How do you heat your home?

Discussion in Heating started by Timetrvlr • Oct 5, 2014.

  1. Timetrvlr

    TimetrvlrMember

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    How do you heat your home, oil, gas, electric or by some other means? However you heat, I’ll bet it’s expensive and becoming more so every year! At this time of year, we still have time to consider our heating choices and figure out ways to save on the heating bill.

    Have you considered diversifying your heating? A lot of people I know, particularly seniors, are installing pellet stoves in their living rooms to do the bulk of heating. I took a different route and installed a heat pump that provides heat in cool weather and air conditioning in hot weather. There are probably many other ways of diversifying the heating costs that I’m not aware of.

    Many here may not be familiar with pellet stoves that are quite popular in BC but relatively unknown elsewhere. They are stoves that burn little pellets of wood made from waste sawdust. The pellets are sold by the bag or by the ton, depending on your requirements. The stove uses a tiny little screw-type of auger to feed a few pellets at a time to a burner dish. The initial pellets are ignited by a hot electric element to get the fire started and then a blower feeds air to the flame that ignites all the incoming pellets as they reach the burner dish. Another blower forces hot air from the Firebox into the room. These stoves burn with about 80% efficiency releasing very little heat up their chimney and no smoke. Pellet stoves have a hopper on the back to store pellets. Pellet stoves are much safer, cleaner and more efficient than traditional wood stoves.

    Another method popular here is a backyard boiler system fueled by wood. This is great if you either have a ready supply of logs or can have them delivered cheaply. The boiler unit is manufactured as a complete unit and looks a bit like a small shed. The boiler is located at least 100' away from The House (a large lot is a requirement) for fire safety reasons. It will supply all of the homes hot water needs and heating needs. Check out the classified ads in Popular Mechanics or Google "Hot Water Boilers" for more information.
     
  2. JessiFox

    JessiFoxActive Member

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    We have electric heating, though the costs are just included in our base rent price, so I honestly don't give it as much thought as I'm sure I would otherwise. Still, I'm always looking for ways to be thrifty and keep costs down, just good things to know in my opinion- not to mention it's good to have options in case you're ever without power during a bad winter storm.
     
  3. DreekLass

    DreekLassWell-Known Member

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    I am quite ashamed to say that I am not quite so sure? I know that we have a heating system, and that there is a portable timer that can be moved from room to room and set. It'll turn the heating on or off, or set it for a certain time. We used to have a built in timer that was built into the wall, but we have since gotten a portable one.

    I am not entirely sure as to whether or not the fire applies. But it runs on gas. Those are the devices that we use to keep our home clean, and I would guess that we use both electrical heating system as well as gas.
     
  4. wulfman

    wulfmanActive Member

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    Since I live in a hot climate presently and it only gets moderately cold in the winter we use electric space heaters. For hot water we use gizzards which again are heated by electricity. Back in New York we used oil and had a boiler in the basement.
     
  5. Amanda K

    Amanda KActive Member

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    We have a gas furnace, but the cost quickly gets out of hand. We only run it when it's extremely cold. Mostly, we use electric heaters with an oil core. I picked a couple of those up at yard sales. They are energy-efficient and provide warmth for a small room.
     
  6. Timetrvlr

    TimetrvlrMember

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    Amanda K Call your gas company and ask them to come check out your furnace and adjust the pilot. I think they will do it free or for a nominal service charge. Natural gas heating should be your lowest-cost option unless there is a problem with your furnace which might be easily corrected by adjustment. Talk to the service guy they send out, pump him for information. It may be that your furnace is so antiquated that it's incapable of being efficient. If so, there may be some substantial government incentives to trade it in on a new high-efficiency one that will substantially drop your gas bills.
     
  7. Amanda K

    Amanda KActive Member

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    Oh, our furnace is circa 1950 and the local utilities department has been pressing our landlord to have them replaced for years. We save a lot of money on rent by living in the old building that we do. The furnace is the landlord's responsibility and opportunity for incentives. Unfortunately, I can't persuade him to upgrade. I think it's the thermostat and not the furnace. It basically has two settings: on and off. Virginia winters are usually brief enough that we can make it through by only using the furnace on really cold nights. I live on the top floor, too, so I benefit from my neighbors' heat. Our local utilities department is TERRIBLE and only responds to emergencies. I have been owed a refund for almost a year and have been calling every week for the last two months to no avail.
     
  8. kbroder9

    kbroder9Member

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    Thankfully my apartment comes with heat included. It's radiators, so can't set an exact temperature, but I have two and you can turn them on or off. Plus if it gets too hot (which is almost always the case because it's never too cold), I can at least just open a window. I used to have electric heat only and it was so expensive, even for just a two-bedroom apartment. Would love to have a furnace one day, but until then in apartment living, limited options!
     
  9. kwriter93

    kwriter93Member

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    I live in a really small one bedroom, open floor plan, studio apartment. For me, I like to use a normal space heater. It heats my entire apartment up within an hour or two. In fact, it often gets so warm that I have to turn the heater off. I also have the option of a wall unit that not only provides AC (cool air), it provides warmth as well. I don't use it as much, because it's a rather large unit and can be pretty costly to run in lieu of the small space heater. My dad used to use a wood stove in his house and it provided well enough heat, it cost him some labor of cutting and stacking wood in the summer time, but it cut down on his power costs dramatically throughout the winter. I think one year he said his power bill was only about $40 a month throughout the cold months. Pretty impressive.
     
  10. remnant

    remnantActive Member

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    I have really appreciated the description of the pellet stove. We live in the tropics where weather changes are not drastic. During cold weather and in the evenings, most people use charcoal stoves to heat their rooms which are becoming untenable due to the cost of charcoal. People have diversified and are increasingly using briquettes which are more affordable and last longer. The funny thing is that in most areas, the problem is how to cool their rooms rather than heating them!