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Home Heating Enters the Blogosphere

How Does Your System Stack Up?

It might be a little early for "March Madness," but with winter still unleashing its wrath on the U.S., Signature Forum is conducting a miniature tournament of our own, to determine which type of heating system is truly the best for your home!

As this particularly harsh winter of 2008 starts winding down, it's an excellent time to look back and assess the recent performance of your home heating system. For the past few months, most of you who live in colder regions of the country have seen your heating bills skyrocket as the temperatures have plummeted. This trend leads to some important questions. Have you been getting the most for your money? Has your home been sufficiently warm and comfortable? Is your heating system relatively new, clean, and working at maximum efficiency? Is your furnace or heater saving energy and helping the environment? Is it time you switched to a different type of heating system? All these questions are very important and can be answered relatively easily, especially with the help of a home heating contractor, electrician, or furnace specialist.

Because there are so many variables to consider from person to person, house to house, and region to region, it's impossible to say that one type of heating system or heating fuel is superior to all others. More times than not, there will be a trade-off between convenience, heating costs, and efficiency. Still, comparing your potential options, even in a general framework, is always a good idea. That's why Signature Forum's resident "Home Improvement Choices" blogger Nathaniel Logan has decided to take a unique approach to his examination of your home heating options. Rather than simply write about some of the popular types of furnaces and heat pumps, Nathaniel has set up a head-to-head comparison in the form of a Home Heating Tournament, not unlike the famous basketball tournament that'll be coming around next month.

Of course, to make things easier, Nathaniel has selected just eight basic types of heating systems, rather than 65. The "contestants" include Gas Furnaces, Electric Furnaces, Electric Heat Pumps, Oil Furnaces, Wood or Coal Furnaces, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Radiant Floor Heating, and Space Heaters. Each heat source has been given a seeding based on their prevalence in modern homes. That way, Nathaniel hopes to narrow down the field to the two most cost-effective and efficient candidates, which will then have their pros and cons compared in the tournament's final round.

"I thought it would be a fun way of exploring a very important issue," Logan says. "It's just important to remember that the heating system that wins won't necessarily represent the best choice for all homeowners. It will, however, serve as a helpful comparison point for anyone actively considering a new or updated type of heating system in 2008."

Nathaniel encourages SignatureForum guests to share their own opinions on home heating, as well, even if it means disagreeing with the winners of some of the tournament's match-ups.

"If you've had incredible success using several space heaters in place of a traditional furnace, I'd love to hear about it," he says. "Or if you firmly believe that Oil Furnaces get the job done better than Wood Furnaces, that's great! The goal is to present our visitors, today and down the road, with some succinct but thoughtful perspective on heating, so that they'll be able to save some money next winter without freezing in the process!"

Usually, the best time to replace a heating system or have a furnace cleaned is in early to mid autumn, to prepare for the cold weather ahead. However, when it comes to something as important as staying warm, the best time for some homeowners just might be today!

You can contact SignatureForum and use our online directory to find a reputable heating contractor in your area to personally assess the unique heating demands of your home. Meanwhile, to see how Nathaniel Logan's direct comparison of heating systems turns out, you can follow along as the tournament unfolds on SignatureForum's Home Services Blog.

Sincerely,

The SignatureForum Staff

866.896.3122

1560 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, Illinois 60201

February 2008
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