As for efficiency, it's also possible for an electric furnace to be highly efficient where another is not, and the same appliance installed in two different homes, can also have efficiency differences. A home's structure, format and insulation can greatly affect the overall efficiency and proper distribution of heat through the home.
Since there are many variables that can affect efficiency overall, consumers should ensure that they choose energy-efficient or Energy Star heating products as a first step. Then, look at ways to make your whole home more efficient, to enhance your heating system. Follow up with ways to either reduce your overall heating costs or add more heat to those cool areas of the home, with some form of alternative heating or supplement as needed with portable heaters.
There are two main forms of whole-home electric heating systems, forced-air and radiant heating. With forced-air, heat is pushed out from the heat source and with a furnace, the heat is delivered to the rest of the home via a series of ducts. When the heater is smaller, forced air is expelled with the use of a fan, to warm a room.
Radiant heat on the other hand, emits heat which radiates to the room to provide warmth. A network of baseboard, convection or other type of radiant heaters can form a home's main heating system. There are various sizes and models of electric heaters on the market, from wall or ceiling-mounted units to larger furnace and space heaters.
Heat exchangers and heat pumps either as a whole-home unit or combined with air conditioning in a multifunction heat/air exchanger, can be a way of saving in overall outlay for your home's main comfort systems. When choosing a main heating system, it's important to buy the proper size of heater rated for the size of your home. A heating technician can recommend the size of heating system you need, as well as help you choose the best and most suitable type for your particular home and area.
Also called zone heaters, the most common type of room heating units are baseboard heaters, which require a 220-volt installation. You can install one in every room, to heat your entire home. Though you'll need a qualified electrician to install them, no ducting or furnace is required for baseboard heaters, which makes it an ideal heating source for some homes. These types of heaters come either with onboard adjustable or wall-mounted thermostats to control the heat. They are called baseboard heaters since the installation places it on the floor, at the base of the wall. Baseboard heaters are available in various sizes and limited colors. These 220-volt heaters are more energy efficient to heat a room than portable heaters.
There's a new breed of heaters on the market, that use an infrared technology to produce heat and many models have a design that gives them the appearance of a side table, rather than a heater. This style enables them to fit right in with the room and furnishings. Though bulkier and heavier making transfer more difficult, these heaters are considered portable and usually have wheels so they can be relocated if needed. While some are more energy efficient, most are touted as being the most efficient when it comes to electric heating. However, there are mixed opinions as to whether they are as efficient as they claim to be and at this time, there is insufficient data to support their energy efficiency.