Richmond VA > Public Utilities > Energy Services Division > Home Heating/Cooling

Last Updated: 2010-09-16


Whether you have forced air, baseboards or radiators, natural gas has a system for you.  There are two main types of natural gas heating systems:

Forced Air Systems

The most common type of system in the United States is a forced-air central heating system that uses natural gas burners to heat air then circulates it through duct work in the home by a blower or fan.

Hydronic Systems

Hydronic systems can use baseboard components, radiators, or pipes built into the floor and have a gas boiler that creates steam or hot water, which is then circulated through the home through pipes or tubes. This system can also be installed using a tank or tankless hot water heater where a simple recirculating loop of hot water is tapped off near the top of the heater and is circulated through a finned tube heat exchanger in an air handler or duct coil that furnishes warmed air to the space through ducts.

Other Systems

Natural gas direct-vent ductless systems allow you to enjoy the warmth of gas heat without adding ductwork or a chimney. The benefits of these systems are they are up to 83 percent AFUE efficiency, provide significant energy savings, comfortable, consistent heating with no large fluctuations in room temperature, zero clearance from intake air, dependable, simple, flexible installation with minimal space requirements.

Combo heating systems provide low-maintenance gas water heating and heating using a direct-vent storage water heater or tankless water heater; while Integrated Mechanical Systems combine heating, water heating, and cooling into one package.

Natural Gas Fireplaces Can Be a Source of Heat

In addition to beautiful fires; some natural gas fireplace products can provide a substantial amount of heat. The amount of heat from your gas fireplace depends on the type of fireplace you purchase. For the aesthetic effect of a beautiful fire, choose a product certified as a "vented natural gas fireplace." For heat as well as the ambiance, choose a "vented natural gas fireplace heater" or a "vent-free room heater."

Natural Gas Fireplace Inserts

Natural Gas fireplace inserts are self-contained units for installation within an existing fireplace opening. They can provide more heat than natural gas log sets.

Factory-Built Natural Gas Fireplaces

This product is ideal when there is no existing fireplace or where a traditional, conventional chimney is impractical. These types of units are available in a variety of styles, which provide flexibility for placing these units in various locations throughout the home. There are three types of gas fireplaces: natural vent, direct vent and vent-free. Within these categories, there are models that are “heater-rated” and those designed solely for decorative purposes.

The benefits of a natural gas fireplace are convenience, instantaneous fire, clean, low-maintenance, realistic wood-like flames, cost-effective fuel consumption, multiple fuel options, flexible installation options and multitude of designs and styles.

Vent-Free Natural Gas Hearth Products

Vent-free (or unvented) natural gas fireplaces, stoves or log sets are ideal for providing supplemental heat. These units cannot be installed in bedrooms, bathrooms or other confined spaces, and are only for occasional, attended and supplemental use. They are required to have an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) for added safety. While no venting is necessary for these products it is recommended that consumers strictly adhere to the manufacturer's operating instructions.

Freestanding Natural Gas Stoves

These are self-contained or freestanding units that resemble quaint, old world wood burning stoves. Natural gas stoves are available in both contemporary and traditional styles, in an array of colors. They can provide significant heat to a room or the entire house. When rated like a furnace, AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), many of these are up to 70 percent efficient.


A gas chiller used in combination with electric air conditioning substantially lowers energy bills. With the shared system, lower-cost gas provides cooling during hours when electric charges are highest. During the winter, a chiller/heater provides hot water for space heating applications and because chilling and heating are housed in one unit, you save space.

Gas Desiccant Systems

Gas desiccant technology removes moisture from the air before it's conditioned. This reduces the cooling load and operating costs, while providing greater indoor comfort with lower-humidity air .

Please see the city of Richmond’s Charge Policy for New Residential/Commercial Gas Service Lines

Contact Information:

Energy Services Division
Public Utilities
City of Richmond
730 E. Broad St., 7th Floor
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Phone: (804)646-8544
Fax: (804)646-3199

For Billing questions or to turn on/off, transfer gas or water services call Custormer Care Center at (804)646-4646 or email

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All Commercial Customer Gas Inquiries

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Direct: (804)646-5465

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