My husband, Andrew, and I live in the northeastern part of the country, where the winter weather is severe. Six to eight straight months of temperatures well below freezing require a powerful and reliable heating system. Huge amounts of snow result in lots of shoveling, plowing, and scraping. For the first six years of our marriage, Andrew and I rented a house equipped with a forced air gas furnace. We were unhappy with the cost of monthly energy bills. The furnace seemed to run non stop, and most of the heat rose straight up to the ceiling. This created unpleasant temperature stratification and freezing cold floors. The ductwork and vents were a source of dust and contaminants, causing problems with our indoor air quality. Plus, the furnace and ductwork were extremely noisy. When Andrew and I built our new home, we did quite a bit of research and decided on a boiler heating system. A boiler is wonderful versatile in that it links to baseboard heaters, radiators or radiant flooring. It can also supply hot water, power a snowmelt system, and a swimming pool. Modern boilers have become far more energy efficient in recent years, and are known for their amazing reliability. The system makes very little noise, requires only year maintenance, and provides very evenly distributed heat. Because the boiler takes advantage of water to transfer heat energy, it is an extremely gentle form of heating. We opted for radiant floors, which keeps the heat concentrated in the lower half of the room. The equipment is entirely hidden beneath the floors, never detracting from aesthetics.