Nontraditional Ways to Heat Your Home

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Nontraditional Ways to Heat Your Home

Are you looking for an alternative to heating your home in the usual ways? Whether you’re looking for systems to install on a new construction or for ways to enhance your existing home’s heating capacity, there are several options you might consider.

Here are some of the top alternative heating systems on the market today. 

Wood Burning Stove

The grand daddy of alternative heating systems is the wood-burning stove. Burning wood for heat is older than civilization itself and feels like a completely natural method. People love the simplicity and nostalgia of these systems.

However, it’s important to recognize that wood-burning stoves produce tremendous amounts of particulate pollution. According to Treehugger.com, “Even an EPA certified low emission stove puts out enough fine particle pollution in 2.5 days as a car does in a year.” If your goal is to go off the grid because you care about the environment, a wood burning stove might not be the solution you’re looking for. 

Pellet Stove

A pellet stove is similar to a wood-burning stove but has lower emissions and runs off a convenient thermostat. The fuel for these stoves is small pellets made from waste material or easily renewable resources like sawdust or switchgrass, which tend to also be exceptionally clean-burning.

Fans help circulate the warm air from the stove. The downside to pellet stoves is that they need to be cleaned regularly and their sophisticated design means they have to be well-maintained by a professional if you want them to last. 

Masonry Heaters

Another alternative heating system is the masonry heater. They are very compact and extremely efficient, producing more heat and less pollution than either the pellet or wood stove. A masonry heater looks like a traditional fireplace and is built to trap heat efficiently.

The unit typically burns wood, but at a slower rate than a traditional wood burning stove, and directs the resulting heat through the brickwork. The hot bricks release their heat into your home very slowly, over a period of 12 to 24 hours. 

Passive Solar Heating

Passive solar power is an ideal heat source in many ways. Unlike many systems, once the solar system is installed, you might enjoy free heat every month. The downside is that solar installations can be very expensive.

If your location gets plenty of sun and you’re currently spending money on expensive fuel like oil heating, solar could be a very good option for you. And if you diligently seal in the heat generated by your solar system, you could have free heat for life. 

Heating the Person, Not the Room

Whatever method you choose, you can supplement your system by thinking about keeping people warm instead of rooms. Wearing slippers or a sweater, curling up under an afghan, or keeping a space heater nearby are all ways to keep people warm even if the room is a bit chilly. 

If you’re looking for ways to go completely off the grid, expect to spend several thousand dollars up front to purchase and install a good alternative system. After that, your energy costs should drop significantly. 

Editorial Team
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