Heating A Home With Alternative Fuels

As more and more people are becoming concerned about the environment they are looking into alternative fuels as a means to heating their homes. Sources like solar energy, wind turbines, and bio-diesel fuels are helping people to save money, and help out with the environment.

While the price is not the point in a lot of alternative fuels, living a more "green" existence is. As each year goes by, there are several new reports, and discoveries, of what our current lifestyles do to the environment. Alternative fuels are there, not for the cost advantages, but for the environmental advantages.

Types of Alternative Fuels for Heating

For many areas, the normal method of heating a home is through wood or oil. In the northern areas of the country, up to 2 billion gallons of heating oil can be used during a mild winter. With the way that home heating oil prices have skyrocketed in the last few years, more families are having to think about how to continue heating their homes. There are several different types of alternative fuels available for home heating.

  • Wood or corn pellets - By processing the leftover sawdust, you can burn small pellets of wood in a special stove. These are becoming more and more popular as heating oil continues to rise. Corn pellet stoves, operate by burning processed corn.
  • Bio-fuel - This type of fuel is made with natural, renewable ingredients such as vegetable oils and animal fats. After a short processing time, usually about three months, a viable oil is made that can run in an oil fired furnace and diesel engines.
  • Solar Energy - Most people think that solar energy is just for electricity, but you can heat your home by using an electric heater or through radiant heating that captures the sun's heat and radiates it through the home.

Benefits of Alternative Fuels

Energy independence is the biggest reason why more people are continuing to look into alternative fuels as a source for heating their homes. With most alternative fuels there is the added benefit of also being more green in our lifestyle. Heating fuels such as bio-diesel, do not give off any harmful emissions that are displaced into the atmosphere. These fuels are clean burning. However, fuels like corn pellets do leave a residue behind that must be cleaned out on a continuing basis.

Efficiency of Alternative Fuels

Home heating oil and burning strictly wood are both recorded to be about 75% efficient in heating your homes. Most alternative fuels have a rating of 85%. Wood pellet stoves can be as high as 90% heating efficiency as it uses most of the fuel in the burning process and has a high heat point.

Cost Considerations

While alternative fuels are becoming more popular, there are some considerations to think about first. The biggest one is in cost. Some alternative fuels need specialized equipment in order to be used. Wood pellets, gel burning stoves, and solar heating, all need an initial investment. Of course, the savings will pay for the initial investment over time, but many people are not in a position to make the large payment up front.