3 Alternative Ways to Heat Your Home

Alternative ways to heat your home featured

3 Alternative Ways to Heat Your Home

Here in the Chesapeake region winter weather is unpredictable, to say the least. From sunny, balmy days to blustery, frigid ones, you can never tell what the week will bring. And, while this may seem pleasant, unless you genuinely plan for it, it can take a toll on your energy costs. However, there are other methods for keeping your house toasty during a cold snap that won’t break the bank. Here are three alternative ways to heat your home this winter. In fact, these systems can be used in conjunction with your home’s HVAC. Utilize them in heat losing spaces like your garage or basement, together they create an optimal home heating system.

Kerosene Heater

Portable kerosene heaters can supply homeowners with temporary heat during a power outage or be used to warm up a room without the expense of heating the entire house. Newer models are manufactured with numerous safety features. However, they must always be used with caution.

  • Use only water-clear 1-K grade kerosene and NEVER use gasoline. Gasoline is not the same as kerosene. Even small amounts of gasoline or other volatile fuels or solvents mixed with kerosene can substantially increase the risk of a fire.
  • Always store kerosene in a container intended for kerosene. Kerosene containers are usually blue; gasoline containers are red.
  • When purchasing kerosene at the pump, make sure to use the kerosene pump, not the gasoline pump. Some service stations have separate islands for kerosene. Some oil companies have also established quality control programs to minimize the chances of gasoline contamination of kerosene.
  • ALWAYS purchase 1-K grade kerosene from a certified dealer. Grades other than 1-K can lead to a release of more pollutants in your home, posing a possible health risk. ALWAYS make sure you are purchasing certified 1-K grade kerosene.
  • Never refuel the heater inside the home. Fill the tank outdoors, away from combustible materials, after the heater has been turned off and allowed to cool.
  • NEVER refuel the heater when it is hot or in operation.
  • Do not fill the fuel tank above the “full” mark, which allow for the fuel to expand and avoid leakage when the heater is operating.
  • As an added reminder and precaution, install at least one smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector near sleeping areas or on each level of the house.
  • Reduce your exposure to indoor air pollutants and properly operate and maintain your portable kerosene heater.
  • Operate your heater in a room with the door open to the rest of the house.
  • Always operate your heater according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This includes making sure that the wick is set at the proper level.
  • Keep an outside window opened approximately an inch to ensure adequate fresh air infiltration.

In case of a flare-up or if uncontrolled flaming occurs, NEVER attempt to move or carry the heater. This can make the fire worse. Turn the unit off immediately. If the fire does not extinguish, evacuate the house immediately and call the fire department.

Wood Pellet Stove

Wood pellets are made from compressed recycled biomass materials. The process reduces the moisture content creating a drier fuel which generates more heat. Therefore, the pellets burn hotter and cleaner than their wood or coal counterparts. Wood pellet stoves also emit fewer pollutants than traditional fireplaces. The pellets are relatively inexpensive. Additionally, you can purchase small quantities as needed, versus upfront costs of buying an entire cord of firewood. One caveat though, is that pellet stoves run on electricity, so if your power goes out, so does your stove. You can, however, pick up a backup generator at a reasonable cost (It can also come in handy during hurricane season as well). And, when you add up the price of pellets plus the electricity, it is still less than cranking up your home’s HVAC system.

Electric Space Heater

While electric space heaters are generally more expensive to operate than combustion heaters, they can still be a cost-effective zone-heating alternative. Plus, they are the safest un-vented heater to run within your home. Although electric space heaters score best on avoiding indoor air quality issues, they still must be operated with caution. Here are a few guidelines when buying an electric space heater:

  • Electric heaters should ideally be plugged directly into the wall outlet. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is the shortest possible heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or larger.
  • Always check and follow any manufacturer’s instructions regarding the use of extension cords.
  • Buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch. This means the heater automatically shuts off the heater if it is accidentally tipped over.

Still have questions about alternative ways to heat your home this winter? The knowledgeable staff at Sneade’s Ace Home Center can answer all of your questions. Allow us to show you all the  portable heater models we carry. Helping you save money on winter energy bills…another reason that Sneade’s Ace Home Center is The Place!


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