By heating with renewable fuels, you can live a green lifestyle while saving money – especially if your central heat system burns fuel oil or propane.
The two most common renewable heating fuels are pellets and wood, which will produce large amounts of heat when burned in freestanding stoves and fireplace inserts. But stoves and inserts manufactured 20+ years ago don’t qualify. Fast forward to today and you’ll find stoves with advanced burn technologies that not only produce more heat, but require less interaction.
Here is a general overview of the fuels:
Pellets are made from organic waste like compacted sawdust, wood chips, bark, agricultural crop waste, and other natural materials. So by heating with pellets, you’re turning materials that may otherwise go to a landfill into energy. And they can save you money too.
On average, the price per BTU for pellet heat is often considerably lower than heating oil, propane and electricity. Check it out for yourself by using this pellet fuel savings calculator. And while prices for fossil fuels can fluctuate wildly, pellet prices have remained steady.
You can purchase pellets in 40 lb. bags at fireplace dealers, nurseries, building supply stores, feed and garden supply stores and some discount merchandisers. And in some areas, they can be purchased in bulk. When burned in a high efficiency stove or insert, one bag can provide up to 24 hours of steady heat. A winter’s supply is usually 100 to 150 bags (2-3 tons), depending on climate, home size, and lifestyle variations.
There are many advantages to heating with wood, especially if you have access to inexpensive or free wood. The quality of your fires and heat will be greatly enhanced with the right species of wood that’s been properly cut, split and stacked (watch for a blog about this soon!).
In addition to the peace of mind you get from using a renewable fuel, financial benefits can be derived for years to come with significantly reduced heating costs.
EPA-certified wood stoves and inserts produce a great deal of heat with less wood, while emitting minimal outside air emissions. High efficiencies are gained through high temperatures, ample oxygen and sufficient burning of gases. EPA-certified systems also produce less ash to clean up, and greatly reduce the accumulation of dangerous creosote.
There are many styles and options to choose from when purchasing stoves and inserts that burn renewable fuels. See for yourself here.