mounted on an interior wall or ceiling and often have an accompanying unit outside.

Mini-Split Heat Pumps

Mini-split heat pumps typically consist of an outdoor compressor unit and an indoor air handler, which is connected to the compressor via refrigerant lines.

Mini-split heat pumps are highly efficient and can be used to both heat and cool a space. They are also relatively easy to install, making them a great choice for homeowners who want a more energy-efficient system without having to replace their existing ductwork.

Multi-Split Heat Pumps

Multi-split heat pumps are a type of ductless heating system that consists of multiple indoor units connected to one outdoor condenser unit via refrigerant lines. This type of system is ideal for larger homes or businesses where multiple rooms need to be heated or cooled simultaneously.

Multi-split heat pumps offer greater efficiency than single-zone mini-split systems, as they allow you to control the temperature in each room independently, ensuring optimal comfort levels throughout the entire building.

Portable Heat Pumps

Portable heat pumps consist of an indoor unit that is connected to an outdoor condenser via refrigerant lines. Portable heat pumps are ideal for spaces where traditional ductwork is not feasible, such as apartments or garages. They are also very energy efficient and can help reduce monthly energy bills significantly.

Alternative Heating Systems

There are many alternative heating systems such as space heaters, radiant floor/wall heaters, and fireplaces that can be used to heat the home during the winter. These systems are designed for heating distinct areas of a home based on space and comfort preferences.

Radiant Heating

Radiant heating systems are usually installed during the construction of a home as they can be built within the walls or flooring. Water is heated in a boiler or water heater before being circulated through pipes and special tubing. The heating source can be electric, gas, propane, or oil, depending on the particular system used.

It should be noted that as comfy as it is to have heated floors in the bedroom or bathroom, radiant heating systems take a long time to heat a home. Installation, maintenance, and repairs can be costly due to the location underneath floors and behind walls.


Curling up in front of a roaring fire is a winter staple for many homeowners. Wood-burning fireplaces are one of the most traditional and classic types of fireplaces. They provide a cozy and inviting atmosphere, as well as a natural source of heat. Wood-burning fireplaces, however, require regular maintenance, such as cleaning the chimney and replacing the flue liner.

Gas fireplaces, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience and ease of use. Unlike wood-burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces do not require any chopping or storing of wood, as they are powered by either natural gas or propane.

Homeowners also have the option of using electric fireplaces. Electric fireplaces do not require any fuel other than electricity, making them much more cost-effective than wood-burning or gas models. Additionally, electric fireplaces come in a variety of styles and sizes so they can fit into almost any home decor style or space requirement.

Choosing the Right Heating System for Your Home

With the numerous choices of home heating systems, choosing the right type for your home depends on several factors. Consider the initial cost, maintenance, required space needed, and the energy efficiency rating of the system.

Many homeowners enjoy the benefits of a traditional oil furnace or boiler while others use heat pumps in conjunction with baseboard heating or electric space heaters. Speak to a professional heating, ventilation, and air condition contractor about which home heating system is best for your needs and budget.

Discover Your Perfect Winter Heating Solution with Econoair: Call Us for Expert Guidance Today!

Econoair Heating & Cooling Inc. will perform a free onsite assessment of your home’s heating system to find a solution that works for you! We provide furnace installation, furnace repair, boiler maintenance and boiler repair services, water heater repair and water heater maintenance, and service for tankless water heaters.

Our expertise over the past 20 years has helped us to deliver exceptional customer service. Depend on our 24/7 service and availability for all your home heating needs. Contact us at 905-763-2400 or request a quote here.

Author Bio

Eiden Patros

Eiden is the successful owner of EconoAir, a well-established HVAC company with three locations. He began his career in the industry at the bottom, working as a technician and gaining valuable experience. With a passion for the field and a drive to succeed, Eiden worked his way up the ranks. He is a seasoned professional in the industry with a wealth of technical knowledge and a passion for providing top-notch service to his customers. His leadership and determination have led to the growth and expansion of EconoAir, with the opening of three branches across the region. Eiden is always looking for ways to innovate and improve, staying current with the latest industry trends and developments to offer cutting-edge solutions to his customers. He is a driven and dedicated professional who takes pride in the success of EconoAir and the satisfaction of his customers.