Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happy Heating

I don't know about where you live, but here it is getting downright chilly at night. The heater is starting to get warmed up for the busy winter season.

With winter nipping at our toes, here are some helpful hints to make your heating experience greener.

1. So, think you'll be saving some cash this winter by using that fireplace? Did you know that fireplaces are, on average, only 10% efficient? That means they lose 90% of their heat through the chimney, which may not make this such a good idea after all. If you must burn, consider ecobrics. They are made with compressed sawdust and are less harmful on our atmosphere. Burning longer is also a plus.

2. Here's an easy, low-cost, no brainer... it is actually zero cost. Since most of a home's heat is lost through the windows, pull those drapes closed at night!

3. Speaking of windows, storm windows can save up to 50% of heat!

4. It also helps to have any leaks or cracks fixed. If you have a broken seal on your window, or you can see light gaping through the door and the frame, you probably have a little work to be done. Don¹t overlook outlets!

5. The last tip for today is to spread the wealth. A fan set at low can keep the air moving at eye level instead of trapping all that good heat in the ceilings or in unused spaces.

Here are 3 even bigger ways to step it up:
1. Harness the sun. ­ There are a couple of ways to harness the unrelenting power of the sun: solar panels and solar water. There are many more tax rebates available for installing such energy savers, and the costs to build are getting much cheaper. Many homes have an option for one or both ways to capture and store the sun¹s energy, and it's easier than it ever was before.

2. Solar panels not in your future? If not, you can upgrade your current furnace and/or water heater. Today¹s models are much more efficient, potentially saving electricity, gas and water. You may want to have a handyperson give your old units a quick look through, as they may just need a minor tweak or two to operate at a very acceptable 78% efficiency.

3. Gooooo Geothermal! The stats from Treehugger¹s post about geothermal are so staggering, I¹m pasting them below (mostly word for word):
While a 3-ton geo system at $7,500 compares with $4,000 for a traditional HVAC
system, a geo system could save around $700/yr., paying for itself in less
than six years, not even counting the lower maintenance costs as well as the
government rebates and incentives available. Over 1 million homes in the US
use geo-exchange systems, saving 9 billion pounds of CO2 per year.

As the days get shorter and the nights get cooler, don¹t mind the brown of the trees and the white of the snow; just keep thinking green.

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