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What Type of Heating System Do I Have?

type of heating system

Many homeowners don’t think much about the heating system in their home. However, each type of heating system has different maintenance needs. This means that knowing the type of heating system you have in your home could help you save money on extensive repairs from improper or inadequate maintenance. Cates Heating and Cooling is here to help you determine what kind of heating system you have in your home.

Most Common Heating Systems

Let’s start by covering the most common heating systems you will find in your home. Each system operates differently, so knowing what is installed in your home is crucial to ensuring that the system is operating well and gets the maintenance that it needs.


Furnaces are often called forced air systems. These heating systems can run off various fuel sources, including natural gas, oil, propane, or electricity. Homeowners will often find their furnace in a closet, basement, crawlspace, or attic. Forced air systems heat the air inside the furnace and then distribute the warm air throughout your home by air ducts.

Heat Pumps

In moderate climates, heat pumps are often used for both heating and cooling needs. Heat pumps work much like refrigerators; using electricity, they move heat from a cool space to a warm space. Heat pumps often have an indoor cabinet and an outdoor cabinet. Air is typically moved through ducts, but there are ductless options as well.

You can determine whether you have a heat pump by checking the outside system, which usually has a label that specifies if it is a heat pump or air conditioning unit.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

A geothermal heat pump uses the temperature of the earth to heat or cool your home. Since the ground temperature is naturally incredibly consistent, geothermal heat pumps can be used year-round. Geothermal heat pumps are known for being very energy efficient and quiet, but they can be expensive to install. Installation can also cause problems with your landscaping and yard.


Boilers are made up of two components: a furnace and a water vessel that converts water to steam. Boilers can also be fueled by natural gas, electricity, propane, or oil. Since boilers use steam to heat your home, there are typically pressure gauges located within view. Boilers distributed warm air through your home via baseboard radiators, radiant heat floor systems, or a coil. Boilers can also be used for hot water.

Identifying What You Have in Your Home

If you didn’t have the heating system in your home installed yourself, you might not know what you are working with. While you can always have an HVAC professional come to your home to tell you, it is nice to skip the cost of a service call and make this determination yourself. Here are a few tips for determining what type of heating system you have in your home.

  • Identification Stickers: Heat pumps will often have identification stickers that denote they are heat pumps on the outdoor units. Occasionally, the indoor units will also contain similar identification stickers.
  • Pressure Gauges: Large pressure gauges are a clear indication that your heating system is a boiler.
  • Searching Your System: A quick Google search of the make and model of your heating system will likely tell you if it is a heat pump, furnace, etc. During this search, you may also learn the fuel source of your system. For example, you could Google the make and model of your furnace and learn that it is a natural gas furnace.

Switching Types of Heating Systems

If you decide that you want a different type of heating system, it is important to remember that the change isn’t always simple. For example, if your previous heating system didn’t use ductwork, but you want to install a system that does, you will have to have ductwork installed. As a homeowner, if you want to change the type of heating system in your home, it is critical to work closely with licensed HVAC technicians to switch your heating unit. This can prevent damage to your home and dangerous issues with your heating system.

If you are looking to change the type of heating system you have in your home, contact Cates Heating and Cooling, one of the best HVAC companies in Kansas City. Our coverage area includes Johnson County, Kansas, and parts of northwestern Missouri. To schedule an appointment in Kansas, call us at 913-888-4470. Missouri residents can call us at 816-944-1844.

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