Types of heating systems for a private house: a comparative overview + the pros and cons of each type

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Inna Alekseeva
Last update: April 2019

Own house is not only a personal fortress, but also a place where it is cozy and warm. To always be so, the zealous owner must provide for an uninterrupted supply of heat. The easiest way to do this is if you can connect to a centralized system.

However, this is not always the case, and many do not want to connect an expensive service. In this case, it remains to consider the types of heating systems suitable for autonomous arrangement, and then choose the best option. And we will try to help you in this matter - our article discusses the features of a water, air and infrared heating system, lists their main pros and cons.

We also provided useful recommendations for choosing the best option. The material presented was provided with visual diagrams, photographs and videos with reviews of these heating systems.

How to choose the best heating system?

There are many heating systems. All of them have attractive sides and significant disadvantages. It is quite difficult for an untrained person to navigate in them and make the right choice. In order not to make a mistake, you need to know exactly what points you should pay attention to.

Firstly, the availability of fuel and its cost. This can be considered a key point. No matter how you like the system, but if the fuel is difficult for it to be delivered to the region intermittently or at too high a cost, you should think about another option. Otherwise, heating the house will fly "a pretty penny" and will be ineffective.

Heating system with liquid coolant
According to statistics, most owners of private homes choose heating systems with a liquid coolant. This is a practical, reliable and fairly economical option.

The second point is the possibility of combining heating systems. In some cases, it may be very practical to use the main and additional systems.This gives confidence that in case of possible interruptions in energy supply, the house will not remain without heat.

In addition, there is an opportunity to save, because you can use the most economical heating method at the moment.

And finally, the financial side of the issue. It is necessary to determine how much the consumer will be able to allocate for the purchase of equipment, its competent installation and subsequent regular maintenance.

Features of a liquid coolant system

Heating systems with coolant in the form of a liquid, perhaps the most popular in our country. This is understandable, because they are familiar and quite effective. The basis of such a system is a closed loop heating circuit with a heating device, inside of which there is a heat exchanger. Liquid passes through it and heats up to the desired temperature.

Further, the coolant goes through the pipes to the heated rooms. Here he gets into radiators, where he gradually cools down, while giving up heat to the surrounding air. The cooled liquid moves towards the heating device, enters the heat exchanger and the cycle repeats.

This system is also called water heating, but this is not entirely correct, since various compounds can be used as a heat carrier, for example, antifreezes.

Water heating
A system with a liquid coolant necessarily includes a pipeline through which water or antifreeze circulates, and heating devices installed in the premises

The undoubted advantage of such a system is its variability. There are many different wiring diagramsallowing to provide the heat supply most effective for specific conditions.

Distinguish water heating with forced and gravitational circulation. In the first case, a pump is used to supply the coolant, which makes it possible to carry out schemes of various complexity and length. The second option has many limitations, but it is completely non-volatile.

Double pipe wiring
Heating systems with a liquid coolant can be implemented in many options. So, for example, a two-pipe wiring diagram looks like: the coolant is introduced through one pipe, the output - through the other

The system can be run with single and double pipe wiring. The first is extremely simple and economical, but not effective enough for a large house. The second is more complex, but it allows you to heat buildings of any size with high quality. Depending on the type of system chosen, the set of equipment necessary for its arrangement also varies.

An integral element of any of them is a boiler, the type of which largely determines the operational characteristics of the system. Consider the most popular devices.

Option # 1 - use of gas equipment

A gas boiler is considered the most economical of all analogues. It works extremely simple. Gas enters the combustion chamber, where it burns with the release of heat, which is transferred through the heat exchanger to the liquid coolant.

The equipment is diverse and, accordingly, various properties. The safest and most efficient turbo-charged equipment is considered.

It does not need to equip a traditional chimney, does not take air from the room and has the highest efficiency.

