When you’re involved in the purchase or sale of a home, whether you are a Realtor, homeowner or purchaser you may already own, or you may encounter something referred to as a "combination heating system."
Combination, aka "Integrated Heating Systems"
Combination heating systems use a water heater (tank or tankless) and a heating coil to heat the house. Hot water is pumped through a coil inside an air handler, which is connected to the air ducts. The fan blows house air through the hot water coil, distributing the heat from the water via the ductwork. A refrigeration coil can also be installed in the air handler, to cool the house during hot weather.
Other combination systems use a boiler to heat the home via radiators or in-floor heating and can also be used to heat household water in a tank. These are often called indirect systems.
In the past combination forced-air systems were often undersized, providing inadequate capacity, and setting water heaters to higher temperatures resulted in scalding at faucets. These problems have been largely eliminated by properly sizing fans and coils for each house, by the introduction water heaters specifically designed for the purpose of heating, and by the implementation of hot water mixing valves to protect against scalding.
Learn more about combo systems
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.