Stacked firewood

What is the Best Way to Heat a House?

Wintertime can be one of the most relaxing times of the year if done correctly. Spending time with family and friends, attending holiday parties, and welcoming in the new year. It can be hard to bear the weather though. It’s difficult enough to keep your own body warm in freezing temperatures, so what is to be done about something bigger like your house? 

It is important to keep yourself and your house warm and comfortable through the harsh season. The struggle when it comes to heating your home though is that most heating sources are expensive, inefficient, or just bad for the environment. So, what is the best way to heat your home?

We’re going to take a look at some criteria to consider and decide what the best way to heat your home is through the cold months.

How well does it create heat?

This may seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at the diversity of how well things can heat your home and how much they cost. To break it down, the best way to compare different heat sources is to use British Thermal Units (BTUs). BTUs measure how long it takes for any given heat source to heat up one pound of water, one degree of Fahrenheit. It standardizes the costs used to get the heat up as well. Over at Oregon state, researchers compiled data comparing cost per million BTUs. Firewood came in as the best heat source for the cheapest amount. Averaging at $15 per BTU.

How much does it cost?

When comparing the cost per BTU found by Oregon state, natural gas is $16, electricity is $28, heating oil is $35, propane is $36, and wood is $15.

There are other costs associated with heating a house beside the price of the heat source itself. You also have to take into account the price of installation and maintenance if you plan on switching heat sources or adding a backup. 

Gas heaters are large and complex and can cost you upwards of $8,000 to install. It is also recommended they are serviced yearly to prevent any carbon monoxide leaks. It’s one of the more pricey heat sources to have because of these maintenance and repair fees.

Electric heaters, comparably, are cheaper than their gas counterparts to install. Electricity though, as mentioned above is one of the priciest options to heat your home. What you save in upfront costs and maintenance comes out in the long term cost of paying for electricity. 

Installing a wood heater, although also seeming to have a high upfront cost, can help save you some money in the long run since wood stoves and heaters are built to last a long time and wood is the cheapest option. If you already have a fireplace or stove in your house, wood is a very strong option to use as a heat source.

Is it environmentally friendly?

Another important aspect to consider is whether or not your choice of heat is good for yourself or the environment in the long run.

Gas heaters use natural gas or propane, which are non-renewable resources. Gas can also be detrimental to your health if the heater or its tubing were to break down and release carbon monoxide into your home. 

Electricity runs into the same problem, where to use electricity there is coal being burned off into the ozone. Neither of which are great options if you’re worried about your carbon footprint. 

Wood on the other hand comes from a renewable resource, and while burning it may let off some emissions, unlike gas it isn’t at risk of flooding your home with carbon monoxide. And unlike electricity, it is burned on a much smaller scale.

How will it do in an emergency?

Most modern homes have prebuilt heaters and are connected to a power source or grid. In the winter when the seasonal weather rolls in and brings with it copious amounts of snow and storms, these power grids have a tendency to fail. Downed power lines killing your gas or electric heater will leave your house frosty and unsafe to be in. If you don’t have, can’t afford, or just don’t want a generator, wood would be the ideal backup heat source. It doesn’t take outside energy to get a fire started, and will be able to heat up at least a few rooms. 

Wood is also easily stored and can be kept on hand in case of an emergency. Drying and storing wood allows it to dry and burn more effectively as well, so purchasing wood in advance and allowing it the time to dry will benefit you more in the long run.

So what’s the best way to heat a home?

All in all, based on how wood is the best at heating for the cheapest cost, and is the most readily common environmentally friendly option, wood stoves and heaters would make a great primary or secondary heat source for your home.

The main drawback of wood is that it needs to be chopped and collected, and if you’re not able to spend the time or effort to go collect wood yourself, making wood the main heat source in your home may not seem possible. Chopping wood can also be dangerous. Not only do you risk harming yourself or others with an ax, but you risk potentially straining yourself from too much exertion. Those with heart conditions or those who aren’t capable of doing hard labor may think they wouldn’t be able to benefit from having a wood heater in their homes. 

Luckily there are services that sell pre-chopped and dried wood, and these services often will provide delivery to your home as well at reasonable prices. So if you’re trying to make a decision about how to heat your new home, or are trying to decide on a secondary or backup heat source, why wait? Buy yourself a wood-burning stove and thank yourself later for the money saved and toasty winters spent by the fire. Call Hawkins Landscape Supply to get that firewood delivered right to your driveway.

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