Types of ETS
Types of ETS
There are three main types of ETS systems, though all function basically the same way—they store heat while power rates are discounted, and release the heat as needed. The main types of ETS are standalone room units, whole-home central heating units, and hydronic (hot water) in-floor units. All three types can qualify for time-of-day power rates with Nova Scotia Power.
Room unit systems
This type of ETS is the simplest to add to an existing home and any existing heating system. A standalone cabinet, you simply find a convenient place to locate it in your room, and have it hard-wired by an electrician. Cabinets vary in size, but they’re generally only about 10” to 12” deep, so they integrate well into most homes' decor. The cabinet is loaded with a bank of ceramic bricks that heat up via the electric heating element that runs between them.
A room unit works well as an add-on to pretty much any existing heating system, including forced air, electric baseboard, oil/gas/propane hot water systems, wood systems, pellet stoves, and heat pump systems.
ETS central heating
A central heating ETS system is not an add-on unit, but rather it replaces your existing furnace. These ETS systems come in both forced air and hydronic versions, so if your current home heat is distributed by forced air (through ductwork) or hot water (through radiators), there’s an ETS upgrade for you. As with a room unit, the ETS furnace is filled with ceramic bricks that are heated in off-peak hours, so the heat can be released when needed. In the case of hydronic systems, the heat from the bricks is transferred via heat exchanger to water or glycol, which is then circulated through the home’s existing radiators.
The big difference with in-floor radiant ETS systems is that rather than using ceramic bricks to store the heat, it uses the concrete slab of the floor itself. In this system, water is heated during off-peak hours, and pumped through the home’s concrete floor(s). The concrete absorbs and holds this heat, releasing it slowly throughout the day. If your home currently has concrete in-floor heating, especially in a basement space, this could be a good option for you.
ETS/heat pump combination
A heat pump is a wonderful way to increase your home’s heating efficiency. Combine your heat pump with an ETS, and you can boost your savings even more. With this setup, when your heat pump calls for additional heat from a backup source (on winter’s coldest days), your ETS can kick in, releasing heat that you bought at a lower rate.
For homes with a heat pump, room unit ETSs are also a common way to heat a finished basement space. This way, a heat pump head doesn’t have to be installed in the basement.