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Nine Green Home Heating Alternatives to Start Working on for this Winter

Updated on October 31, 2012
 

September is here which means that summer is over and fall is just around the corner. Although the sun is still shining warmly in most parts of the United States today, the months of needing to heat our homes are practically upon us. Most people want to do what they can to keep their heating bills down this winter which means looking at alternative methods of home heating that we might not have considered so carefully in the past. Although cost is a main motivating factor inciting people to make a change to their home heating this year, there is also the added benefit that alternative heating methods tend to be better for the earth - something that is important to most of us in today's eco-conscious society.

Here are nine different alternatives methods of heating the home which may help lower your total heating costs while acting friendly to the earth around you:

  • 1. Get the home ready for winter. One of the leading reasons that people end up wasting a lot of energy on heating their homes during the winter is because their homes are not really ready for the winter season. If there isn't proper caulking at your windowsills or there are other areas where the cold can get in then you are going to end up not just heating your home but also heating the outdoors. Take the time to go through your home now while it's still warm out and make sure that it's updated and insulated for winter. Reducing energy waste is a great green alternative when it comes to heating the home.
  • 2. Upgrade to better windows in the home. This is related to the first solution but is specific to attending to the windows in the home. Replacing all of your existing windows with eco-conscious double-paned glass windows can make your home more green while reducing the loss of heat during the wintertime. It's something to think about as you are updating your home for the winter.
  • 3. Use the fireplace. If your home has a fireplace that you almost never use then you may want to think about making it useful this year. You can get wood scraps from someone who does urban harvesting so that the wood you are using is wood that would need to be recycled anyway. Making small improvements to your fireplace (such as adding fireplace inserts to improve efficiency) can make this a viable method of heating the entire home without costing you too much. Even adding a fireplace may be a good option in some homes.
  • 4. Wood stove and wood stove alternatives. Historically one of the methods used to heat a home wasn't a fireplace but rather a wood-burning stove which is more effective than the fireplace because of the fact that it is centralized in the home. This can be a costly addition to a home but there are some alternatives emerging on the market that are meant for the cost-conscious modern consumer. One example of this type of alternative is the pellet stove which heats up the whole home in a manner similar to that of a woodstove without actually requiring the burning of the natural resource of wood (although it does involve the use of some electricity).
  • 5. Heat your home with biodiesel. For those people who are truly interested in green methods of home heating then the most popular choice right now could be the choice to use biodiesel to heat the home. You can probably find it in your area by looking for a place that sells it for cars. Learn more about this alternative here.
  • 6. Install a radiant heating system. This is considered to be one of the greenest modern heating methods available on the market to the average home owner. It isn't cheap or easy to install this system so most people will find it more inconvenient than beneficial. But knowing that you can save up to forty percent on your heating bills over time may inspire you to go ahead and make the investment now. Learn more about radiant heating here.
  • 7. Install a ground source heat pump. Geothermal heat pumps use a network of underground tubes to tap into the warmth of the earth underneath you and bring it into your home. The home gets heated naturally and the earth benefits. You can benefit, too, in some areas because there are tax breaks for the installation of this type of system in the home.
  • 8. Install a solar heating system. This is another one of those methods that is going to be costly to begin with and yet is likely to ultimately be beneficial in the end. There is a lot to be said for the use of solar power even though it still really hasn't taken off as a mainstream heating method. Results of this vary depending on the area where you live and it's definitely something that's a big investment so you'll need to do your research into this option if it's a green home heating alternative that you think you might like to consider. Alternatively, some people implement passive solar heating in the redesign of the home to allow for maximum sun intake through windows and other important design techniques.
  • 9. Put on a sweater. Sometimes the simplest things really are the ones that are most effective. Many people have gotten used to just turning the heat up in their homes without a second thought. The reality is that adding another layer of clothing and an extra pair of socks to your standard around-the-house outfits in the winter can reduce the need to turn up the thermostat. This lowers your heating bill and reduces the amount of energy that you are wasting without causing you to go out of your way to make a big change to your home. Make sure to wash those extra clothes in cold water to maintain that cost savings!

