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Oil vs. Wood Heating: Each System Offers Energy Savings

The cost of heating your home is an important topic for homeowners. Heating costs can vary depending on your heating system, and if you're looking for green heating options and need to decide between using oil or wood heat this year, consider these factors.

Green Heating

Wood stoves, before the Environmental Protection Agency required strict emission standards, once pumped anywhere from 25 to 100 grams of smoke per hour into the air. Today, however, the average wood stove emits around three grams. Note: Using a standard fireplace instead of a wood stove dramatically decreases efficiency, and sends harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

Oil, too, has come a long way in the last few decades. Jon Madsen of Allied Washoe, a petroleum distribution company in Nevada that's been in business more than 100 years, notes new oil furnaces are more than 90 percent efficient, and old furnaces can often be upgraded to perform with about 80 percent efficiency. The EPA requirements forced oil heat to change, and today it burns about 95 percent cleaner than it did in the '70s. Oil heat doesn't fall under the Federal Clean Air Act: the emissions are negligible.

Costs of Wood vs. Heating Oil

Using wood often requires just a cutting permit and your time. If you purchase wood, a full cord will cost from $150-$225, depending on where you live. Depending on the size of your home and the temperature of your area, you might need to buy a few cords for the winter months. From a purely financial standpoint, heating costs are very low for wood.

The majority of oil heat is used during just a few months out of the year. The costs of using oil depend on the cost of crude oil which fluctuates due to global markets, but most oil companies offer flexible pricing plans, such as paying a budgeted amount each month.

The Cons of Both Oil and Wood for Home Heating

Using wood can result in energy savings, but it does have limitations. Wood stoves heat the room they are in, but surrounding rooms don't get as warm. They don't work when you're not at home constantly tending them, and require a lot more all-around effort.

The largest drawback to using oil is likely to be the cost when compared to wood. Some other things to consider are the delivery schedule, and the cost of replacing/maintaining a boiler. From a green heating perspective, oil is a finite resource that will eventually run out.

Using wood or oil heat is matter of personal preference. The energy savings of both these systems depend on many factors, and you should weigh each option carefully.

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Home Heating Systems

Home Heating Systems
It usually isn’t until we receive our energy bill that we remember how our home is heated. Heat is often taken for granted because for the most part our heating systems are controlled by a simple turn of the thermostat and magically we have heat! In recent times, homeowners are becoming more conscious of how much heat is used because energy costs are taking a bigger bite out of our household budgets.

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Common Air Conditioning Problems

Common A/C Problems
Most air conditioning problems are a result of flawed installation, poor service, and insufficient maintenance. However, there are several ways to check for and resolve problems associated with your central air conditioning. Common problems include the compressor failing to turn on, the air not coming out cool enough, low airflow, and water leaks.

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Energy Efficient Air Conditioning

Energy Efficient Air Conditioning
In order to get the most out of your air conditioning system, it is important to understand the different designs, components, and operating principles. Paying close attention to the proper sizing, selection, installation, maintenance, and correct use are keys to lowing your overall costs.

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