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Heat Your Home the Old Fashioned Way & Save Money This Winter

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    Heat Your Home the Old Fashioned Way & Save Money This Winter

    The first flakes haven’t started flying yet, but the United States energy department is already warning Americans to expect a 10 to 20 percent increase in their energy costs this winter.

    If their projections are right, it will cost users of natural gas -- the heating source in 55 percent of U.S. homes -- 20 percent more or an average of $1,049 to heat their homes during the winter season which lasts from October through March. Heating oil customers’ costs are expected to rise 10 percent and propane users by 18 percent over last year. The government did not provide estimates for electricity, which is used to heat 29 percent of U.S. homes.

    “These are staggering numbers and a good reason for people to rethink the way they are doing things,” says Glenda Ervin, marketing director at Lehman’s, an old-time general store in Kidron, Ohio, which is about an hour South of Cleveland. Ervin suspects rising fuel costs are the primary reason sales of wood stoves are going through the roof.

    Wood stoves have been around since the early 1700s when American inventor Benjamin Franklin first put a patent on one. They haven’t been the primary means of heating a home in more than 100 years, but now with fuel prices rising, they are making a comeback. The only fuel they require -- wood -- is easy to come by.

    “The nice thing about wood stoves is they are fueled by a renewable energy source which also happens to be the cheapest heating source around,” says Ervin. “We have an employee here with three kids who has a fairly large home and it only costs him $100 to heat the house the entire winter.”

    Depending on the style, size and accessories you choose, a wood stove can cost between $500 and $3,000. Accessories -- which include leather hand bellows and pinecone starters to get the fire going, a heat-powered fan to pump warm air through your home, and a fireplace tool set -- are easy to find and affordable; and the fuel to run one -- fallen trees and chopped up logs -- is inexpensive and readily available.

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    In addition to being cost-effective, today’s wood stoves are environmentally friendly. Their fuel is a renewable resource and catalytic converters and advanced non-catalytic technology prevent their smoke from harming the environment. “They are also more reliable than electricity, particularly during an ice storm,” says Ervin. “Even if your power is out for days, a wood stove will keep you warm while you’re waiting for it to come back on.”

    There’s also the emotional appeal to take into consideration. “My kids won’t have fond memories of sitting around the furnace, but they will remember the stove we had set up in the family room and all the time we spent together as a family enjoying its warmth,” says Ervin.

    To find out more about the wood stoves and accessories available at Lehman’s, call (888) 438-5346 for a free catalog, or log on to Lehmans.com. The store is in Kidron, Ohio, but Lehman's ships to customers in all 50 states.

    More Ways To Save Money on Your Heating Bill

    Before the temperatures drop, take the time to inspect your window and door frames both inside and out. Check around the outside frame and between the door and inner frame. If you see cracks or daylight anywhere, either caulk or stuff rags into the cracks. If a gap is big enough, do both: Using a butter knife or something similar, stuff strips of cloth into the gap until it's almost even with the outer surface, then cover lightly with caulking. You get the best of both worlds by doing that. Rags are better insulation (besides usually being free), but caulking looks better and will stay in place better. Even if you can't see daylight under the door, keep a rug or draft dodger pushed against it.

    If the door doesn't fit snugly in the frame, put strip insulation around the frame to fill in. Again, the rag bag comes to the rescue. Instead of buying strips of foam or felt, you can use any heavy material, or use your own felt salvaged from an old hat or shrunken wool garment. Tack or staple it into place.

    Draft stoppers for under the door are easy to make. Cut a piece of sturdy material 8 to 10 inches longer than the door is wide and at least 12 inches wide. Fill it like a taco with dry corn, rice, beans, sawdust or sand, then bring the sides up and sew them together firmly. Gather the ends, leaving a few inches, and tie string or yarn or (go ahead, get fancy) ribbon around it.

    Windows are notorious for letting in cold air, so make it a priority to put up storm windows or plastic sheeting over them if possible. First, though, check the frames to make sure they fit well and caulk wherever necessary. If there's a gap in the sash where two windows fit together, caulk or stuff it with rags before covering with storm windows or plastic.

