Last Updated on March 29, 2024

What are the Types of Heating Systems? | Real Estate Definition

By Alan F Macdonald

What does Heating Type Mean in a Real Estate Listing?

On real estate listings in Edmonton, heating type refers to the type of heating system used to heat a home or building.

Real Estate Agent Explains Types of Heating Systems

According to the Edmonton Real Estate Board, there are a few different heating types that could be used to heat a building, they are:

Heating Type Abbreviation
Forced Air-1 1F-A
Forced Air-2 2F-A
Baseboard BASEB
Fan Coil FCOIL
In Floor Heat System FLOOR
Gravity GRAV
Hot Water HOT-W
Heat Pump HPUMP
Space Heater SPACE
Wood Stove WOOD

Heating units are usually referred to as furnaces or a boilers and these are the two main ways to heat a house, but there are many methods of delivering heat to the inside of a house.

Typically, boilers circulate hot water or steam through some sort of radiator system and furnaces force air through a heat exchanger and blow that air throughout the house. Not all boilers and furnaces are the same, though – hence there being so many different heating types. Different heating types may also have different heating fuels as well. Let’s break down the types of heating shown in the chart above:

Hot Water Heating System

Most apartment-style condos have hot water heating because it’s an efficient way to heat a building – there are no large ducts to install and no ductwork needs to go through the floors. When people are talking about a boiler, they are referring to hot water heating. In recent years, many new condo builds have moved away from this type of heating, however.

Baseboard Radiators

Baseboard heaters are not so much the heating type as they are the style of heat delivery. Hot water heating is usually delivered through baseboard radiators in Edmonton. They are just like tall radiators you’d see in older homes, but they run the length of the baseboard on outside walls. These are usually seen in apartment buildings.

Steam Radiators

Steam radiators just have steam inside them rather than hot water. They are less common now because they may have been replaced with something else. Those tall, standing radiators you see in older homes are steam radiators. You aren’t likely to see steam radiators in a house built after 1940.

In-floor Heating

In-floor heating, also known as under-floor heating, is where hot water is sent through pipes or tubes embedded in the floor. As the floor heats up, it imparts that heat to the home from the ground up. In-floor heating is popular with concrete floors, tile flooring and the like because it makes the floor warmer.

Forced Air Furnaces

Forced-air furnaces are the most common kind of heating you’ll find in Edmonton homes. You’ll find them in almost all townhouses, and houses in Edmonton. This is because a furnace can do pretty much everything – heating, air conditioning and ventilation. Furnaces can have humidifiers attached to them as well.

‘Forced Air-1’ means one furnace, and ‘Forced Air-2’ means two furnaces. Some larger houses or homes with an addition have more than one furnace to make controlling the temperature of the house easier.

It should be noted that there is currently no distinction on real estate listings between high-efficiency furnaces and mid-efficiency furnaces. They would both just be considered forced air furnaces.

Gravity Furnaces

A gravity furnace is a furnace with no fan, so it relies on gravity and the principle of “hot air rises” to get the air circulating. A gravity furnace can be thought of as a low-efficiency furnace. Gravity furnaces are no longer installed in homes in Alberta, although some older homes may still have one.

Wood Stoves

Wood stoves are the oldest form of heating in Alberta. There may still be homes in rural areas or cabins that are heated with a wood stove, but it is not likely in an Edmonton home.

Heat Pumps

There are a few types of heat pumps. Heat pumps are electrically powered units that usually use a refrigerant in a closed system to transfer heat from one place to another – in this case taking the heat from the air outside or the ground.

Geothermal heating is a system that uses a heat pump to collect heat from the ground and pump it into the house.

Air-to-air heat pumps have gained more interest in the past few years because of their lack of reliance on fossil fuels, making them both more environmentally responsible and less expensive long term. However, most experts recommend that they not be the sole heating source for homes in Alberta.

Space Heaters

Space heaters are gas or electrical units that heat a small space, but that are not connected to a larger system. Additions, lofts, breezeways, porches and garages are sometimes heated with space heaters.

Fan Coils

Fan coil units are a lot like space heaters in that they are located in the room that they heat. Fan coils are usually mounted on a ceiling or high up on a wall to keep them out of the way.

Why Does It Matter?

The method of heating can be important to know because the cost of replacing and fixing the system differs depending on which kind of system you have in your home. Also, some systems are more efficient than others or may cost more to repair than other systems. Knowing how your heating system operates is important when repairs are needed as well.

Curious about condo heating in Edmonton? See Types of Heating Systems Used in Apartments.

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