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Cost Savers

Warm Up Your Home Without a Traditional Heater

Does your home need an alternative to traditional heaters? Then check out the pros and cons of alternative home heating methods to see if one is right for you.

Alternative heating methods

Warm Up Your Home Without a Traditional Heater

While central furnaces may be the typical solution for heating your home, every home is different, and every household has its own needs and preferences. In some instances, alternative methods of heating your home make more sense or are attractive due to the cost savings they promise. Here are some of the best ways to stay comfortable this winter without firing up your furnace.

Portable Heaters

Portable heaters are exactly what they sound like — heaters that you can move from location to location. The amount of square footage a portable heater can warm will depend on the model you use and the settings you select.

There are several advantages to utilizing portable heaters. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, small space heaters offer two primary benefits. 

  • They allow you to save money by heating individual rooms only when they are in use.
  • They allow you to boost temperatures as needed in specific rooms, such as a nursery or rooms occupied by the elderly, without raising the temperature throughout your entire home.

However, homeowners should take precautions when using space heaters. A study conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that space heaters cause more than 25,000 fires yearly. Additionally, around 6,000 people have received emergency room care for burn injuries after coming into contact with space heaters. When warming your home with space heaters, follow the manufacturer's guidelines and recommendations. 

Fireplaces

Not only does a fireplace create a lovely ambiance in the winter months, but it can also be a good source of heat. Modern models aren't limited to burning logs, either. Some are gas-powered, and others even run on clean fuel like denatured ethanol. Create a fun family tradition of sitting around the fireplace in the evenings instead of the television — bonus points if you include marshmallows. Looking to get your fireplace ready for use? Then check out this article with helpful tips for your fireplace. 

Masonry Heater

Also known as a masonry stove or tile stove, these ingenious contraptions resemble free-standing fireplaces. By burning specially-formulated wood pellets and maximizing the radiant heating capacity of ceramic materials, a masonry stove can be a highly energy-efficient addition to your home. 

Masonry stoves rely on small fireboxes that contain extremely hot, short-burning fires and an innovative ventilation system that circulates the fire's combustion gases throughout the entire unit. The bulk — quite literally — of the heat they provide is stored and slowly released from the ceramics themselves. According to the Masonry Heater Association of America, most modern models can heat a space for 18 to 24 hours, even after its fires have burned out. However, this technology means that masonry stoves are very heavy. Before installing one, you'll need to make sure your floor can bear its load.

Solar Energy

Of course, installing solar energy panels is one way to heat your home, but you can still harness the power of the sun without them. Take advantage of your home's orientation and use any eastern- and western-facing windows to bring more sunlight into your home. Simply pull back your curtains in the mornings (east) and afternoons (west), find a sunny spot to set up in and enjoy the warmth!

Additional Clothing

By far, the simplest and most cost-effective way to warm up during the chilly season is to layer on additional clothing. Chances are you already own a sweater or two that you can add to your ensemble. Blankets, throws, wool socks (they don't have to be scratchy) and insulated slippers can all provide additional warmth as well.

Additionally, consider buying thermal pajamas for staying cozy throughout the night rather than cranking up the heat. According to "Consumer Reports" magazine, simply lowering your thermostat by about 10 to 15 degrees over an eight-hour period can cut your annual utility expenses by up to 15 percent.

Regardless of which alternative home heating method you choose, it’s always a good idea to check that your heating system is working properly. That means performing the manufacturer's recommended preventive maintenance, regularly changing your filters and otherwise taking care of your system and its key components. To further minimize the costs associated with the repair and replacement of your home's heating equipment, consider purchasing an American Home Shield® Home Warranty. Our flexible home heating plans can help you protect your home as well as your household budget. 

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