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What Type of Heating Systems Do Apartments Have?

Many people are unaware of the different heating systems and the mechanism surrounding them in their apartments. This is a common problem, especially for short-term renters, and it may be helpful to know what type of heating system apartments have to ensure they’re effective.

Apartments contemporarily use central, ductless, or direct heating systems to maintain comfortable temperatures during cold weather. Although the systems serve the same purpose to ensure indoor warmth, they operate using different mechanisms and concepts. 

This article will discuss these heating systems in depth to shed light on how they operate. I’ll also note some factors to keep in mind if you’re choosing a new heating system for your apartment.

Types of Apartments Heating Systems 

Apartment heating systems are divided into three categories, with different heating mechanisms used for each. 

Central Heating Systems

As the name suggests, this heating system produces heat in a central location and distributes it to multiple rooms throughout the building. The central heat source is usually an accessible but isolated room such as the attic or basement.

Here are some of the major central heating systems and how they operate:


Furnaces distribute heat from a central point to subsequent rooms throughout the house through a warm air distribution system.

Different furnaces use varied energy sources such as gas, fuel oil, or electricity to heat air in one area and distribute it to other rooms through vents. The system is regarded as one of the most efficient heat distribution systems due to its cost-effectiveness, air quality, and lifespan.

Furnaces draw their names from the energy sources used to produce heat, namely oil, electric, and gas. However, modulating furnaces are a superior heating system that allows you to set your desired temperature. The system then regulates the amount of gas it burns to maintain the target temperature.

Read: What Is The Most Efficient Heating And Cooling System


Boilers are large-scale water heaters at the center of your house’s heating system. Unlike furnaces that use a warm air distribution system, boilers use a hot water distribution system to set favorable temperatures.

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The boilers are powered using gas and other natural fuels, which boil water and distribute it through pumps. As the water moves through the heating system, it loses heat through radiators and other installed devices, thus warming your house uniformly.

When the water loses heat as it circulates, it’s returned to the boiler for reheating before redistribution. The system is controlled using valves that regulate temperature and water flow.

Boiler heating systems guarantee a high efficiency making them perfect for your home.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps have been used to warm houses for a long time. The technology uses electricity to provide desirable temperatures throughout the year. Heat pumps offer a two-way HVAC system that provides cool temperatures during the summer and adequate heat to keep you warm during the winter.

Air heat pumps manipulate air temperatures to give you your desired room temperature. In contrast, ground source heat pumps harness geothermal heat and distribute it around your house.

Read: Why Air Conditioner Is Not Heating?

Ductless Heating Systems

Ductless heating is an easy-to-install system that does not require vents or ducts to transfer heat from a central point to keep your house warm. Since the systems are independent, you should have different systems set in other rooms.

Although ductless heating systems require numerous systems to fit every part of your apartment, it’s cheaper to install than central heating systems. 

Here are some popular ductless heating systems in the market: 

Mini Split Heat Pumps

These duct-free heating systems offer excellent solutions for areas where the conventional ducted systems are unsuitable. They have an outdoor compressor and are usually installed directly in areas of the house that need heating and cooling solutions, making them convenient and cost-effective.

Mini Split heat pumps are particularly preferred due to their small size, which gives the heating system an elegant look. Similarly, the system can be remotely controlled, allowing you to adjust your room temperatures from your seat’s comfort.

Read: Quietest HVAC System

Window ACs With Heat

If you’re looking for a duct-free efficient heating system that guarantees comfort through all the seasons, window ACs without heat are just the appliance for you.

The system provides cooling and heating modes with the simple touch of a button that ensures indoor comfort throughout the year. The apparatus is also easy to install and offers various options to cover small to large spaces with subsidized energy requirements.

Portable Standing Air Conditioner With Heat

The portable standing air conditioner is cheaper and easier to install than all other duct-free heating systems. They’re also light and have wheels to make it easy to move them around. The portable standing air conditioner is perfect if you want a heating system that gives your small space a touch of heaven.

Read: Geothermal Heating And Cooling – Pros And Cons

Direct Heating Systems

Direct heating systems provide avenues to warm up your apartment through controlled combustion where heat is accessed from the source. Since the heat source is accessed directly, these heating systems don’t require distribution vents or channels.

Direct heating systems produce less heat than ductless and central heating systems, making them suitable for small spaces. Let’s get familiar with some of these heating systems.

Gas-Fired Space Heaters

These direct heating systems are safe, efficient, and portable, perfect for warming up small rooms. Gas-fired space heaters generate heat by combusting fuel sources such as natural gas and kerosene.

The heating systems are designed with vents to ensure adequate fuel combustion and your safety as you operate it manually. They’re low on cost, easy to operate, and can be mounted anywhere in the room without professional help.

Unvented Gas-Fired Heaters

These direct-heat systems generate heat through fuel combustion like gas-fired space heaters. However, they don’t have ventilation systems, putting users at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you have to use this heating system, make sure that it’s next to a window and the room is adequately ventilated.

Electric Space Heaters

These direct heating systems don’t generate heat through fuel combustion. Instead, they provide warmth by transforming electrical energy to heat. Once you plug in the electrical space heaters, the device heats metals within it, emitting heat to its surroundings.

While this is an efficient way to maintain warm temperatures in a small room, electric space heaters use a lot of power.

Read: Types Of Radiator Heat Systems

Decision Points When Choosing a Heating System

Heating systems are a serious investment for your house or apartment. Thus, getting a heating system that suits your living conditions and enhances your comfort is essential.

Here are some considerations you should make when installing heating systems in your apartment:


Climate is the essential factor to consider when installing a heating system for your home. Heating systems provide adequate indoor temperatures to ensure warmth and comfort in cold conditions.

Suppose you live in an area that experiences freezing temperatures during the winter. You need a powerful heating system to keep your apartment warm. Similarly, a moderate heating system may be adequate if your area experiences mild winters.

Different heating systems are designed to provide different levels of protection. For instance, central heating systems such as furnaces are ideal for areas that experience frigid winters since they ensure adequate heat generation in all rooms through a standard combustion process.

Be sure to install a heating system that suits your area’s climate.


The heating system you install should match the space you seek to keep warm during the cold season. Purchasing an oversize heating system for your room may generate excessive heat, which is inefficient and gives you an uncomfortable experience. Similarly, heating systems that are too small for your large apartment or home may not offer adequate warmth and comfort as intended.

Ducted heating systems with a central heat source are perfect for large spaces. The interconnected vents ensure every room is connected to the heating system, providing indoor warmth throughout the house. If you have a small space, consider ductless and direct heating systems.

If you’re unsure what heating system would be adequate for your space and meet your needs, an HVAC professional can help you make the right choice before installation.

Cost of the Heating System

The cost of heating systems goes way beyond purchase and installation. Operating heating systems can contribute to hefty electric and gas bills depending on your preferred model. 

For instance, installing central heating systems is more expensive than ductless systems, yet the latter can tremendously increase your electric bill. Similarly, the systems require regular servicing, which may present unanticipated extra costs. 

When purchasing heating systems, always keep these factors in mind to avoid financial burdens.


Apartments generally have three heating systems that distribute heat throughout the house:

  • Central heating systems: These distribute heat to various rooms from a central point through interconnected vents.
  • Ductless independent heating systems: These don’t require vents.
  • Direct heating systems: These provide heat straight from the source.

When choosing which systems to install in your apartment, you should consider various factors to ensure reliable heating, affordability, and overall comfort.