When you think of a heating system, you probably picture a furnace, ducts, and registers through which heat flows. But while this style of heating system, known as a forced air heating system, is rather common, it is not the only type of heating system that exists. If you would prefer not to accommodate ducts into your walls, you may want to opt for one of these types of ductless heating systems instead.
Steam Boiler Heating With Radiators
Many people think steam boiler heating is outdated, but it's actually making a bit of a comeback as people become more concerned with their health. Since there's no forced air involved in this type of heating, allergens like dust and old spores don't get propelled through the air in the same manner, and allergy sufferers have a much more pleasant experience.
Steam boiler heating systems consist of a boiler that heats water to the boiling point, along with a network of pipes that carry that steam to big boxes known as radiators. The steam heats up the radiators, and then the heat dissipates throughout the home.
Radiant Floor Heating
A similar, somewhat newer heating option is to have a water boiler that's integrated with pipes that run beneath your home's floors. In the boiler, the water is heated until it's close to the boiling point, and then the water itself is circulated through the pipes. The hot water pipes warm the floor, and the heat from the floor dissipates into the surrounding air.
Radiant floor heating is a very good choice if you don't want cumbersome radiators in the corners of your rooms. It makes for a very comfortable home since your floors stay warm and toasty. However, it is tough to install in existing structures and is therefore really only an option if you're building from scratch or doing an extensive remodel anyways.
Electric Baseboard Heating
Another option is electric baseboard heaters. These are a bit like space heaters, but they are permanently fixed to the wall where it meets the floor. An electric element heats up, and the heat it creates dissipates into the air. Electric baseboard heaters are easy to install, but they are not very energy-efficient. They work well in warmer climates where you may only need to heat your home a few days each year.
If you'd prefer a heating system without ducts, talk to your HVAC contractor to learn more about each of these options.