Discover the Most Efficient Heating System for Your Home

With the escalating price of energy bills in numerous regions, and an increasing number of homeowners keen on making noteworthy savings by making their properties more sustainable, you might be considering transition to a more efficient home heating system.

But amidst a broad range of options, which is the most efficient heating system for your home? This guide aims to provide the answer, integrating technology considerations such as thermostat programmability and insulation effectiveness.

What Makes A Heating System Efficient?

Before we look at some of the different types of heating systems you might like to consider — factoring in elements like ductless systems, and renewable energy sources such as solar heating — and outline how to select the most efficient home heating system, it’s worth pausing to clarify what we mean by “efficiency” with regard to heating, air conditioning units and systems.

In essence, this involves how effectively these systems can maintain a desired temperature, ensuring comfort while utilizing minimal energy.

There are numerous ways to gauge efficiency for systems such as heat exchanges and air source heat pumps. However, the simplest and most straightforward measurement is the AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency rating. Simplified, this measurement indicates how much of the energy consumed by your home’s heating system contributes to heating the home relative to how much is merely wasted.

The AFUE is represented as a percentage. For illustration, if you have a radiant heat system with an AFUE of 90%, it means that 90% of the energy it consumes is directed towards heating the home, only wasting a 10%. Although 90% is a respectable score, certain top-tier systems are capable of surpassing 98%, whilst older or less efficient systems struggle to reach even 80% AFUE.

What Is High Energy Efficiency?

The most efficient heating system ought to be supremely energy efficient. In essence, that means it maximizes the return from the energy it uses, with minimal waste and characteristically low energy consumption compared to other models and systems. An energy-efficient system will help you stay warm and ensure hot water without incurring exorbitant energy bills or leaving a substantial carbon footprint on your property.

How To Choose An Efficient Heating System

So, if you’re in search for the most efficient home heating system, where do you begin? Well, the AFUE rating is an appropriate metric to focus on. It delivers a clear and simple indication of a system’s efficiency, and it’s a helpful tool to compare different systems and find those that will waste less energy whilst heating your home.

However, the hunt for the most efficient heating system should incorporate other factors as well. It’s crucial to find one that aligns with your home’s energy source. For instance, if your home is designed for natural gas heating, it would be rational to invest in a gas system, rather than an electric one.

Once you’ve figured that out, you can proceed to decide on the type of home heating system you prefer. There are three primary types to consider: furnaces, heat pumps, and boilers. The subsequent section will delve in deeper into each type and exemplify some.

Types Of Home Heating Systems

As highlighted earlier, there are three main categories of home heating systems. Each type has a different price range and operating mechanism, as well as varying levels of efficiency. There are also multiple sub-types worth considering — for example, if you choose a furnace, you can opt between oil furnaces, gas furnaces, propane furnaces and more, all boasting different thermostat and programmable technology options for comfort and savings.

In terms of efficiency, furnaces are the best option to choose from. Maximum airflow and heat distribution make them often classed by experts as the most effective and efficient heating units, particularly for homes that have natural gas supplies.

They work by heating up the air using a heat exchanger and then blowing that hot air through the home via various ducts and vents. Another plus point for these units is that many are eco-friendly and come with an energy star rating, saving on operation costs in the long run.


Plus, despite their high-efficiency ratings and usefulness, furnaces aren’t even that expensive. Compared to other home heating options or the overall costs of conditioning a large area, they’re an affordable unit.

With average prices ranging from as low as $2,000 up to around $7,500; especially when you factor in professional installation from a Heating & Air Conditioning contractor. However, they’re positioned on the ground and do have one notable downside: noise. Furnaces can be quite loud when firing up and operating.

A heat pump, perfect for a specific space or area, is another kind of home heating system that also doubles up as a home cooling system. It’s almost like having a heater and an air conditioner all in one, and that’s one of the best benefits of installing a heat pump, as you can use it to warm your house in winter and cool it down during the summer months.

Types Of Furnaces

  • Gas: Natural gas furnaces tend to be the most efficient, but also cost the most, often appearing along the higher section of the furnace price range.
  • Oil: Oil is another option to power your furnace, and it can be a good choice for those in areas with easily accessible and affordable oil.
  • Electricity: Electricity is a reliable choice for powering up a furnace, but there are risks of the system shutting down if you have a power cut, as well as more maintenance.
  • Propane: Propane is a popular option for powering a furnace, thanks to its relatively easily accessible nature in many states and regions.

Heat Pump

Heat pumps work by essentially drawing air in, making it warmer, and then recirculating it around the home during winter, or cooling the air down and blowing it around the home in summer. It’s great for providing clean air, and it’s much quieter than a furnace.

But, because of its dual function and efficient operation, it has a much higher price label; heat pumps can cost all the way up to $20,000+, and fixing heat pump problems can be pricey, too.

Boilers are the most traditional home heating system. They typically feature a large tank that holds hot water that can then be pumped out into radiators to warm the home or individual rooms and spaces, as needed.

Types Of Heat Pumps

  • Air-source Heat Pumps: This is the most common variety of heat pumps. It uses heating elements to warm up the air before blowing it around the home.
  • Water-source Heat Pumps: A water-source heat pump involves a loop of water, rather than air, to help warm up or cool down the air that it draws in.
  • Hybrid Heat Pumps: Hybrid or dual-fuel heat pumps feature a standard electric heat pump system, combined with a gas furnace. It uses both heating sources as needed to warm the house.
  • Geothermal Heat Pumps: Geothermal heat pumps usually cost much more than the other varieties. They pass the air through pipes underground, relying on the earth’s natural heating to warm it up. Highly useful in very cold areas.


Boilers are generally just as efficient as furnaces, especially when using natural gas. But, they require extra space, and can be quite expensive, with a new installation costing up to $10,000. Plus, they require a lot of maintenance and can cause problems if they break down.

It’s vital to take multiple factors, including the available information about each system, into account when choosing a home heating system, like what kind of energy supply your home has, how much you’re willing to spend on the installation, the age and condition of your home, the surrounding climate, and the kind of energy efficiency you’re hoping to achieve. It can be tricky to pick the right model when taking all of that into account. Contact us for expert advice.

Types Of Boilers

  • Natural Gas Boiler: By far the most common variety, using natural gas to generate heat.
  • Oil Boiler: Less common, but still available, relying on oil as the main energy source.
  • Electric Boiler: Gas-free, electric boilers have additional wiring and electric components.
  • Steam Boiler: Usually powered by gas or oil, these boilers distribute heat via steam.
  • Condensing Boiler: Designed to optimize efficiency, these boilers are usually powered by natural gas and reuse remaining water vapor to reduce waste.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Home Heating System

Overall, the most efficient heating system for your home may likely be a furnace, but could also be a heat pump or even an old-fashioned boiler. It all depends on a range of factors, which is why the decision to upgrade or switch your home heating system shouldn’t be taken lightly. Always consult with professionals and weigh up the pros and cons before deciding on the right system to install.

Overall, the most efficient heating system for your home may likely be a furnace, but could also be a heat pump or even an old-fashioned boiler. It all depends on a range of factors, which is why the decision to upgrade or switch your home heating system shouldn’t be taken lightly. Always consult with professionals and weigh up the pros and cons before deciding on the right system to install.