Winters can be really costly if you spend all your money on heating bills. According to Your Home, your heating and cooling systems are responsible for about 40% of your total household energy use. This leads to huge energy bills more than most of us anticipate. So, how can you cut back on the heating costs and still stay warm this winter? Installing high efficiency heating and cooling technologies, modest building improvements, and small changes in your behavior can reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions considerably. Insulation is of course the way to go. However, once you have your home well insulated, you should also think about investing in the heating system that is perfect for you. Heating systems are of many types. Let us take a look at some of these heating technologies that can have an impact on your energy bills.
Insulating your home is the best, easiest, and cheapest way to combat excessive heating or cooling. While most heating systems can heat the house pretty nicely, insulation helps you retain the heat inside the house. A poorly insulated house will not be able to hold the heat generated by the heaters. Hence, it is essential to properly insulate the house before putting on the heaters. If you’re building a new home or planning your home, adding home insulation in the early stages is the most cost-effective way to heat the house. Even for existing homes, proper insulation is the most efficient option. There are many different ways to insulate your home. Make sure you seal every leak and exit point like the windows, doors, leaky ducts, attics, etc.
Electric heaters convert electrical energy into heat energy. These heaters are of different types like radiant heaters, convector heaters, fan heaters, etc. Electric heaters are generally portable and can easily heat up small spaces. However, they are not very useful for large spaces or long periods of time. Fan heaters heat the air rather than heating your body. Convector heaters are not recommended for high ceilings as they cause the heated air to rise naturally which can be problematic. However, when buying electric heaters, it is important to check that they have thermostat or timers. Thermostat or timers can help you regulate the heaters to control the energy consumption and effectively lower your costs.
Ducted Heating Systems
In ducted gas heating systems, hot air is circulated in the house through the roof or under floor ducts, supplying convective heat. The source of the heat is either gas or a reverse cycle air conditioner. You should design the duct system to cover the most used areas of the house and allow for zoning so that you can control the heating of specific areas. Ensure the ducts are of correct size and have adjustable outlets. These systems can heat up your entire house in an effective and affordable way. When serviced and maintained properly, they are very durable and can last up to 15 years. They’re great for heating medium-sized spaces, and are exceptionally quick to heat up the area as well. Moreover, they emit one third of the greenhouse gas emissions compared to electric heaters.
Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners
Reverse cycle air conditioning is very effective in heating a space quickly and efficiently. And, they have relatively low power usage too. Hence, these systems are great for using in large and open plan spaces. However, you should opt for a system that is especially designed for the size of the room you intend to use it for. This prevents the motor from overworking to heat a larger room and burning out. Also, they are relatively easy to install and run. Split systems in reverse cycle are very effective in heating the area very quickly and you can also control the temperature. On the downside though, each of these systems require their individual condensers. So, if you install three units, you need to have enough space for three external fans as well. Moreover, they also require regular servicing for efficient functioning.
Woodfire heaters are probably one of the most traditional methods of heating up the home. Used since ancient times, these heaters are often in the form of wood burning stoves or fireplaces. Wood is an easily available source of energy. It is hence very economical and quite effective in heating up medium-sized spaces. These heaters look pretty and provide a cozy feel to the room. Sitting around a wood stove or fireplace, drinking coffee and reading a good book is the definition of chilling out! However, the upkeep required with these heaters can be quite hectic and time consuming. These heaters do emit a lot of smoke and its cleaning and maintenance can be a tricky affair.
As the name suggests, these portable heaters can be plugged-in wherever you need the heat. They require an electrical output and can heat only a small area. They are most useful in heating up small rooms and provide sufficient warmth. For those who cannot afford other types of heaters, this is the only viable option. They are also used in addition to alternative heating devices for extra heating as compared to other heaters, they are very cheap to buy and efficient for small spaces. However, they are not energy-efficient. Another drawback of these heaters is that they cannot heat large spaces and are also potentially dangerous. And they may be affordable to buy upfront, but the cost of electricity and maintenance can pile up pretty fast making them more expensive in the long run.
All the different types of heating systems have their own advantages and disadvantages. Ducted gas heating is one of the most commonly installed systems due to its design and ability to use single zones as needed. However, depending on where you live, your heating needs, the size of your home, and your budget, you should choose an option that is most cost-effective.