Fact Sheets

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Home heating trend forecast highlights

  • Radiant heat systems are gaining popularity across the United States, with 23% of builders planning to “increase” or “greatly increase” their use of radiant floor systems in the next 12 months.
  • In the coming year, builders will continue to favor gas – both natural gas and propane – as the primary fuel source for home heating applications.

Home heating installation history (past 12 months): Heating distribution systems

  • Builders surveyed said that 93.8 percent of homes built during the past 12 months feature forced air heat, followed by heat pumps (26.2% of homes built), radiant floor heat (6.5%), and geothermal (4.5%).

Home heating installation history (past 12 months): Fuel choice

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  • Gas is the fuel of choice for builders across the country, with 67% of all homes built during the past 12 months featuring natural gas (59.4%) or propane (7.6%). With natural gas used in most urban areas, propane extends the benefits of gas appliances beyond the natural gas main to rural areas.
  • The exception was in the south, where gas was installed in 50.9% of homes, and electric was installed in 47.2% of homes built. Geothermal (1.1%), wood (1.5%), and oil (3.5%) trailed both gas and electricity.

How do homebuilders determine what kind of home heating systems to install in the homes they build?

  • More than 90% of builders surveyed cited reliability, customer preference and initial costs as the top factors in choosing home heating systems.
  • According to the Propane Education & Research Council, customers prefer radiant floor heating systems because they are energy efficient, and they provide quiet, even heat. With radiant floor systems, the warmest air is kept at the floor – so room temperatures can usually be kept lower, decreasing operating costs.

Fuel choice trend forecast highlights

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  • Building on the popularity of gas home heating systems and appliances, one in five homebuilders (20%) surveyed said they plan to “increase” or “greatly increase” their use of propane as a home heating source over the next 12 months. Propane allows them to extend the benefits of gas systems beyond the natural gas main.
  • If propane was the primary fuel source for a home heating system, builders noted that they would maximize the use of propane for a number of appliances in their home, with outdoor living applications topping the list, followed closely by water heaters and fireplaces.

Percentage of builders that would use propane appliances in conjunction with propane home heating system

About the survey
The Web-based survey was conducted by the NAHB Research Center, a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), on behalf of the Propane Education & Research Council in August 2005. A nationally representative sample of 302 builders participated in the survey.