When temps dip outside, it's nice to cozy inside, but heating your home comfortably can sometimes be expensive. Break out a blanket and stumble onto the sofa with some hot cocoa while looking for some ways to stay warm without breaking the bank.
Cheap heating is about efficiency
"Cheap" goes hand in hand with efficiency, especially when we talk about home heating. If you want to save money with an upgrade of the heating system, you must prepare your house. A home market audit can identify things to address, such as leaking windows and doors or improved insulation.
Professional analysis can give you about $ 1
Low-cost ways to seal things
Common places to get into drafts are windows, doors and all access points such as pipes, chimneys and attics. Weather stripping and re-closing around doors and windows are both inexpensive and simple methods, providing a protective barrier between you and the cold.
Install thermal curtains and keep them closed to retain heat. They do not work well if you prefer to let in natural light during the dark winter months. If you can't stand the thought of not being able to admire your winter garden landscape, you can try using transparent window film, which lets you look outside while keeping the cool air out.
If your DIY interests lean more toward the crafty side, try sewing your own door worm, AKA door stopper – a weighted pipe that rests at the bottom of the door to keep the heat in. If you have other DIY projects you would rather do instead of sitting at a sewing machine, use a tightly rolled towel for similar results. A fireplace without a proper sealing smoke is another chance to test your skills. Try making your own cardboard chimney balloon and bubble wrap so you can avoid spending $ 50 for an inflatable one from the home improvement store. Don't forget to remove it if you want to use the stove!
We all know how important insulation is to keep your house cool in summer and warm in winter. These products come in four types: spray foam, blown, fiberglass batteries and reflective barriers. Everyone works well and has different price points. Final costs are significantly cheaper for DIYers, but as with all large companies, take into account your specific requirements such as budget, the area you insulate and the R value of your home.
Each of these can constitute a limitation to your project. For example, installing a reflective barrier may be the cheapest option for the 500 square meter attic, but this type of insulation is more effective in warmer climates where they reduce radiant heat rather than curb it. Your cost can easily be doubled if you choose this material, only to find that it would be more effective when used in conjunction with another type of insulation.
Types of Heat Systems
Passive solar systems use no mechanical devices such as fans, pipes or pumps, and they do not need any electricity to drive. These systems use the sun's heat, which is absorbed via concrete floors, brick walls or other internal thermal mass. As the sun flows through south-facing windows, floors gather and heat the heat during the day and release it at night. It is important that windows are low e-rated and the area is airtight and well insulated.
Incorporating a passive solar system into a new building is much easier than trying to add one to an existing home because the entire house can be designed with respect to the system. While it is possible to add passive solar energy to an existing home, it is easiest to do so in the form of an addition such as a sun room or an extra window sill on the south-facing house.
Solar hot air systems are often used to supplement an existing heating system. They use solar collectors mounted on south facing walls. When the temperature reaches a set point, it activates a fan that draws cooler air from the house into the collector where it is heated and cycled back into the house. These systems are inexpensive and quite easy to install as long as you know where the electrical lines and plumbing are located.
Efficient, long-lasting and low maintenance solar heating systems cause significant problems for your money. Before starting the project, it is wise to consult with a professional installer who can give you an idea of the size of the system you need to heat your home.
Heat pumps, whether they are conductive or ducted, air sources or ground sources (aka geothermal systems), are a popular heat source for its energy efficiency and low environmental impact. They run on electricity, so you are not entirely dependent on fossil fuels, but since these fuels are not burned in your home, you do not run the risk of indoor air pollution.
An added benefit of this system is its ability to cool the home during the warmer months. The initial investment can be high, with the geothermal systems much more expensive as they require duct work in the house and the excavation for piping deep into the ground. It pays you back in savings on your electricity bill harvested during the years of use.
Boilers or ovens have dramatically increased in efficiency over the years. If installed with direct venting in combustion chambers, both air pollution and cold air infiltration are both significantly reduced. Although both a boiler or an oven can be electric, they can also be oil or gas, so before you decide on these options because of their use of fossil fuels, remember that they are also much more efficient today, and use a lot less of these fuels than their predecessors ever did.
A wood stove may sound like an old modern alternative, but modern wood stoves are developed to produce less air pollution, and often designed with a fan that circulates the hot air for improved heating efficiency. Homeowners who have access to firewood on their property can contribute to the renewability of their resources by planting trees after harvest. Cost and energy efficiency aside, wood burning stoves tend to produce more air pollution than any of the other renewable energy heaters, and are significantly more work on the week's maintenance to remove the ash.
Even better, wood burning stoves offer one-two punch to heat your home while you cook!
Add a programmable thermostat at a low cost for high repayment. It lets you set the temperature for your work and sleep schedules so you don't stop heating the house while you're away, and set it to cooler temps while you sleep. And don't forget to get some energy bills to help pay the cost of your new system.