How do you heat your home and keep Heating prices low?

With natural gas prices rocketing sky high - what are you doing to keep your heating bills at a minimal? Any unique ideas to heat up your place without giving up your arm this coming winter?

Currently we have an air-forced duct system in place. I really hate it, the heat does not distribute evenly throughout the house and despite of having a so-called humidifier installed

into the system, we still have excessive dry air.

I really liked those old water based - radiator heaters, it minimized static and really kept homes warm -- whatever happen to those?

Anyway, give me ideas on how to maintain a nice warm house this winter, I do not want to make this a major project -- keep it nice and simple.

I also have two non-working fireplaces in this old house, I don't have the slightest idea how to use / maintain one. Currently there are sealed off, and if I get it going ... will it even be safe? will it be worth it ? Please share your ideas with me -- I am desperate! ~thanks

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best answer

    The house I own had no heating system other than a blower box on the fireplace when I bought it. Several thousand dollars later I had central heat with a heat pump in place. I thought all would be great, until I got my first heating bill. If I use that thing I can expect heating bills to range from $300-600 a month in the winter.

    SOOOoo I have become something of an obsessive about tricks and alternative heating sources.

    1. You would not believe how much outside air leaks into your house. Go around when it's cold and windy and put your hand over door cracks, keyholes in the knobs, window sills, even along the floor by the wall. If you can't plaster over the leak, tape it. All that cold air coming in just drives up your costs.

    2. A $4 flannel blanket from Walmart works wonders when hung over doorways that are not regularly used. I also hang them over windows as a cheap alternative to heavy drapery.

    3. Those fireplaces? Forget 'em. They'll suck out more heat than they put in. The only time a fireplace really does good is if you are either right in front of it, or you have a blower insert that forces the heat out into the house instead of sending it all up the chimney.

    4. I can't say enough about those $1.25 draft dodgers that you stick on the base of your doors. Just peel the backing and stick them on. Any hardware store or Walmart will have them.

    5. Insulation. When is the last time you checked it in your attic? You lose a LOT of heat through the ceiling, so a few hundred bucks worth of blown in insulation can save you thousands over a few years. You need at least 6 inches of insulation up there (I put in a foot!), so if it's all compressed down to a few inches, it's time to resupply.

    Look around, you'll find one of those radiators. I finally realized the heat pump was very efficient until the outside temp dropped below 45, then the meter nearly spun off it's base. So, I hooked up a free standing, vent free, propane fueled fireplace that will make the place toasty warm when the temp drops into the 30s or below.

    Avoid the temptation to get little electric space heaters. The energy they use up to make that little bit of heat is NOT worth it.

  • 1 decade ago

    Olivia,

    lot of good ideas on the drapes etc. If you do have windows that get noon day sun you do want to pull the shades if it isn't real windy outside. Direct sun warms carpets and couches etc. It keeps a little radiant heat for later in the day. Close the shades when the sun starts getting low.

    A fire place is a very IN-efficient heater. Other than those fitted with those blowers, a fireplace don't hardly do anything. Even with the blowers, they're pretty expensive to operate. Have to make sure they're clean, and then have lots of wood.

    Said you didn't want to spend a fortune. This is a bit expensive to install. There's these people that do these retrofits, where they install an iron stove, and run the vent up thru the old fireplace. You loose some living space, cause the stove is inside a few feet. Also have to have a metal protector for the floor, and an fence to keep old people, kids and drunks away from the stove. You'll get heat from every piece of wood, and it won't just go up the chimney. A stove radiates heat all around

  • 4 years ago

    1

    Source(s): Perfect Paleo Recipes Cookbook - http://PaleoCookbook.raiwi.com/?hnxY
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Here's some info I googled to see the best way to do this:

    make sure that all your doors and windows can be really closed tight. If not, order to repair them or seal the leaks yourself. Your objective is to eliminate all drafts you can. If a cold air can't get in, you will not lose energy heating it. Another important thing is either insulating your cellar too, or at least making the cellar doors well-insulated to prevent cold from entering your house from the ground.

    The energy use can be also limited by keeping your heating and cooling systems in good condition. If you fail to install new filters every few months and schedule your furnace maintenance every ten years instead of ever second year, you can expect that those systems' efficiency will be cut by half. Also, remember about checking the cooling system for coolant leaks regularly. If any of the systems you have is older than sixteen-twenty years, it is recommended to replace it - old technologies are usually much less efficient than modern solutions.

    Keep your thermostat in the area of your house which is far away from any really hot or cold places. Otherwise you risk your thermostat to excessively heat or cool your house basing on false readings. You may reduce the risk by installing a programmable Energy Star rater thermostat, but it is much better to get it installed in another place.

    If you make sure that your house is well-insulated, eliminate most of the drafts and keep your cooling and heating systems in prime condition, it's usually enough to reduce your bills by a half. If you want to do more than that, you may want to consider some additional means, like installing a heat pump or using a fireplace insert instead of real fireplace.

    Hopefully this info is of help and can be useful to you as well.