Floor gas boiler
Outdoor varieties of a gas boiler include the maximum power models. They are able to heat 2-3-story cottages of any size

Devices with an open-type chamber are characterized by low efficiency, require the arrangement of high-quality ventilation and a traditional type of chimney. Moreover, they are completely non-volatile, and their cost is minimal. But important install correctly and connect the equipment.

The advantages of heating with a gas boiler include the following features:

  • Low fuel cost, it rises very slowly.
  • High performance equipment.
  • Possibility of full automation of the heating system.
  • Cleanliness of the premises, since a large amount of ash and soot is not formed during the combustion of fuel.
  • A wide range of gas equipment.

Among the disadvantages, it is worth noting the potential danger of using gas. When working with it, increased caution is required. All maintenance and installation work may only be carried out by certified specialists.

In addition, a special permit will be required to connect gas equipment. The cost of devices and their installation is quite high; the ability to connect to a gas pipeline does not exist everywhere.

Option # 2 - use of solid fuel boiler

This is a familiar to many heating appliances. Their work requires solid fuel: calibrated coal, firewood, peat, pellets, etc. The principle of operation is similar to gas, differ in the type of burner.

Modern modifications of long burning are characterized by the fact that one bookmark of fuel is enough to maintain the flame for half a day or more. The simplest models are non-volatile, require constant human control and have low efficiency.

Solid fuel boiler
Solid fuel boilers are not always convenient to operate. The simplest models require constant fuel loading, frequent cleaning and maintenance.

Advanced devices can be equipped with automated control and automatic fuel supply. True, the latter refers to pellet equipment. Such devices when connected correctlyare quite effective and reliable.

The advantages of solid fuel equipment are:

  • Simplicity and reliability of the design, which significantly extends its life.
  • The budget cost of the equipment and the possibility of its installation and subsequent maintenance on its own.
  • No need for special documentation for the installation of such a boiler.
  • A wide selection of the most diverse in functionality and power devices.

The equipment also has significant disadvantages. First of all, it is the need to create a fuel reserve, which must be stored in appropriate conditions. Solid fuel boilers, especially the simplest modifications, are not very convenient to operate. There is a large amount of soot, soot, so very frequent cleaning of the device is required. In addition, fuel will also have to be loaded often enough.

Option # 3 - use of an electric boiler

You can also heat the coolant in the system with electric type boilers. It is believed that this is a very uneconomical method. However, this is not quite true. You need to understand that several types of electrical equipment with various characteristics are produced.

TEN and electrode models

TEN new models are the simplest and most inefficient. They heat the coolant with the help of tubular electric heaters lowered into it. Devices consume a large amount of electricity at a relatively low efficiency. At the same time, the heating elements in the liquid quickly fail.

Electrode boilers are more economical and reliable. In them, the coolant moves inside the boiler, where two electrodes are installed. When an electric current is applied, the liquid heats up very quickly.

Electrode boiler
Electrode boilers are compact and efficient. Due to their design, they are very durable and can last for more than a dozen years.

Induction type boiler

The most efficient and economical type of electrical equipment is induction boilers. Due to the presence of two circuits, magnetic and thermal, they manage to heat the liquid coolant as quickly as possible.

The advantages of all types of heating devices include:

  • Quick heating of the coolant and, accordingly, the room.
  • Compact equipment.
  • Simple installation, which is carried out without prior permission.
  • The installation of a chimney is not required.
  • Comfortable operation, the ability to equip automatic control.
  • Complete safety and environmental friendliness.

Among the shortcomings, a rather high operating cost is usually noted, which comes out as a result of the high energy price.

True, depending on the type of boiler and the presence or absence of automated control of the system, heating costs can vary significantly. Induction boilers, fully equipped with automation, are quite economical and pay off fairly quickly.

Combined heating boilers

On sale can be found combined heating boilerscapable of handling multiple types of fuel. These are more expensive appliances, the main advantage of which is the ability to provide the house with heat in the event of interruptions with the supply of the main fuel.

