Types of Heaters | Arlington Heater Install

Everyone in North Texas knows that the winters can get cold. It’s important to have a good heater that can handle the worst days of winter and keep you warm and safe. Here at Metro Express Service, we know all about how different types of heaters work. In order to be sure you have the best heater, it probably helps to know what kinds of heaters are available.


Furnaces are the most popular type of heaters in Texas and across the country. Furnaces provide central heating. The furnace unit will warm up air. A powerful fan then blows the warm air through the duct system of the building to heat every room. This design makes furnaces efficient and effective across a wide range of cool and cold temperatures, but furnaces are not the most adaptable heaters. The furnace is either running or not, so a single unit cannot provide variable heating in different rooms.

Furnaces also come in different varieties. You can have natural gas, electric, or propane furnaces, although propane is far less common.

Gas Heating

Natural gas heaters use a natural gas pipeline that runs directly to the building. The heater burns the gas to warm air. It’s pretty simple. Gas heaters require a pilot light or ignition device to ignite the gas every time the heater kicks on.

Gas heaters warm rooms quickly, and they are relatively efficient.

Propane heaters work the same way, but they burn propane instead. There are two distinctions to note. First, propane burns more than twice as hot as natural gas, so propane heaters warm buildings much faster and tend to be more fuel efficient. Second, propane is not run through pipelines. Propane heaters are fueled by a propane tank (they can be much bigger than what you see on a normal backyard grill). Those tanks have to be manually refilled by truck shipments. That makes propane better for remote and off-grid housing.

Electric Heating

Electric furnaces work like gas furnaces, but instead of setting natural gas on fire, they use electric coils to produce heat. Ultimately, heated air is still blown by a large fan through the ducts of the building.

Electric heating is usually more power-efficient than natural gas. That does not mean that electric furnaces will cost less in utility bills. Fluctuations in the prices of electricity and natural gas can cause one or the other to cost more to run.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are air conditioners that reverse the flow of air. Let’s explain that a little bit. An air conditioner takes warm air from outside and puts it through a compression process. That process squeezes heat out of the air, so to speak. When the process is done, the hot air is dumped outside and the cooled air is pumped through the home or building. Heat pumps do this same thing, but they dump the hot air inside and the cool air outside.

Because of this design, heat pumps actually work as air conditioners in the summer and heaters in the winter. They are extremely efficient, but they have a fatal flaw. If the ambient temperature outside gets too low, there isn’t enough heat to squeeze out of the air, and they don’t warm the building.

Heat pumps shine when it is above freezing (32℉) outside.

Space Heaters

Space heaters are small units that are designed to heat a single room. They draw far less power than central heating. So if you only need to heat one room, they are more efficient. As soon as you try to use multiple space heaters at the same time, you lose your efficiency gains. For heating a whole house or building, space heaters are much less efficient than central heating.

They shine as a way to keep one room warmer than the rest.

Ductless Mini-Split Systems

Ductless mini-splits are an alternative to traditional central heating. They do not require internal ducts. Instead, air pipes are run on the exterior of the building to each room that requires heating. Ultimately, ductless mini-splits use the exact same mechanism as heat pumps, but the way they deliver the heat is what makes them different.

Because mini-splits have direct vent lines to each room, they have an advantage over other heating systems. They can provide different levels of heating to each room attached to the system. You can keep the room you are using warmer while you let your bedroom (or any other area) cool off for the time being. This adaptability makes mini-splits extremely energy efficient for both heating and cooling.

Radiant Flooring

Radiant flooring is a modern take on the traditional radiator. Radiant floors have pipes underneath the top flooring layer. Hot water is run through the pipes, and they radiate heat throughout the home. This system of heating is very powerful, and it can keep a room toasty even in extremely cold weather.

Also, because the radiant heating comes from the floors, you don’t have to worry about cold feet, even on the darkest days of winter.

The drawback to radiant flooring is that it is not energy efficient for mildly cold temperatures. It really is at its best in extreme cold, and because of that, it’s not very popular in Texas.

No matter what type of heating you use, Metro Express Service can ensure that your heating system is operational and ready to last through the winter. Contact us today to make sure you won’t get stuck in the cold.


Randy Murphy

Randy Murphy has been building his knowledge of the air conditioning and heating business for several years now. He first started applying his knowledge while working for his father’s HVAC company. Later, in 1987, Randy started his own business: Metro Express Service. He has been a top 10 Trane & Amana dealer for over eight years. When it comes to heating and cooling, Randy knows the business better than anyone.
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