These are the nine main things that you can do (big and small) to make your home more efficient in terms of its heating system this winter. Even those things that require some time and money are good to consider since they usually save your money (and your earth) in the long run.

Comments

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  • Erica K Wisner profile image

    Erica K Wisner 

    6 years ago from Oregon

    Nice summary. We do #1 and #9, but don't need the others because we use an earthen masonry heater. I Hubbed about them a few years ago: https://hubpages.com/living/Rocket-Mass-Heaters-Ef...

    Masonry heaters and passive-solar design are both ways to reduce your heating needs by a large amount, but they are harder to retrofit into an existing home.

    Under #1 I might also add, check vents and doors to stairwells. There are also some heat-exchanger ideas for capturing solar energy and pre-heating outside air for your home on the alternative energy forums at permies.com. Backwoods versions, but a commercial one could be a good business idea if anyone is talented that way.

  • profile image

    Party Bags 

    7 years ago

    That is really a must to do thing for the change of seasons.Hope you made it great.

  • NicoleSmith profile image

    NicoleSmith 

    7 years ago

    Thanks for the idea.

  • profile image

    plumbing 

    7 years ago

    More and more homeowners are becoming sensitive to the issue of global warming. There are many factors that contribute to global warming, and one of these factors, is home heating. Home heating is a need, especially for homes in colder countries.

  • profile image

    source heat pumps 

    7 years ago

    As the cost of energy keeps rising, more and more individuals are looking for alternative home heating answers. From using solar power to using the Earth’s natural heat source, people have the ability to stop using expensive fuels and instead use better burning and lower costing methods of heating.

  • profile image

    Peter 

    8 years ago

    Nice. Besides wood stoves, I like radiant floor heating.

  • profile image

    Tamarind 

    8 years ago

    I love the picture of the stove, and I love those stoves too. Great hub. Thanks for the info.

  • justinskier profile image

    justinskier 

    8 years ago

    Great! Check out my hub. I built a free heat machine, and teach how to do 1 yourself. It's super easy!

  • profile image

    Energy Self Sufficient 

    8 years ago

    You would not believe how just changing the windows can make your home more energy efficient. I did that at my parents place and their heating bill went down by 15% this winter. A lot of heat escapes that way.

    Great hub. I liked your nice points. They were all good things to remember.

    -Wesley

  • HalogenHeater profile image

    HalogenHeater 

    8 years ago

    Great info! I would like to suggest another option as far as green heating goes, halogen heaters. They are both green and safer that traditional space heaters. When put in only the rooms you occupy, you have a massive decrease in energy consumption. Take a look here for more http://www.halogenheater.net

  • profile image

    Whichburner 

    9 years ago

    Hey MultiFuel Stoves can be a very cost effective purchase, especially if you get a Stove with a Boiler, check out

    http://www.whichwoodburningstoves.co.uk

    Keep the Home Fires Burning!

  • profile image

    Lisa McGrimmon 

    10 years ago

    Great tips. I live in Canada, and it gets seriously cold here in the winter time. Pair that with the fact that I live in a leaky old home, and cutting heating costs is a big priority. My husband and I managed to cut our heating bills by about 25% last year (despite rising heating costs) by simply spending more time upstairs during the colder months.Heat rises, and the difference in temperature between our upstairs and downstairs is amazing. If we were watching TV in the evening, we'd just watch upstairs instead of downstairs. There was less temptation to turn up the thermostat because it was already noticeably warmer upstairs.

  • profile image

    Eddie Perkins 

    10 years ago

    This is extremely interesting. I like the way you share a wide range of options even to wearing a second layer of clothes. Thumbs up and Stumble. Thank you. ~ eddie

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