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Fuel Furnace and Fireplace FadsOctober 13th, 2014 by
Many of the latest home heating trends reflect a consumer base that’s warming up to energy-efficient methods, and suppliers are taking notice. The home heating market is trending toward electricity and biofuel now more than ever before. Consumers’ greener attitudes—and the fads they’re inspiring¬—stem partly from a more widespread knowledge of the importance of clean energy and partly from a growing awareness that higher energy efficiency means lower bills. If you’re thinking of joining the increasing number of homeowners who are going cleaner and greener, check out a few of the options below to help you get started.
Gas-powered fireplaces, once dismissed as imitations of traditional wood-burning fireplaces, are rapidly becoming more popular than traditional ones. The most obvious advantage of gas fireplaces is that they’re easy to operate; they’re turned on and off with the flip of a switch—no strenuous wood-gathering required. Gas fireplaces also produce less pollution than wood-burning fireplaces. Gas-powered stoves cost homeowners less in energy bills than central furnaces, since they can be used to heat specific rooms rather than using up power to heat a room no one is using.
Bioethanol and Gel Fireplaces
Bioethanol and gel fireplaces run on renewable fuel, and they give off very little pollution. While they don’t give off as much heat as wood-burning, pellet-burning, or gas-powered stoves and fireplaces, they work great for heating small spaces or for ambiance in larger ones. Since bioethanol and gel fuels don’t produce smoke fumes, they don’t require a flue, so it’s possible to put them anywhere in a home. Homeowners can also renovate their pre-existing wood-burning fireplaces to burn gel or bioethanol.
Pellet-burning stoves are similar to wood-burning stoves, but instead of burning wood, they burn small, compacted pellets made of organic materials like nutshells or ground wood. Pellet stoves generally have higher combustion efficiencies than wood stoves, so they give off far fewer fumes than wood stoves do. Because of this, they don’t produce much pollution, and they cause far less buildup of creosote inside of flues. In addition, the outside of a pellet stove stays cool while the stove is operating, so homeowners are less likely to be burned.
Condensing boilers are far more energy efficient than conventional boilers. They include components that trap and condense the steam produced as a result of combustion, which gets lost in a normal home boiler system. Because of this, less gas is required to heat the same amount of water, so condensing boilers end up using the vast majority of the heat they produce.
Micro-combined heat and power systems, or micro-CHP systems, are designed to produce both heat and electricity at the same time. There are two types of micro-CHP systems—heat-led systems, which mainly produce heat with electricity as a by-product; and electricity-led systems, which mainly produce electricity with heat as a by-product. Micro-CHP systems that heat larger buildings are mainly heat-led, while smaller systems, which are more likely to be used in residential homes, are mainly electricity-led.
Energy-efficient systems are extremely popular, and for good reason. Homeowners who keep up with today’s green trends can expect to save money on their bills and contribute to a pollution-free environment in addition to sporting updated homes that are both responsible and fashionable.
Sources: Energy Solutions Center; EPA; Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association; Natural Living; Popular Mechanics; SuperHomes; TreeHugger; US General Services Administration; US Department of Energy.
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