4 - 2011

Brr! Low-Cost Solutions to Heat Your Home


photo by Hans S

The following is a guest post from Mandy Woods about heating your home this winter. There’s lots of information in the Cheap Like Me archives about staying warm in winter, from our Weekend Winterizing project archives for tips, to an overview on saving on heating bills. Please share your money-saving methods in the comments section!

In these tough economic times, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs and save money. While many things just cannot be cut out, like water, electricity, gas and food, it is possible to cut down on the cost of these necessities. One necessity you can save a bundle on is heating your home. From space heaters to solar power, there are a variety of ways to heat your home. Besides saving you money alternative heating methods to are often more efficient than central heating and burn clean, allowing you to be more environmentally friendly.

Electric Space Heaters

The most obvious and practical method of lowering your heating cost is to use electric space heaters. There is no reason to heat your entire house if you and your family are only spending time in one or two rooms. Small electric space heaters are a great solution. They are affordable as they usually start at around $20 and sometimes they go on sale for less. Similarly, they are small and can easily be stored in a closet when not in use. Space heaters will heat a single room much quicker than the central heat will warm your entire home. Space heaters are also generally very energy efficient.

Fireplaces and Wood Burning Stoves

Another simple and inexpensive way to heat your home is to use a fireplace or wood burning stove. You can buy wood and fireplace logs relatively cheaply or you can always go out and chop your own wood for free. Also, a lot of times people gave away extra fire wood for free. Look in the newspaper classifieds! Cheap here: Or you can roll unneeded newspapers into firewood — newspaper recycles easily, but doesn’t have much life left, so you can save money and reduce your trash/recycling pile while heating your home.

Vent-Free Propane Heaters

You can also heat your home with vent-free propane heaters. Propane is well-known for burning hot and clean. Only a small amount of propane is required to produce a lot of heat, so you will not go through a lot of it. One propane heater can heat 1,000 square feet. That means two heaters can easily heat an average sized home. Vent-free propane heaters work by heating the air then circulating it for optimal heat distribution throughout your home. These propane heaters can be easily hooked up to an outdoor propane tank or can be hung on the wall. One big advantage of using propane heaters in your home is that they do not require any electricity. So when the power goes out, your heat does not.

Solar Power

Solar power is good, environmentally friendly option. It’s free, clean, and available every day. You don’t have to live in an overly warm and sunny climate to take advantage of solar power. The costs of solar power systems have come down more than 80 percent over the past two decades as more people choose to go solar.

Geothermal Heating Systems

You can also opt to purchase a geothermal heating system, which uses the same kind of compressor system that extracts heat from a refrigerator. These systems do use some electricity, but it is a lot less than what you would use to run an electric central heating system. Geothermal heating systems are also much better for the environment. Geothermal heating systems can be a great way to save on both heating and cooling costs, although the installation cost can scare off some people.

As energy costs continue to increase, so does the demand for alternative heating. Thus, now is the perfect time to invest in alternative heating, as companies are at their most competitive. Take the time to explore all of your options, and surely you will be able to find one that is best for your situation.

Mandy Woods is a content writer for Home Insurance, where you can research, comparison, and get home insurance quotes that fit your needs. In her free time, Mandy enjoys playing tennis, reading, and spending time with her daughter.

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