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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Prepare for Next Winter

For all the folks living in the Colder parts of the world you had better think ahead now to save later on your heating bills. If oil prices are this high now can you imagine what they will be like next winter? Some tips and advice for you below.

#1 Check out alternative heating sources other than Oil and Gas. Google search "alternative home heating" and see what comes up? I saw one web site that just happened to be a bussiness in the same city as me that offers all kinds of new and old sources that could save your freezing home next winter. Solar is becoming far more attractive than you ever thought. It isn't just for "Hippies" anymore, as they used to say. I came across a website long ago that offered free plans to build your own solar window heater for less than a hundred dollars. If you are not mechanically inclined then you can purchase one from an alternative energy web site and have it installed by them or a local contractor. One unit on a sunny day can heat up to 1000 square feet.

#2 Look into the insulation of your home. Check for your area online to see what is recommended in your area. Spend a weekend and go down to Home Depot or Lowes or your local home improvement center and insulate your attick yourself. Or get your adult children to volunteer to help out. Insulate the joists in the ceiling of your basement. Make sure if you insulate the basement that you wrap the exposed pipes with insulating foam or other products out there.

#3 Get your current system looked at and have a regular maintenance plan. Most calls for an annual system check are reasonable if you keep the heating system maintained. All heating systems need regular maintenance regardless of what you may have heard to the contrary. Hire a professional to come into your home and get it inspected and any parts that might need replacing replaced now. Better now then when it is ten below and it kicks the bucket. If your system is more than fifteen years old it is an absolute must to have it checked annually.

#4 Install a programmable thermostat! This will save you a bundle on heating your home. Why heat the house when your are not there? Their are so many options out there to choose from and all the home improvement stores have them. They are simple to install and even simpler to program. If I can replace my one dial model with the new one then so can you. Read the directions that comes with it and just do it.

#5 Take the air conditioners out of the windows! How many of us are guilty of this one. Yes, I'm raising my hand. When you leave an air conditioner in the window you might as well just leave the window open several inches all winter. Pull it out and don't try and go the easiest route by getting a cover for it. The window is still open! There is probably not a cover out there that will give you a perfect air tight seal.

#6 Look into energy efficient replacement windows. This one is more costly but really does not have to be if you know some friends that are construction savy. Most home improvement stores offer new windows. They also offer contractors to install them if you can't do it yourself or know friends that can. Most of your homes heat will go through the windows. If they are not tight and sealed well that is the quickest way out for your heating dollars. If you can not afford to replace your windows or live in a rented apartment or home then get the plastic up on all the windows!

#7 Look into replacing your current heating system if it is more than fifteen years old. This one is big bucks in cost but long term huge savings. Google search it before you call someone about looking at your home heating replacement. New systems have energy efficiency requirements that the government required after certain dates. Some companies went beyond the requirements and consumers that can afford them benefit. If your gas boiler system is twenty years old it probably could have a 45% to 75% efficiency rating. There are new boilers out there that are 95% efficient or higher. Oil burners have come a long way and are still improving. Efficiency ratings are climbing to compare with gas fired systems. I have a gas system so I'm limited on what oil burners have done lately.

Then there are ground pump heating systems that take the constant temperature of the earth and circulate the water through your heating system. Very expensive for new installations but again huge savings.

The list of new possibilities for your home are up to you but alternatives to your main heating system are out there. Just look on line for them.

#8 Install a woodstove or coal stove or woodpellet stove or corn stove. We installed a wood pellet stove several years ago and love it. Google or Yahoo search "Wood Pellet Stove" to see what they are all about. It is not an entire home heating system replacement for us. It takes the edge off the cold in the house and mainly heats our huge living room and three bedrooms upstairs. The gas still kicks on when it gets below ten degrees but for the most part it heats our family home to our liking. The cost to buy it and install was about $2500 and we were able to vent it right out the wall so we did not have to install a chimney. Word of warning, wood pellet stoves are becoming more and more popular in the northeast and wood pellets are at a premium. Availability has not kept up with demand. Wood pellet manufacturers are expanding as fast as they can but could not keep up with demand this past winter. Wood pellets are available at most Home Depot and Lowes and other retailers that deal with home heating stoves.

That is my speal on home heating tips to help the folks. I hope you take caution with your families and make sure that your home is warm and affordable next winter.


Please feel free to link this blog spot to your website to help the folks everywhere out next winter.
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Blogger Admittedlyinferior-HeF said...

Nice blog, you did a great job on it. You can also visit this new site on Wood Burning Stoves it's an interesting site too.

4:39 AM  

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