Combined boiler
Combined or multi-fuel boiler - a universal heating device, indispensable for areas where there are interruptions in the supply of different types of fuel

The common advantages of all heating systems with a liquid coolant are considered to be low cost and availability, fairly high efficiency and many options.

Among the disadvantages is not the most comfortable temperature distribution in the rooms. Warm air is at the top and colder at the bottom.

In addition, water systems fail if the temperature in the building drops below zero. Systems with antifreezes and saline solutions are deprived of this drawback. However, antifreezes are expensive and toxic, and salt solutions provoke rapid corrosion of the system.

Building air heating

This is another type of heating of a private house. Its main distinguishing feature is the lack of coolant. The air system is designed so that air flows through the heat generator, where it is heated to the desired temperature.

Further, through special air ducts, which can have a very different shape and size, air masses are sent to heated rooms.

Air heating
For heating a private house of a large area, you can use air heating, while it is possible to create a comfortable microclimate in each room

According to the laws of convection, heated streams rise, cooled flows down, where holes are mounted through which air is collected and diverted to the heat generator. The cycle repeats.

Such systems can work with forced and natural air supply. In the first case, an additional pump is installed, which pumps the flow inside the ducts. In the second - the movement of air is due to the temperature difference. It is understood that forced circulation systems are more efficient and powerful. We talked about arranging air heating with our own hands in the next article.

Heat generators also differ. They can operate on a variety of fuels, which determines their operational characteristics. Most of all, gas, electric and solid fuel devices are in demand. Their disadvantages and advantages are close to similar boilers for water heating.

The circulation of air masses inside a building can be carried out in different ways. It can be a closed cycle without adding air from the street. In this case, indoor air quality is low.

The best option is circulation with the addition of air masses from the outside. The indisputable advantage of air heating is the lack of coolant. Thanks to this, it is possible to save the energy needed to heat it.

In addition, the installation of a complex system of pipes and radiators is not required, which, of course, also increases the efficiency of the system. The system does not have the risk of leaks and freezing, like its water counterpart. She is ready to work at any temperature.The living space heats up extremely quickly: from the start of the heat generator to the temperature rise in the rooms literally takes about half an hour.

Gas heat generator
A gas heat generator is one of the possible solutions for implementing an air heating project for a private house. But in practice, such systems are rarely used.

Another significant plus is the ability to combine air heating with ventilation and air conditioning. This opens up the widest possibilities for implementing the most comfortable microclimate in the building.

The duct system in the summer can be successfully used for air conditioning. The installation of additional equipment will make it possible to moisturize, purify and even disinfect the air.

Air heating equipment lends itself well to automation. Smart management allows you to remove the burdensome control over the operation of appliances from the homeowner. In addition, the system itself will select the most economical mode of operation. Air heating is very easy to install and durable. The average life of its operation is about 25 years.

Duct installation
Ducts can be mounted during the construction phase of the building and hidden under the ceiling. These systems require high ceilings.

The advantages include the absence of pipes and radiators, which gives room for the imagination of designers who decorate the interior. The cost of such a system is quite affordable for most homeowners. Moreover, it pays off quickly enough, so its demand is growing.

Air heating also has disadvantages. These include a significant difference between the temperatures in the lower and upper parts of the room. On average, it is 10 ° C, but in rooms with high ceilings it can reach up to 20 ° C. Thus, in the cold season, it will be necessary to increase the power of the heat generator.

Another minus is the rather noisy operation of the equipment. True, this can be offset by the selection of special “quiet” devices. In the absence of a filtration system at the outlet, a large amount of dust in the air may appear.

Infrared heating system

This is a relatively new method of heating residential buildings. It is based on the use of infrared radiation. Scientists have found that infrared rays can have different lengths. Safe and even useful for humans, long-wave radiation, similar to what we get from the Sun. It is it used in heating devices operating in the infrared range.

