Heating can indeed cost a fortune. There’s no other way to say it. Homeowners who look for a new heating system without careful planning and preparation can end up breaking the bank. What’s more, heating is proven to account for as much as 30 percent of an average household’s monthly energy consumption. So it goes without saying that we should all be wise about it.
As a responsible homeowner, you must never take heating for granted. Make an effort to keep your home warm in the most efficient way possible. Fortunately, you have a lot of options, and all of them can help reduce your monthly energy bills significantly.
Start by taking better care of your heating system. Even if your home has the latest and most efficient ducted gas heating system, it won’t do you any good if you use it poorly and neglect regular maintenance. Be sure to maximize the heater by making smart decisions.
Hire a professional to perform a tune-up at least once every year. Inspect its filter on a monthly basis so you can immediately have it replaced if it is worn-out and dirty. And of course, see to it that the ducts are properly sealed. Insulating and sealing them can improve the efficiency of your heating unit by more than 20 percent.
If your current heater is more than a decade old and has already become ineffective at making your home comfortable, have it assessed by a professional contractor right away so it can be repaired or upgraded. It is advisable to do this before you start looking for heating alternatives. Learn more about ducted heating first to discover how so you can make the most of your system without spending a fortune on a new one.
Look into radiant heating. If someone in your household is susceptible to allergies, installing a radiant heating system in some rooms could prove to be an advantageous course of action. A radiant heating system does not distribute allergens and minimizes air pollution because it transfers heat quietly, evenly and efficiently. It can add warmth to your home by distributing radiant energy directly to ceilings, floors or walls, which then radiate heat into the rooms.
The advantages of radiant heating are numerous and well-known, but they can sometimes be overshadowed by a few big drawbacks. For example, not only is a radiant heating system usually more costly to install than its ducted counterpart, but it can also be less energy efficient in larger rooms. What’s more, it is not recommended for high-performance sustainable homes that do not require artificial heating.
Keep your home warm by burning wood. Centuries ago, most households across the world relied on wood for heating. However, the Industrial Revolution from the 18th to the 19th century boosted the popularity of coal, and the interest in bio-fuels like wood slowly waned. Urban households eventually overcame their dependence on all types of bio-fuels.
Now, wood-burning appliances are becoming popular again as homeowners are more eager than ever to use renewable energy. There are wood-burning stoves and fireplaces that can run on scrap lumber and are often more efficient than a gas fireplace. The only big drawback is that excessive residential wood burning can contribute to air pollution and may cause a number of respiratory problems.
Consider using pellet-burning appliances. Pellet fuels are basically made from compressed biomass, which is derived from living organisms. They are known for being highly dense and combustible. The use of wood pellets made from sawdust and other sawmilling wastes is popular not only in many households, but in power plants and business establishments as well. They burn cleaner than wood and heat up more efficiently.
Heating appliances such as central heating furnaces that run on pellets offer the same level of comfort as their gas and oil counterparts. Because of this, they are in high demand in America and Europe. Experts believe that the production of wood pellets, which is currently close to 20 million tons a year, will keep on growing for years to come. So, needless to say, you will never run out of energy sources when you transition to pellet-burning appliances.
Keep your home well-insulated. Installing insulation in your attic and walls is a sure-fire way to make your home warmer and reduce your monthly heating bill. Needless to say, it is certainly worth your time, effort and investment. However, it can be very difficult and time-consuming. So unless you are qualified to do it by yourself, you will need to hire a trained and certified professional.
Improving your home’s insulation can never be complete if you don’t resolve drafts or air leaks. In most cases, they can be found in doorjambs, windowsills and vents, so inspect them thoroughly and carefully. When you find drafts in areas that are not movable, cover them up with foam sealant or silicone caulking. For movable areas, use weather-stripping.
Welcome sunlight into your home.
Instead of preventing the sun’s heat from entering your home, use it to your advantage. Opening your window treatments and letting sunlight into your home is the simplest way to make it warmer without increasing your heating expenses.
Solar heating is also a good option you might want to look into. Unfortunately, while the sun is one of the most widely used sources of alternative energy, it cannot be the ultimate answer to your heating problems on its own. At best, it might be able to supply up to 80 percent of your heating needs during winter. For maximum efficiency, you can consider replacing your current electricity system with a hybrid that combines solar power with another renewable source.
Being smart about heating can certainly help you save money and do wonders for the comfort of your home. Be sure to think about our tips and always be on the lookout for more ways to make the most of your home’s heating. And of course, feel free to browse our blog and discover more home improvement ideas you can use.
Brianna Kessell is a physical science enthusiast and a researcher concerned about how human actions affect the planet we live in. At the moment, she writes articles, poems, and white papers about sustainable heating and cooling system. She is also a forthcoming author of non-fiction books on Climate Change – the melting of Antarctic ice being the focus of her studies. When she’s not busy researching about critical environmental issues, she explores the mysteries of the rocky beaches of Bunga, NSW and enjoys its playful waves. Follow her on G+.