This is a guest post by Pat of Apple Heating and Cooling,
Heating and cooling your home can account for over 50 percent of your home’s energy use, so upgrading your heating system can make a big impact on both your environmental impact and your utility bills. New equipment will make a huge difference in your fuel consumption, and if you switch to one of the many sources of renewable energy to heat your house, can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Here is some of the ways you can make heating your home more environmentally friendly.
High Efficiency Furnaces and Boilers
The furnaces and boilers that you have installed in your home today are much more efficient than those built even ten years ago. Some new gas furnaces have an AFUE rating of up to 97 percent, which means that 97 percent of the fuel burned goes to heating your home! This is possible because of some equipment new features, such as electronic ignition, a sealed combustion chamber, and variable speeds that allow high efficiency furnaces and boilers to precisely control the amount of fuel burned and utilize almost all of the heat energy produced.
Geothermal heating is not a new technology, but it has gained a lot of popularity in residential homes over the last few years. Geothermal heating uses the heat naturally present under the surface of the earth by piping down liquid (usually water or a combination of water and refrigerant) to absorb the energy. The heat from the liquid is extracted by a heat pump which heats air to be disturbed throughout the home. This system needs very little maintenance, since most of the components are underground, and takes very little energy to run (just enough to power the heat pump). This heat source is completely renewable, and the process can be reversed in the summer to cool your home as well. There are many different types of geothermal systems, from horizontal loops to open loops, so a solution can be found to fit most geographies and climates.
Beyond using solar energy to provide your electricity, there are quite a few options for heating and cooling using the power of the sun. Active solar heating involves heating either air or liquid with sunlight that can be circulated to heat your home. Liquid solar systems are usually designed to work with radiators, similar to the heat distribution from a boiler, and air systems are more typically used for individual rooms with a fan to disperse the hot air. You can also buy heat pumps and air conditioners equipped with solar panels to provide the electricity needed to power them. Solar hot water heating is another popular option for those not ready to completely overhaul their current system, and even that small change can lead to considerable household energy reduction.
If you cannot afford to upgrade your heating and cooling system right now, you can reduce your heat loss (and therefore for energy consumption) by making sure your home is properly insulated and sealing up any air leaks. Even something small like putting up curtains over your windows can not only make your home more comfortable, but also ensure you are wasting as little heat as possible. When you are ready to upgrade your current HVAC system for a more environmentally friendly one, be sure to research all of the green options available.
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