Infrared heating
Infrared film heaters can be mounted on the ceiling. Then the radiation will fall down and reach the floor, which will begin to heat up

For heating rooms, a special IR film is used. A carbon layer is applied in a thin layer on the non-woven base, which, under the influence of current, activates and emits infrared waves. The resulting emitter is laminated on both sides with a film, which gives it strength and prolongs its life.

The principle of operation of infrared heating is as follows. The film is placed on the floor or on the ceiling. When the system turns on, current is supplied to the emitter, it produces infrared waves. They move and reach the first massive obstacle. It can be large furniture, household appliances, and most often the floor. Such objects are impervious to infrared rays, they are delayed and accumulate in them.

Items gradually heat up and transfer the received heat to the air, due to this the room warms up very quickly. In another article, we talked in more detail about infrared heating device do it yourself.

It must be admitted that this type of heating is the most comfortable. Due to the fact that the floor is heated, the temperature distribution is as pleasant and useful as possible for a person. The lower part of the room is about 2-3 ° C warmer than the upper.

In addition, the natural humidity and the amount of oxygen are completely preserved, there are no convection flows carrying dust. There are no drafts. Film heaters work absolutely silently, they are safe for humans.

Infrared heating
If infrared heaters are laid under the floor, the radiation rises, reaches the floor and heats its surface, and then the air in the room

Another advantage is the fully automated control of the system. This allows her to work in the most economical mode and at the same time provide the owner with complete comfort. Thanks to this, the film system has no heat loss, its efficiency is almost 100%.

The minimum life of the equipment is 25 years, and the resource of use is twice as long. At the same time, system maintenance is not required.

The next advantage is compactness. The film is very thin and does not “eat” free space. No additional room is required for the heating unit, there are no batteries and air ducts. The film is very easy to lay and connect. If necessary, dismantling and reuse is possible.

Among the disadvantages, it is worth noting that when the voltage drops, the amount of heat generated by the film decreases. In this case, the operating time of the heater increases, which leads to greater energy consumption. The film can be covered with a variety of finishing coatings, except for putty, wallpaper and paint. The cost of equipment for arranging infrared heating is quite high.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

To heat a private house, different types of heating are used, and sometimes they combine several. How heating is done can be found in the following videos.

Pros and cons of air heating:

What users say about infrared heating:

Features of the arrangement of do-it-yourself water heating:

In a private house it is technically possible to equip almost any heating system. Therefore, the owner must choose the most practical and most suitable option for the conditions existing in his house. When making a choice, it is worth listening to the opinion of specialists, correctly calculating your heating system. Then it will be very warm in your house, even if the winter is fierce.

What kind of heating system do you use? What advantages and disadvantages have you noticed when operating your heating system? Or are you still looking, choosing the best option? Maybe you still have questions after reading this article? Please ask them below - our experts and other site visitors will try to help you.


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Visitors Comments
  1. Arthur

    Water-based heating has always been more profitable, and I can’t argue with that. Therefore, for my house, I chose only radiators. The cost of installing such a heating circuit is not very affordable. The main thing is to choose the right boiler. We took a dual circuit. Very satisfied: there is hot water and warmth in the house. The only negative of such boilers is that they are volatile - there is no light, and therefore, heat. But this rarely happens with us.

  2. Valery

    It is necessary to focus on the type of fuel fuel that is available. And if there are several, then choose a cheaper one.I had a small choice - solid fuel boiler or electric. It was possible, of course, to install a boiler on liquefied gas, but I somehow overlooked this opportunity.
    I put a solid fuel boiler, a long burning model, made a hot water tank, everything works fine. But fuel storage for him, purchase, or rather, it is a hassle every time. Moreover, it quickly burns out on briquettes, and coal is an expensive business in our region.
    Now, I probably would have thought a lot about a liquefied gas boiler - both clean and a gas station were built nearby.