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What’s the Most Efficient Heating System for Your Home?


feet resting on the white, warm radiator

Keeping an older home comfortable in the winter can be a challenge. The key is to find the right heating system for the structure. At American Vintage Home, we install and service a wide range of heating systems, and we’ll help you find the best solution for your comfort. Consider the following heating options to help you achieve the comfort and energy-efficient operation you desire:

Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant heat systems offer exceptional comfort and energy efficiency. These systems effectively turn the entire surface of the home into a low-temperature radiator. As the floor warms up, it doesn’t just warm the air circulating in the room, but it also warms your feet as you walk across it. Depending on the structure, radiant floor heating systems are 20% to 40% more efficient than central, forced-air heating systems. They are also nearly silent and can be installed beneath tile, wood, concrete, and carpet without losing their ability to keep you warm and cozy.


Gas, electric, and oil-burning furnaces are reliable options that offer energy-efficient heat production. These systems force heated air throughout the home via a series of ducts. When it comes to popularity, forced-air furnaces are the most common home heating system in the United States. While efficient and effective, it is necessary to ensure that the ducts are properly maintained; otherwise, there is a considerable risk of heat loss through gaps and breaks in the ducts. And as with all home heating options, it’s imperative to ensure the home is adequately insulated and any air leaks are correctly sealed. If they are not, you will experience drafts and a loss of efficiency.

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Many homes in Chicago and throughout Illinois rely on boilers for their heat. Boilers are efficient and effective options that will use the power of steam or hot water to keep your home comfortable throughout the coldest winters that blow through the region. Boilers operate by producing steam that flows through pipes to either radiators or baseboards positioned throughout the house. Many boilers have considerable AFUE ratings, with some electric boilers achieving 95% to 100% efficiency. However, the downside is that because they run on electricity, they can be more expensive to operate than gas-burning systems.  

Improving the Efficiency of Your Heating System

It’s not uncommon for older homes to feel cold and chilly in the winter. Whether the house is a midcentury modern, 1920s Craftsman, or turn-of-the-century Brownstone, simple steps will go a long way toward improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your furnace, boiler, or the gold-standard, radiant floor heating system. These steps include:

  • Preventative maintenance: Staying on top of preventative maintenance will keep your furnace, boiler, or radiator in exceptional condition. This will improve energy efficiency and system reliability.
  • Weatherize the home: Make sure that all gaps in masonry, around vents, doors, windows, etc., are properly sealed with the appropriate caulk, weatherstripping, etc. 
  • Insulate the home: Making sure that attics, crawl spaces, walls, etc., are insulated with a high R-value insulation will protect your home against heat gain and heat loss. This will lower your utility bills and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your system. In turn, this will enhance your comfort.
  • Install a programmable thermostat: This will give you greater control over the operation of your heating system. It’s a simple step that will save you money and give you considerable control over your comfort.

Contact American Vintage Home at (847) 999-4595 to discuss your heating needs with our HVAC specialists. We are ready to help maximize your comfort in Evanston, Chicago, Oak Park, and throughout the North Shore area!

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