    Even if you have good windows, window glass will let in the cold -- there's just no way around it. The best protection is to cover that glass with something that will keep in the heat. Window "quilts" are popular, but you can make do with a simple piece of heavy material cut to fit the window frame. Hold it in place with Velcro or tape at night. It really will make a difference.

    No need to heat unused areas. Keep closets, pantries and storage areas closed off. Same goes for bedrooms and other rooms which are not in constant use. Open the doors an hour or so before bedtime; and be sure to check inside cabinets for gaps or cracks. These areas are often overlooked.

    Insulate electrical receptacles and switches. You can buy foam forms to put in them, but you can just cut pieces of Styrofoam to fit.

    Part of keeping warm is thinking you are! To make a room seem warm, use thick textured materials for accents like Afghans, area rugs and pillow covers. Make use of warm colors like reds and golds and arrange the furniture so that people sit closer together. This all contributes to a feeling of warmth -- and that's what it's all about.

    ============================

    Courtesy of ARA Content

    #2
    Everything about wood stoves certainly applies to me. I have had at least two winters where my heat costs(beyond cutting and hauling wood) were virtually zero. My stove cost about 2k 8 yrs. ago and has more than paid for it's self.
    "Those who can't remember the past are condemmed to repeat it".- George Santayana.

    Comment


      #3
      The first few years we lived in the mountains, we heated with a wood buck stove only. I will agree it is much cheaper, but it was a pain in the neck. My dh had to get up at 3 in the morning, to keep the stove going all day. And of course, it burned out while we were at work. The wood was messy and dirty and the house was never comfortable. Always too hot or freezing and the bath rooms were never warm enough.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Ima saver View Post
        The first few years we lived in the mountains, we heated with a wood buck stove only. I will agree it is much cheaper, but it was a pain in the neck. My dh had to get up at 3 in the morning, to keep the stove going all day. And of course, it burned out while we were at work. The wood was messy and dirty and the house was never comfortable. Always too hot or freezing and the bath rooms were never warm enough.

        I agree it's a pain in the neck at times but there is something really special about coming home on a cold day and thawing yourself out in front of a good wood fire.
        "Those who can't remember the past are condemmed to repeat it".- George Santayana.

        Comment


          #5
          Ick, don't remind me. My furnace is only 80% efficiency, not looking forward to the heating bills. Still going to be a few years before I can get that replaced.

          Comment


            #6
            i just use thicker blanket and hyper actively move around ....

            Comment


              #7
              How cool does it get in, say, Kuala Lumpur?
              "There is some ontological doubt as to whether it may even be possible in principle to nail down these things in the universe we're given to study." --text msg from my kid

              "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." --Frederick Douglass

              Comment


                #8
                night 27 celcius, day 32 celcus, most have air con on 22-24 celcius.

                no winters here just in case some don't know yet, its hot and humid all year round. we only have wet and dry monsoon.

                earlier comment was referring to my poor student USA years

                Comment


                  #9
                  I'm not a fan of this one. If you get sick and miss just one day off work b/c you fireplace doesn't heat the entire house. You've already lost more money than you would've saved.

                  I'm a believer in just tightening down the hatches, and slightly lowering the thermostat and dressing warm.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    true indeed, but a little flaw spotted ...

                    you mentioned "heat the entire house". Perhaps thats the first thing to start with, the house doesn't need heating, its we the human needs heating.

                    after all, one day call in sick is most probably a paid sick day, isn't it ?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by mtsen View Post
                      true indeed, but a little flaw spotted ...

                      you mentioned "heat the entire house". Perhaps thats the first thing to start with, the house doesn't need heating, its we the human needs heating.

                      after all, one day call in sick is most probably a paid sick day, isn't it ?
                      Most fireplaces are in the family rooms (which, most of time are located at the opposite end of the house) and it would take a lot to get heat to the bedroom where you sleep.

                      I'm a dentist, if i don't work...i don't get paid.

                      Comment

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