If you've ever watched the winter weather forecast with dread, or tallied up the amount you were spending per day on oil or gas heat to keep your home at a habitable temperature, you may be wondering whether you have any lower cost heating options. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce your monthly heating bill that won't break the bank themselves. Read on to learn more about your oil and gas central heating alternatives.
Heat pumps are a highly energy-efficient way to heat and cool a home. These pumps operate on the same mechanical principle that keeps your refrigerator and freezer cold -- but instead of withdrawing heat from inside the refrigerator or freezer and venting it to the surrounding room, these heat pumps withdraw heat from the ground or outside air and pump it into your home. In the summer, heat pumps can withdraw warm, humid air from inside your home and vent it to the outside to keep your house cool.
If you already have the ductwork and other HVAC components from your central oil or gas heat, you'll need only to install the heat pump itself and connect it to your existing ductwork. If your other heater is functional, you may opt to sell it to the HVAC company that installs your heat pump, or sell it on the private market to help defray the costs of a new heat pump. Depending upon the size of your house and the rockiness of your surrounding soil, a heat pump can cost you an average of around $6,000 to purchase and install. However, this heat pump will help replace both your oil or gas furnace and your air conditioner, and can help save you thousands on your annual utility bills.
As long as you properly maintain your heat pump, you should be able to expect 20 to 25 years or more of useful life out of this heating and cooling system. When you take into account the reduction in utility bills along with the heater's long lifespan, you'll find that a heat pump is one of your most affordable heating alternatives.
Converting to biodiesel
If your furnace currently burns heating oil, you can lower your monthly bills by converting your heater to run on a biodiesel mix (or even straight biodiesel). Oil heaters generally operate by using a flame to combust the fuel source and produce heat, then using fans to diffuse this heat throughout the ductwork in your home. This heater provides oil to the flame, and as the oil is combusted your home becomes warmer.
Biodiesel is similar to the heating oil used in this system, but is available at a much lower cost than pure heating oil -- primarily due to the fact that it is recycled. Unlike heating oil, which generally has a crude base, biodiesel is composed of purified and recycled corn and soy oils, as well as animal, vegetable, and other types of natural fats. Many biodiesel furnace owners regularly visit several local fast food establishments to collect their waste oil, which can be easily and cheaply converted to biodiesel.
In order to convert your current oil furnace to run on biodiesel, all you'll need to do is slowly add biodiesel to your heating oil supply. As your heater becomes more accustomed to the biodiesel, you can increase the percentage of biodiesel in the fuel mix until you've reached a point with which your wallet is comfortable. In most cases, your heater can even run on straight biodiesel -- although you'll want to periodically inspect it due to the tendency of this fuel to prematurely age seals and other rubber components of your heater. For more information on heat pumps, try visiting http://www.capefearair.com.