    Source(s): Online source: HOME::News-and-Society/Energy X Heat And Cool Your House For Less By Andrew W John
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  • 1 decade ago

    I agree with Jeremyduffy.com. The plastic sheets are good, and my dad told me to use them this winter, cos I live in a really cold house with no double glazed windows! Also, if you put foil behind any heaters next to walls, it can reflect the heat back into the room, rather than escaping through walls etc. This winter is going to be so cold for me, and I cant afford giant gas bills! I have the heating on for an hour in the morning, and off while Im out working, then an hour or two again in the evening...it stays warm for quite a while, and with plastic sheets and or foil, it will help even more! Hope u stay nice and warm! :)

    p.s. Try not to use the oven, as they make bills soar upward with costs!!! If you have a mocrowave make as much use of that as possible. Also if your house has an old boiler, it could be using too much gas, so a new one would be better and more efficient.

  • 1 decade ago

    I have gas forced air heat. My furnace gets inspected once a year by a licensed HVAC contractor. I have a wood burning fireplace that also gets inspected once a year. I change/clean my furnace filter once a month. I have new Energy Star window and doors. I will be placing more insulation in the attic later this month. If you don't have new windows I recommend the plastic window film on the inside of the window. I would also re-caulk the exterior of the window. Go around the house looking for drafts and address each accordingly. I have a full basement and heat the basement in the winter too. This keeps the entire house warm. I don't go out to eat that often so I make sure cooking heats up the house as well.

    Please don't use your fireplaces before having them inspected by a reputable company. Installing an electric blower on a fireplaces will also help heat the home.

  • 1 decade ago

    Your heating system may not be working correctly or your ducts are leaking. Have you had all this inspected, including the humidifier system. Usually the forced air system is used to both heat and cool your home, radiator and pipe are expensive. If central AC cooling is needed the radiators are not used. How efficient is your system, what type of system do you have? Heat and air systems are very complex and it is hard to make this nice and simple. Fireplaces! The flues need to be inspected with a camera. The dampers need to work correct. Sorry about all the question. I hope you can get some better answers.

    Bigfoot

  • L M
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Sometimes your local gas company might have a free energy evaluation this time of year to help you conserve energy in your home.

    They can make suggestions to enable a safe and warm energy efficient environment in your home.

    Having plants around the house and large pots of water on the stove does help add some moisture in the air during the winter months. I also find using the oven to cook helps warm up the house as well.

    Ceiling fans can helps distribute the heat and bring it back down where you are if you have high ceilings.

    It's a good idea to use down comforters (if you're not allergic) and quilts if your house tends to be drafty.

    I have Raynaud's Syndrome and my hands and feet get cold as soon as the temperature drops.

    I have an electric throw for my sofa and an electric blanket for my bed. At the very least, you can warm it up and then turn it off if you are concerned about using it constantly.

    Normal people who don't feel cold so quickly can dress warmer and turn down the thermostat.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    First make sure that the tuck pointing in & around your fireplace is up to snuff. That will keep alot of small cold wisps of air from flowing in your house. Also be sure that your windows are properly insulated so no cold air seeps in there either. If you can get a tower unit fan/heater you will be able to circulate the warm air around the house and with ease. And the humidifier doeasnt really work unless you have a BIG one. For the sake of keeping it simple boil a pot of water for about an hour...a stock pot is usually the best idea. If you don't want to do the boiling water thing..the only other alternative I know for certain that works is steaming the bathroom and let it out into the house. Steaming works because you can do it while your taking a shower or bath and its easy. Good luck. I hope this works out well for you. I had the same problems earlier this year.

    Source(s): Personal experience and Home Depot
  • irish1
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    We live in northern Canada, so this is the big question every fall.

    We have a wood/oil furnace and every fall we have it checked to make sure that all parts are working efficiently. We check doors to see if they hang properly, and if any of the weatherstripping is in need of replacement. Windows on the north side (prevailing winter wind side) of the house are covered in heavy clear plastic.

    In spite of all these precautions, there are days when the house can be cooler than is comfortable, so we also make sure of warm socks and slippers and warm comfortable clothing.

    If you want to use the fireplaces, get some knowledgable person to have a look at them and see if 1) they are safe to use and 2) if they would make any appreciable difference to heating the house. A fireplace that is not used and maintained properly is a disaster waiting to happen.

  • 1 decade ago

    Where I live there is a heating assistance program run by the county. It's call HEAP- A heating assistance program- check your city/town, county and state governmet to see if they have any such programs. Also some companies offer level billing.

    As far as what you can do now. Prepare your windows. make sure there are no cracks around the seals - inside and out. I would also suggest that you purchase some heavy weight curtains for the winter . but in the day time make sure they are open so the natural light can come in and keep the home fairly warm. set your heater on a timer to come on maybe one or two hours before you arrive home and shut it off when you are not in the house. If you are in a very cold region you would want to maintain a constant temp. in the home weither you are there or not to ensure that your pipes do not burst due to the the water freezing- if that is your case and point please leave the heat at maybe a 5 degree temp. drop when you are not present in the home.

    Well good luck and keep warm. when all else fails- electric blankets are a great back up.

    Source(s): my own exerience
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