Warming Your Home with Eco-Friendly Heating
The way we heat our homes is one of the major contributors to global emissions and significantly impacts our individual carbon footprint. But here’s the good news: there are eco-friendly heater options out there. Before we delve into different types of heating systems, let's first understand how they operate.
How do heating systems in our houses work?
All heating systems consist of three main components: a heat source which provides warm air or water to heat the house (like a furnace or boiler), a heat distribution system that moves this warm air or water through the house (such as radiators or baseboards), and a control system to regulate the amount of heat (like a thermostat).
Most of the emissions occur at the heat source.
Furnaces or boilers, which run on fossil fuels like oil, natural gas, and propane obtained from refining oil and natural gas, are the most commonly used heat sources in American homes. When these fuels are burned, they release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
What are some of the eco-friendly heater options?
A cleaner alternative to boilers and furnaces is a heat pump, which is more efficient and can also function as an air conditioner during warmer months. Another option is electric heaters, which convert electricity into heat.
As both of these options rely on electricity, if your electricity comes from fossil fuels, they still contribute to environmental damage. But they are better than boilers and furnaces, any day.
Measuring your heat source’s efficiency is another way to reduce its impact on the planet. It is measured in Annual Fee Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). The high-efficiency systems have a rating of 90-98.5% AFUE. You could also look for ENERGY STAR products that have higher standards of efficiency and quality.
In addition to these steps, you can improve the efficiency of your heating system by cleaning and replacing filters, ensuring proper sealing of air ducts and heating pipes, and clearing any obstructions around air vents, baseboard heaters, and radiators. This will reduce the emissions from the heating system and will bring down your energy bills.
Use space heaters as an alternative to traditional heating systems
Space heaters, also known as point-of-use heaters, are sometimes used in combination with the central heating system to heat a specific area. These could be wood or pellet stoves, portable or direct vent wall heaters, or fireplaces.
If you are living in slightly warmer climates, they could be a great alternative to central heating. According to research published in 2021, space heaters give you the impression of having more control over the temperature as compared to central heating. Knowing that you can control the temperature, you become more tolerant of cooler temperatures and end up using less energy to heat your place.