Alternative Heat Sources: Heating and Air Service

These days, a professional heating and air service company comes across a number of kinds of heating options, some of them relatively new to the market. Here are three of the main types:

Heating and Air Service Helps Heat Pumps


These are becoming a staple in areas with moderate climates. Until recently, they were not very efficient in colder areas due to the difficultly in extracting any heat in freezing temperatures. This required an additional heating source for when weather turned colder. However, recent technology has advanced to the point where greatly improved versions are becoming available.

Heat pumps are popular because:

  • They can deliver up to four times the energy in heat as a comparable electric furnace. This is because they are not creating most of the energy, but simply moving it from one place to another. In effect, they are a specialized version of the standard refrigerator, operating on the exact same concept.

  • Another very useful aspect of the heat pump is that it can be reversed to provide cooling in the summer.

  • Heat pumps can distribute heating and cooling to a main ducted system or, in a hybrid system, can distribute to separate smaller in-room, independently units.

  • They can be used to heat swimming pools to diminish energy costs for pool owners.

Did you know that the common heat pump extracts its energy from the air, but variations of heat pumps also can use ground water and geothermal systems for sources? These are, of course, more expensive to install, as they require digging or drilling to put the collecting pipes or coils in place, but once done, are relatively free of overhead.

Due to a dependence on cooling condensers, one issue with heat pumps is that they can produce water condensation that has to be diverted safely from the system and from areas where it might cause damage to the house or its contents. This requires some vigilance in maintaining a water collection pan and drain-tube function and also demands regularly cleaning the airflow and condensation areas to keep its water evaporation optimum.

Electric Water Heating: H20 to the Rescue


A heating alternative that replaces the necessity of a bulky furnace and ducting system, in which electric heating elements similar to those used in hot water heaters, warm water in pipes that will self-circulate through radiators, baseboard heaters, ceiling heat systems or floor heat systems distributed throughout the home.

While clean and space-efficient, a drawback can be the expense of electricity, which is highly variable depending on regional conditions, whether public or private utilities are suppliers, and also that electricity is a secondary source. The primary sources of electricity vary from hydroelectric, nuclear, coal-fired and diesel-fired plants and will dictate cost levels.

Heating and Air Service: Green Technology

While still in its relative infancy, green technology is introducing its own alternatives into the mix. Solar heat is a primary one where successful applications of passive heat take energy from the sun through collections grids of pipes, or by placing large reservoirs of water behind strategically placed windows.

Installation is a major expense, especially as some variations demand an entire architectural design treatment to work correctly. These work well in mild winter areas, though some have been successful even in colder areas.

Once installed, cost is limited to minor upkeep. Care must be taken to assure no leaks are allowed to cause damage to house and contents. A very recent innovation is a hybrid solar panel system combining both electrical energy production and heat collection.

Feedback from readers regarding heating and air service problems, comments, or successes with any of the above, especially the more untried versions, are welcome.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Alley and Co. Heating/Air and a clickable link back to this page.

List of Cities We Service:

Antelope, Arden, Auburn, Cameron Park, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Diamond Springs, El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove , Foothill Farms, Fair Oaks, Florin, Folsom, Galt, Greenhaven, Granite Bay, Gold River, Laguna, Lincoln, Lodi, Morada, Natomas (North & South), North Highlands, Orangevale, Placerville, Pocket, Rancho Cordova, Rio Linda, Rosemont, Roseville, Sacramento (North, South, East, and West), Shingle Springs, Sloughhouse, Stockton