5 energy-efficient heating options for your home

| October 29, 2013

When the temperatures plummet, it’s tempting to go running for the thermostat. Unfortunately, the way we choose to heat our homes has a significant environmental impact. Fortunately, maintaining a green lifestyle doesn’t have to leave you in the cold. Consider one of these energy-efficient heating options for your home.

1. Pellet stoves

energy-efficient heating

A pellet stove. From jb.

You may recall keeping warm near grandma’s wood stove. While wood stoves are rare in modern households, there’s a new generation of stoves heating things up for smart homeowners.

Pellet stoves burn “pellets” made of either compressed biomass or compressed wood. They burn longer than traditional wood stoves and don’t require the feeding and poking and prodding characteristic of wood stoves. A storage container slowly adds fuel to the fire as needed, making this a low maintenance choice.

With a pellet stove churning out heat in a frequently used room, you can keep your thermostat lower, saving money and the environment.

2. Energy-efficient heaters

Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems are more readily available than ever. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers the ENERGY STAR program, which promotes environmental efficiency and gives “certifications” to qualified vendors and products.

If you’re considering a new or upgraded HVAC system for your home, spend the time to conduct up-front research in order to find a provider in your area that offers ENERGY STAR-rated heaters.

3. Space heaters

Many people spend the money — and environmental capital — to heat their entire house constantly with a central heating system when they could easily take the heat with them.

Space heaters offer personalized warmth and comfort at a fraction of the cost (both monetary and environmental) of central heating. If you work from home, bring a space heater into your office. If you’re curled up in front of the TV at night, the space heater can curl up with you (okay, not literally — that’s a fire hazard).

A space heater may not replace your central heating system (after all, you do still need to find a way to keep those pipes from freezing) but it should allow you to keep your thermostat set to a lower point.

4. Solar panels

Think solar panels are too elaborate and cost prohibitive for your home? Think again. Solar panels are increasingly popular among the masses due to the positive environmental impact and the potential for long-term cost savings.

It’s true that you’d need to make a significant investment in a solar panel system in order to be able to heat your entire house full-time. However, many homeowners opt to install smaller-scale systems to offset energy costs.

energy-efficient heating

Residential solar panels. From ConstructionDealMktng.

Another way to cut down on the initial investment: >consider buying a solar panel kit and doing the installation yourself.

5. Geothermal systems

Ready to completely overhaul the way you heat your home? You can’t get much more energy efficient than a full geothermal system. This approach requires a bit of digging — and a lot of dough up-front.

Installing a geothermal system involves threading a pipe into the ground on your property. The pipe uses water to cycle heat back and forth between the ground and your home.

Bonus: a geothermal system can both heat and cool your home as needed. A geothermal system is typically close to 50% more efficient than gas furnaces. Plus, the ground offers a consistent, reliable source of heat (unlike wind or solar energy which are weather-dependent), so this is a rock solid choice if you have the capital to invest.

Don’t forget

Whichever method you choose, make sure your home is ready to take the heat. Consider double-paned, energy-efficient windows and make sure that any potential leaky areas in your home are sealed up tight.

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About the Author ()

Ellen Hunter Gans has been writing for RecycleReminders since the blog’s inception. She is passionate about words, new media and, of course, recycling.

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