Now that Halloween is over and the ghosts and goblins have retired for another year, let’s check out some more ways to cut your heating bill. I don’t know about where you are but where I am at this has been a cool, wet summer/fall so far. If the upcoming winter is really cold, those heating bills could skyrocket.
How about a second heat source like a fire place?
You have a lot of options and styles to choose from.
There are electric fire places that can be installed almost anywhere. There are the gas operated ones. You have the more traditional ones that burn pellets.
Last but not least is the good old wood burning fireplace.
If you are considering any of these, here are some things to keep in mind before buying one.
Installation: Is it easy or do you need a professional to do it?
Can they be vented out anywhere with just some heating duct work or do you have to have a brick and mortar chimney?
What is the cost involved with the fuel they burn? Is one cheaper to run than the other?
The cost of both power and gas usually rises during the winter, due to supply and demand. The pellets will vary in price from store to store and the quantity you purchase.
Now before you say wood is the cheapest because it is free, there is just your time and labour involved to go get it, consider these costs.
First there is the permit to cut firewood to buy. The fuel for your truck and chainsaw.
The chainsaw itself.
Then you need something to split the wood with. You can use an axe or go with less hard work and get a log splitter.
The costs on these differ depending on the functions it has and the amount of power it has. Some can only do small diameter pieces and only a certain length can be split.
If you want to avoid that much work, you can buy presplit and dried wood. Then there is the cleanup and maintenance costs.
The ash has to be removed and disposed of safely. Chimney flues have to be clean and checked.
You also need a spot to stack the wood.
With all of these you have to decide which one makes sense for you.
You have to balance how much money they may save you to how much work you have to put into each type.
Other things to keep the chill off this winter are small space heaters.
These can be found at most hardware stores. Small changes like putting plastic over the windows can make a big difference.
Other changes can be made by doing upgrades to your home.
You can add more installation, change out your windows, get doors that are insulated and seal well.
You can upgrade your furnace or change your heating system to something else altogether.
With all of these again weight the cost against the return you will get.
Will you live in the home long enough to see the savings and do the changes help your resale value.
Sandra Nolan is a freelance writer from Rocky Mountain House. Her column will appear every other week in LIFE. Contact her at email@example.com.