If your current heating system is not as effective as you'd like, you may be considering getting a new heating source. Before you get started, however, you should know the various pros and cons of different heating sources. If you would like to know more, check out these four common heating options to determine which is right for you.

1. Forced-Air Heating

Forced-air heating is the fastest way to heat your home and get it nice and toasty. Forced-air heating uses a furnace, which heats the air and then sends it via ducts to various parts of the home. For this reason, however, forced-air heating needs an extensive series of ducts. If you don't already have the ductwork, forced-air heating could be costly and invasive to install.

If you do already have the ducts, however, a forced-air furnace is an affordable choice, but you will need to choose between electric and gas. Electric systems are usually cheaper to buy, but they cost more to run than gas units.

2. Heat Pump

A heat pump is similar to a forced-air system, and it also uses ducts, making it a poor choice if you don't already have ductwork. If you do have ductwork, switching to a heat pump could help you save money on your heating bills.

Heat pumps work by taking heated air from outside and pumping it inside the house. For this reason, it doesn't use nearly as much power as a furnace, making it a more efficient choice. Plus, you can use the heat pump in reverse in the summer to cool the house by dumping hot air from inside the house outside.

3. Mini-Split System

Finally, if you don't have ductwork, you should consider a mini-split system. A mini-split system consists of an outside unit and several indoor units. The indoor units expel the heated or cooled air into various zones of the house. Depending on your preference, each room may have its own indoor unit. This means you can heat and cool different zones without putting stress on the system.

For example, if no one is upstairs, you could turn off all the heating units upstairs, so you don't waste any heat. If you did this with a forced-air heating system, it could strain the system. The major downside to a mini-split system is that it costs more to install than a standard furnace if you already have the ductwork.

4. Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant floor heating comes in electric or hydro. Electric systems heat up fast, but they are more expensive to run because they use so much electricity. With radiant floor heating, special coils are installed on the floor. Electric coils heat up to warm up the floor, but hydro radiant floor heating uses a boiler to heat water. That heated water is sent through the floor coils to heat the floor.

Since heat naturally rises, the heat from the floor eventually warms the rest of the room. The downside: it takes a long time to warm the room, and the heating is less effective. However, you will have more even heating. Radiant floor heating can be used throughout the house, but it is a poor choice for carpeted or laminated floors. It is great on tile or stone, making it a great addition to bathrooms.

Choosing the right heating source is important. Not only should you consider the initial cost of the system, but you must consider the cost to run it every month. If you would like to know more, contact a heating contractor in your area today.