When your home does not have natural gas or propane service, an electric heating system may be your only option. Even if you do have access to other fuel sources for heating your home, you may prefer electric heating systems because of their cleanliness, ease of maintenance, safety and efficiency. If you’re looking for the best electric heating system for your Downers Grove area home, there are many considerations and options to keep in mind.

Types of Electric Heating Systems

You might be surprised that there are many different types of electric heating systems that can deliver comfort to your home. Each has its own advantages, and some are better for certain homes or spaces than others. The types of electric heating systems include:

  • Heat pumps
  • Baseboard heat
  • Ductless mini-split or multi-split
  • Furnace

When thinking about which of these electric heating systems is the best for your home, there are several considerations to keep in mind. You’ll want to think about energy efficiency, system cost, operating cost, ease of installation, capacity, and the size and age of your home.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps operate as both heating and cooling systems. There are both air-source and ground-source heat pumps. They work year-round to maintain indoor comfort, using a chemical refrigerant to transfer heat between the outdoors and your home. The outdoor compressor looks like a central air conditioning system’s compressor. Inside your home, a condenser and air handler maintain a consistent humidity level and filter the air. An electric heat pump with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating of at least 16 offers energy-efficient heating for most of the year in Downers Grove. On the occasional winter nights with extreme cold, heat pumps have a backup electrical resistance heater that provides extra heat when the temperature drops below about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Today’s electric heat pumps use environmentally-friendly R-410 as the refrigerant, and they are compatible with programmable and smart thermostats. They are ideal for homes of any size, material, or age.

Baseboard Heat

Baseboard heat is the most common type of electrical resistance heating. These are zoned heating systems with a thermostat in each room. Consisting of electrical heating elements contained within metal pipes, they heat air. The hot air rises. Cool air enters the pipes through fins, creating a continuous heating cycle. This is a good option if different people in your household like different temperatures. It is also a good option if you tend to spend most of your time in one room. You could save energy by warming the room you’re into a comfortable level and keeping the other rooms just warm enough to protect your plumbing. Electric wall heaters are another option, and they function like a hand dryer by blowing air across a heating element.

Ductless Mini-Split or Multi-Split

A ductless mini-split is like a heat pump, but instead of a centralized condenser and air handler, it has several of them. Another difference is that it doesn’t require any air ducts or an air handler. These systems can heat or cool your home. The outdoor compressor unit is similar to that of a heat pump. It has multiple pipes leading into the home. The pipes split into each zone of your home. You can have up to four zones. Each zone has an indoor condenser that requires a pipe leading to the outdoor unit. It also has a housing and fan for blowing the heated or cooled air. Each zone has its own thermostat, and the thermostats can be set to different temperatures. A multi-split can have up to eight zones. A ductless mini-split or multi-split is a great option for older homes without air ducts. If you are renovating or adding onto your home, they are also a good choice.


An electric furnace is similar to a gas furnace, but instead of burning fuel, it uses an electric heating element. An air blower passes air across the element. The air gets heated and passes through a filter and into your home’s ducts. As an electric resistance heater, it is easy to install. It doesn’t require a flue and can be used in a home with ducts.

There are many makes and models of affordable electric heating systems. If it’s time to replace your existing heating system, speaking with a technician at Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. can help you learn more about their features and benefits. At Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. in Downers Grove, IL, we also offer heating and cooling system maintenance and repair services. Call us today to learn more about electric heating systems.

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