Monday, November 25, 2013

New Perspectives: Don’t Burn Up! Alternative Heat for Winter

When colder seasons roll around, I always find the smell of wood stoves to be incredibly comforting. It’s a nostalgic scent, and it reminds me of the holidays. More importantly, many homeowners consider it a valid alternative heating source for their homes as the prices of oil climbs ever skyward. However, my appreciation of burning wood is pretty illogical when you consider all the downsides that wood stoves and fireplaces have to us and the environment.

While it’s undoubtedly cheaper, the downsides are intense to say the least. As reported by USA Today a few years ago, wood releases carbon monoxide and carcinogenic chemicals when burned. The soot and liquid waste that wood burning produces can cause complications such as heart disease and respiratory problems.

The concerns caused by burning has blanketed some regions entirely even here in the states, with particle pollution far past the point of federal safety limitations. It goes without saying that this form of fuel also causes damage to our ozone layer. Check out this booklet to learn more about the various ways that wood-burning causes more harm than good.

While many people value wood-burning as a more economical approach to heating a home, it certainly isn’t the cleanest or most efficient. Even if you aren’t exactly the “green” type, you’ll be saving plenty of green with these simple cost-beneficial tips to improve your home’s heating efficiency.

• Install some simple modifications in your home to improve how well your house retains heat. Windows can be one of your greatest assets in making sure that you deflect or insulate heat as necessary. Window films can work wonders, as well as shutters and storm windows. Anything to improve your seal and absorb more sunlight around your home can effectively improve your home’s natural heating abilities.

• Have your heating and air equipment regularly checked up on. You might not need to rely on cheaper and dirtier varieties of equipment if your system is regularly cleaned and tuned up. In addition, having an energy audit performed in your home could be just the ticket, especially if you’re in an older property with a lot of air leaks.

• While nobody wants to hear these words, bundling up is a strategy that can pay off dividends on your energy bill. While nobody likes sweat pants, simply putting on a few extra layers is one of the only truly cost-free ways to warm yourself up. Likewise, make sure your house is “bundled up” too by checking your insulation if you think you’re losing a lot of your heat through the walls.

Author: J.G. Tenuto, an eco-obsessed writer with Gila Films. Although he mostly writes and researches for his 9-to-5, he spends his downtime fine tuning every aspect of his home to reduce his carbon footprint (and save some cash along the way.)

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