Deciding on Alternative Heat Sources for Your Home

When the wind begins to whip at your face and your fingers and toes start feeling like miniature ice cubes you know the cold weather is here and turning on the heat is not far away. Typically people heat their home by oil or natural gas and as both are these are rising this can become a financial headache.

There are alternative heating source out there but you should take your time and investigate which sources are right for you or even if you really want to change your present heating system or just do a few life style alterations. Keep in mind these ideas are in addition to and not replacement of, your current heating system.

Lets begin by listing the possibilities:

· Wood stove
· Pellet stove
· Corn stoves
· Coal stoves
· Solar panels

Remember, no matter what decision you make, take the time to investigate thoroughly. Talk to neighbors, friends and family. Browse the Internet, as it is a wealth of information. Definitely contact several contractors – have them come to your home to assist you in the decision of size and location as well as an estimate of cost. Between the cost and installation the first year savings might be nil or a break even at best, the future years you will be thanking yourself.

Wood stoves…

It is extra work as you will need to stack wood and load the stove but it does emit heat that can warm not only the bones but also the sole. Stroke it up in the morning and keep it burning all day and the home will obtain cozy warmth smothered in atmosphere. As an added perk, if the power goes out you still have heat.

Newer stoves are more efficient and burn clean. Quite different than the “olden days ones” where they stored up creosote and were not only dirty but dangerous as well. The New stoves are easy to operate. The beauty of it is that they are beautiful now. They are smaller, more attractive with accents, stone inlays, porcelain, enamel and tile and painted many different colors! Check out the new fireplace insert that fit into the your already there hearth.

Even if you spend between $500 and $700 a season for cords of wood it would be an enormous savings.

Pellet stoves…

Are becoming quite the things as they are considered an environmental jewel. Pellets are created from recycled wood waste, burn cleanly and a snap to fill the stove. They can be “heat controlled” by adjusting the amount of pellets. The one thing to keep in mind with a pellet stove is that it runs on electricity so if the power goes out, so does the stove.

The upside is that it burns clean, creates little or no dust and has no smell. Pour the pellets, light it and your good to go. You can leave it all day and still come home to a toasty home.

Pellets cost about $160 per ton and the average use is 2 to 3 tons a season.

Corn stoves…

Yes, you read right and understood correctly. Corn burning stoves with dried corn kernels! Corn apparently is an excellent source of heat. It burns a good deal cleaner than wood and does not ooze hazardous chemicals into the air. Stoves are easy to operate, taking approximately 2 minutes a day to keep up. It doesn’t pollute, and puts oxygen into the atmosphere while it grows.

They too are attractive and can be free standing or come as a fireplace insert. Easy to install, virtually smoke free and is safe with no creosote, or detrimental fumes. They are 20% hotter than wood, simple to light and thermostatically controlled to heat your home for up to 48 hours!

A couple of things to think about – Electricity needed and freestanding stove or space heaters have exposed metal parts. This is important if there are children around.

Guesstimate – to supply one million BTU’s of heat to the house costs $10.63 when this stove operates at 60% efficiency, burning corn at $2.50 per bushel. An average older home requires almost 100 million BTU’s. Keep in mind price charged per bushel of corn may vary from the market price when small quantities are purchased.

Coal stove….

I cant emphasis my opinion on this enough! Using coal to heat a home is harmful to the health of the inhabitants. You have increase risk of respiratory illnesses such as asthma and emphysema. I feel it is not a healthy way to heat a home not to mention you are placing your neighborhood in jeopardy as toxins from the coal stove shoot into the air.

Solar power…

People have been looking at the sun for years in saving energy and as a heating source.

There are basically 2 ways of solar heating a home and you must remember that it relies on the sun. Fundamentally, you either use collectors mounted on the roof of your house or positioned somewhere strategically in the yard to heat water and/or you use solar panels to heat the air.

It is more expensive and a considerable initial investment. However you are investing in the future when doing solar.

Whichever type of alternate heating you decide on …choose wisely and keep in mind what is best for you and your family.

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