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Alternative Home Heating – Is It Efficient?

Minneapolis Alternative Home HeatingThere’s no doubt that with today’s prices finding ways to cut energy costs is a good way to go when it comes to Minneapolis home heating.  Some homeowners consider using alternative fuel burning heaters that burn wood, grain, corn or coal as alternative home heating solutions, thinking that they save money.

But are these efficient home heating alternatives?  The answer is no and a less efficient system means a more expensive choice.

When determining efficiency of home heating sources, the industry measures heat output in British Thermal Units (BTUs).  Fuel sources such as #2 fuel oil and liquid petroleum (LP) BTUs are measured per gallon.  Heating oil produces 138,500 and LP creates 95,000 BTUs per gallon.

In contrast, natural gas is measured in cubic feet.  1,000 cubic feet of natural gas produces 1,027,000 BTUs, which could provide water/space and cooking heat to the average household for 4 days.

A gas or oil furnace under 15 years old and connected to a chimney is 80% efficient.  A condensing gas home heating system with a forced draft fan and 2-3 inch vent pipe has an efficiency rating of 90%.  Both are rated by certifying organizations such as the Department of Energy (DOE), the American Gas Association (AGA) or Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

However alternative home heating sources such as wood furnaces and stoves are not rated by any of these organizations.  These home heating units are highly inefficient compared to oil and gas systems due to a number of reasons.

Wood with varying amounts of water burns differently.  A fresh cut tree is made up of 50% of water.  That same tree split and allowed to air dry for a year is 20% water.  Wet wood burns at a lower temperature producing less combustion, thus wasting energy.

In addition, up to 40% of wood burning energy is in the gas that is expelled by the flame.  Without the right amount of oxygen this significant amount of energy is lost.

The same holds true for coal burning devices which provide 12,000 BTUs per pound.  Coal will only burn with a continual stream of oxygen.  Cut of the air and the fire goes out.

Corn and grain heaters bring their own sets of challenges.  Like wood they produce 8,000 BTUs per pound but they must be dust free and require extensive maintenance.

With the proliferation of high efficiency Minneapolis furnaces today, the obvious best choice is a new furnace that uses fuel more efficiently and in the process provides a cleaner, quieter environment at less cost.

Learn more about home heating options and tips to heat and cool your shelter more efficiently by visiting the Welter Heating blog regularly.

 

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Alternative Home Heating – Is It Efficient?

Minneapolis Alternative Home HeatingThere’s no doubt that with today’s prices finding ways to cut energy costs is a good way to go when it comes to Minneapolis home heating.  Some homeowners consider using alternative fuel burning heaters that burn wood, grain, corn or coal as alternative home heating solutions, thinking that they save money.

But are these efficient home heating alternatives?  The answer is no and a less efficient system means a more expensive choice.

When determining efficiency of home heating sources, the industry measures heat output in British Thermal Units (BTUs).  Fuel sources such as #2 fuel oil and liquid petroleum (LP) BTUs are measured per gallon.  Heating oil produces 138,500 and LP creates 95,000 BTUs per gallon.

In contrast, natural gas is measured in cubic feet.  1,000 cubic feet of natural gas produces 1,027,000 BTUs, which could provide water/space and cooking heat to the average household for 4 days.

A gas or oil furnace under 15 years old and connected to a chimney is 80% efficient.  A condensing gas home heating system with a forced draft fan and 2-3 inch vent pipe has an efficiency rating of 90%.  Both are rated by certifying organizations such as the Department of Energy (DOE), the American Gas Association (AGA) or Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

However alternative home heating sources such as wood furnaces and stoves are not rated by any of these organizations.  These home heating units are highly inefficient compared to oil and gas systems due to a number of reasons.

Wood with varying amounts of water burns differently.  A fresh cut tree is made up of 50% of water.  That same tree split and allowed to air dry for a year is 20% water.  Wet wood burns at a lower temperature producing less combustion, thus wasting energy.

In addition, up to 40% of wood burning energy is in the gas that is expelled by the flame.  Without the right amount of oxygen this significant amount of energy is lost.

The same holds true for coal burning devices which provide 12,000 BTUs per pound.  Coal will only burn with a continual stream of oxygen.  Cut of the air and the fire goes out.

Corn and grain heaters bring their own sets of challenges.  Like wood they produce 8,000 BTUs per pound but they must be dust free and require extensive maintenance.

With the proliferation of high efficiency Minneapolis furnaces today, the obvious best choice is a new furnace that uses fuel more efficiently and in the process provides a cleaner, quieter environment at less cost.

Learn more about home heating options and tips to heat and cool your shelter more efficiently by visiting the Welter Heating blog regularly.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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$99 Furnace Clean and Check
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