Identifying Your Home’s Heating System

Identifying Your Home's Heating SystemWhen you call a heating and air conditioning company to schedule service, one of the first questions they typically ask is “what kind of heating system do you have?” If you recently moved into your home and the system was installed by a previous homeowner, you may not know the answer to this question off-hand. Luckily, it’s easy enough to find out. Keep reading to learn about the most common types of home heating systems and how to identify them.


Forced air furnaces are really common across the country. These systems burn fuel — usually natural gas, but sometimes propane or oil — to generate heat. The heat warms the air, which is then blown through a system of ducts to the various rooms in your home.

Furnaces are usually paired with a separate air conditioner. If you have one piece of equipment that generates heat, plus an indoor and outdoor unit that provides air conditioning, then you probably have furnace heating. Scheduling a furnace tune up or repairs should be easy since almost all HVAC companies work on these common systems.


Boilers heat water. Either that water or steam generated by heating it are then forced through a series of pipes and into radiators, which are located throughout the home.

If your heating system includes radiators, which are metal units that get hot when the heat kicks on, then you probably have a boiler system. Sometimes these radiators are long units that stretch across a baseboard, and other times they are compact, rectangular units situated in the corners of rooms.

Boilers are not as common as they once were, but they are a good choice for allergy sufferers since they don’t blow air and dust through the home. Not all residential heating repair companies work on boilers but may do.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump is a type of heating equipment that is reversible. In the winter, it pumps heat into your home, and in the summer, it pumps heat out of your home. Heat pumps are electric, and they work similarly to refrigerators.

If you have a heat pump, there will typically be an outdoor component to your HVAC system. It may sit on a concrete pad, or it may be mounted on your wall. Heat pumps and air conditioners look similar, but if you read the label on the equipment, you can tell which one you’re looking at. Also, if you have one of these units and no separate furnace or boiler, you can assume it’s a heat pump, not an AC unit.

Knowing which type of heating system you have will make it easier for you to work with heating contractors to schedule repairs and services. If you’re having trouble identifying what type of system you have, feel free to contact us. H&H Heating and Cooling employ knowledgeable residential HVAC contractors who have experience working with furnaces, heat pumps, boilers, and more.

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