Most North American households are warmed by a central heating system. If you are considering an upgrade or a new office, it will help to be a bit more informed about the choices you have in heating systems to make the best decision for your property. Take a look below to know more:

Central Heating

Furnace: An older home is more likely to be equipped with furnace heating. Earlier, the furnace functioned with coal and wood, but a central furnace in modern homes is powered by electricity, natural gas or propane. Such furnaces can have a fuel efficiency rating of 98% which means they have the capacity to convert 98% of fuel into heat. The furnace system works on the principle of forced air heating, turning heat into air. The warm air blows through the ducts and out of the vents. Called ducted warm-air or forced warm-air distribution system, furnaces often share the duct system with the air-conditioner to avoid taking up extra space.


  • Natural Gas & Propane Furnace: In this heating system, a pilot light ignites burners inside a combustion chamber which transfer the heat into the air raising the temperature to the degree set by the thermostat. The blowers then transfer the air through the ducts.
  • Electric Furnace: In the electric furnace system, the heating is turned on electrically. The current flows through the coils heating the air through the blowers to meet the desired temperature set in the thermostat.


A gas furnace can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and an electric furnace can cause high voltage shocks so make sure you call HVAC experts to handle your furnace, no matter what the power source.


Boilers: Boilers are essentially special water heaters that distribute heat from the hot water as it passes through radiators to the rest of the house. The cooled water then flows back to the boiler to be reheated. Residential boilers typically use natural gas or heating oil for fuel. In steam boilers, steam from boiling water warms up the house. As the radiator cools, the water in the radiator cools. A boiler circulates hot water through pipes and radiators. Condensing gas-fired boilers are more common and efficient than oil-fired condensing boilers.

Direct Heating

Gas-Fired Space Heaters: Gas-fired direct heating devices are popular for their lack of ductwork and lesser heat output, making them perfect for use in single rooms. They use natural gas, propane or kerosene. Gas-fired heaters can be wall-mounted, free-standing or floor furnaces. High-end models use “sealed combustion air” systems that carry the combustion products through pipes in the wall. They are used in cabins and buildings where considerable temperature differences between rooms are common. Unvented gas-fired heaters that are not equipped with an exhaust vent are not recommended for safety reasons. One of the dangers is exposure to combustion by-products and depletion of oxygen.
Electric Space Heaters: These plug-in heaters are portable and inexpensive. They include oil-filled and quartz-infrared heaters, converting electric current from the wall socket directly into heat, just like a clothes iron does. Electric-space heaters use a lot of electricity to provide the same amount of heat that a natural gas or oil-fueled heater does making them the least energy efficient so they are seldom recommended.


Gas and Wood-Heating Fireplace: It can be fun stacking wood to stoke the furnace where wood is cheaper than gas, oil or electricity. But wood heating also stokes pollution from wood stove emissions. New models are clean-burning while pellet-stoves pollute less, offer temperature control and provide better indoor air quality. A gas fireplace increases room appeal and does not fall under an effective heat source. If the fireplace is fitted with a tightly sealed glass door and reliable chimney damper, heating can be worth considering.

Radiant Heating

Radiant floor heating circulates water beneath the floor through tubes. It can be well controlled, provides effective heating from the ground up but is expensive to install. It also requires an experienced, professional hand. This ductless system is widely available in North America but rarely beyond.

Arctic Breeze: Quality HVAC Service & Installation in the GTA Since 1996

Serving Durham Region, Pickering, Ajax and the GTA in general since 1996, Arctic Breeze Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. is a Premier Canadian owned and operated company dealing in all aspects of the HVAC industry. Call us for quality workmanship and excellent customer service excellence that has earned us a reputation of forming strong, long-lasting relationships with our clients.


Visit our article on discussing How to Choose the Right Furnace For Your Home