How do house heating systems work?


I’ve had multiple heating systems, but I just realised I’ve no clue how they actually work

In: 6

Basically most of them make hot air. Some do it in the same room(electric baseboard heat), others do it elsewhere and blow the hot air through tubes in the floor/ceiling(forced air electric or gas furnace).

Occasionally you’ll still find boiler/radiator combo that heats up water in the basement and sends that through the pipes to radiators in the living space.

You’ll need to be more specific if you want to know about a specific type of house heating because there’s all sorts of things like in floor radiant, passive solar, geothermal, etc.

Two main types – hot water and hot air.

Hot water – a boiler heats up water which is distributed around the house by a circulation pump. The hot water runs through pipes, often copper, that are distributed around the house. The heat from the pipe radiates out and heats the room. As the water moves through the house, it begins to cools down, and it eventually returns to the boiler where the process starts again

Hot air – a furnace heats up air and blow it into the house through vents. There are also return vents, which suck air from the house and sends it back to the furnace and the process begins again.

The thermostat tells the boiler/furnace when the desired temp has been reached and when to to turn on/off

Principally, there are radiators and forced air.

In forced air, you have a furnace that’s either using electrical heating elements or burning fuel to heat some air, and then it’s pushing that hot air through vents to heat up the air in the rooms.

With radiators, instead of using air, the system uses a closed loop of water pipes. Water is pumped through the furnace which heats it up, and the water circulates through the closed piping loop throughout the house, and the radiators in the rooms shed some of this heat out through their fins into the air. From the radiators, some slightly less hot water returns to the furnace where it’s heated and sent out again.

Hi /u/GiveMeDeathPlss , what type of heating systems have you had? Generally speaking, there are forced air and radiative systems. Radiative systems can utilize resistive electric, or fuel oil/natural gas (hot water, radiant gas heating, etc). Forced air systems can include heat pumps and natural gas/oil furnaces.

Below is a link to one of my favorite episodes of The Secret Life of Machines that goes into detail on central heating systems. I hope you enjoy it.

[Central Heating – The Secret Life of Machines](

Depends on the type

Air conditioners in reverse are called heat pumps. They literally suck the hot air out of one side of the system and deposit it in another.

Depending on which way you run the system you can get air conditioning or heating.

Some use gas or oil and basically light it in a furnace and then blow the now warm air into the home.

The final is resistive heaters. This is similar to old incandescent lightbulbs except instead of designed for light it’s designed for heating. It’s also the same as the inside of a toaster