Old houses come with a lot of character. You are probably proud of their look and craftsmanship but chances are that you are also experiencing a lot of issues. Maybe it’s quite creaky and it’s bothering you. Maybe you’ve had to change the piping or wiring recently and it cost an arm and a leg. Or perhaps, it’s always cold and your bills are through the roof.
Some issues are easier to fix than others, and to determine what it is that is causing problems in your home, you should consider getting an energy auditor to check out your home. Perhaps your insulation is the problem or your windows are not properly installed. Make sure to fix these smaller matters before you move on to something more expensive.
Truth be told, if you’re thinking about replacing your entire heating system, it’s best to do it during a home renovation. However, if you do not have the time or funds for such a thing, there are other things to consider. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of energy-efficient heating options which you can implement in your home.
Opting for a heat pump is one of the most eco-friendly ways of heating your home. There are two types of heat pumps – air-source and ground-source. The air-source variety draws heat from the atmosphere, concentrates it and then distributes it throughout the house. The distribution is done through pipes or a ducted system. This is an amazing option as it works even during colder days. The other option is a ground-source heat pump, which uses pipes buried underground to concentrate heat from the earth. Ground-source pumps cost a bit more because of the necessary excavation during the installation process, but are quite economical in the long term. If you’re considering this option but are already dealing with previous debt, you can calculate whether consolidating your debt would make financial sense. Moreover, while heat pumps do run on electricity, they are quite energy-efficient. And as a bonus, they can even be run in reverse and cool your home.
Solar hot air and thermal
A solar hot air system is one of the most cost-effective ways of keeping your home warm. Hot air collectors are installed on the south-facing walls of a house, they are fairly inexpensive and quite energy-efficient. They require little maintenance and last for a long time. A solar hot air system is usually used as a supplemental source of heat and it can heat up around 45m2.
On the other hand, solar thermal systems consist of collectors which are usually mounted on the roof, a tank used for storing water and pipes which connect these two parts. The water that is heated is then circulated around the home, through forced-air systems, hot water baseboard heaters or radiant floor heating. The upside is that these systems are very quiet, work in many climates and they do not add to indoor air pollution. However, one drawback is that they can produce too much hot water when it’s sunny and owners sometimes have to get rid of the excess heat, which is not a good investment.
Boilers and furnaces
Another option you have is to replace your existing heater with a boiler or an oil or gas furnace. Their efficiency has greatly improved in recent years. Getting a new model which is more energy-efficient will help you save money, especially if your current heater has been in use for more than ten years. Boilers store hot water which is then sent throughout the home and delivered through radiators or other installed systems. The principle is the same for furnaces, except that they do not use water. To prevent cold air intrusion and indoor air pollution, consider direct venting. Furthermore, electronic ignition heaters are much more efficient than those with a pilot light. Do some research and look for models that include more efficient condensers and heat exchangers. The installation of boilers and furnaces is a bit cheaper seeing as how they utilize the existing delivery systems. While they do use fossil fuels, the newer models are much more efficient.
Other options you can consider include modern wood stoves and passive solar design. Make sure to take into account your needs and finances, as well as your home’s structure, before you make a decision.
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