In the last article we covered some fun and easy ways to reduce energy bills in the summer and in this post we will look at the opposite side of the coin: where we lose money on heating and what cheap sustainable solution we could use instead to lower our energy bills?
It all starts with a simple question> where do we lose most of the heat?
This is a subject on which many of you already know allot. It is something that we also covered in a previous article so if you want to find out more about why polystyrene, although cheap and very popular is not necessarily the best option for insulating your walls, click here.
An easy way to check where you lose most of the heat is by taking a thermal picture of your home.
2. Radiator loses:
If you have good insulated walls and good windows but are still not satisfied with the way your radiators are performing you might wish to apply the following improvements:
A. mounting a radiator shelf: will push the hot air flow towards the room rather than letting it rise up to the ceiling.
B. placing a radiator reflector panel from aluminium foil or similar will have a similar effect and it is especially useful in old houses and apartments.
C. releasing the pressure from your radiators if you feel the radiator cold at the top can drastically improve it’s efficiency. If you do not have a pressure valve on your radiator now it is the time to get it.
D. removing any obstacles that are in front of your radiator will also insure you get most of the heat into the room. Curtains and drapes are good for insulation, especially when you have old windows as long as the curtain is not covering the radiator. You will have more heat from the radiator by keeping the curtains above it’s shelf instead of blocking the air flow and loosing money on heating.
3. Inefficient old heating systems:
This is probably the most expensive and hardest part of the heating system to improve without professional help.
But hard does not mean impossible and if you do not have the money right now to buy an energy efficient system like geothermal or solar there are many people out there that offer guides on how to built alternative and sustainable heaters with recycled or cheap materials.
A. Solar air heaters: great for reducing the use of your traditional heating system during the sunny days.
There are different types of solar air heaters but the basic principal behind them is that you have a frame covered with a transparent material (glass or polycarbonate) in which you have a dark heat absorbing material. The transparent cover allows the sun to enter the sealed frame and keeps the heat absorbed by the dark foil inside the panel.
For maximum output place the panel facing South and away of shadow from nearby obstacles.
You can find a link bellow that shows how this system works and many more videos are available in the descriptions at the end of the article.
B. Using recycled waste as fuel for an existing furnace. Most of this solutions are not made by professionals, some might work better then others and all of them require allot of caution when testing an operating. If you do test these ideas make it in a controlled environment which is fire proved and always be careful when playing with fire.
– one idea is to use recycled paper as fuel for your timber furnace. The tools you would need to transform paper into logs are 2 buckets: one with holes and a normal bucket same size or bigger then the first one, a drilling machine some water and whatever paper you have around the house that you normally just trow away. The video bellow explains very well the process.
– another option could be to use burned oil to fire your furnace. This will not only save you money but will also help the environment as Oil is one of the biggest pollutants we constantly trow away in the water system.
Converting an existing system into one that uses burned oil can be difficult so a professional help might be needed. Bellow you can find an example of a home built furnace that runs on used oil. There are also companies that build new furnaces designed to run on used oil, so if you eat allot of french fries (not recommended as it is not so good for your abs), if you run a garage or if you have a fast food business you might wish to look further into this option and instead of polluting the waters recover the waste and lose less money on heating.
C. Free Gas. For people that are close to the black sea the invention of John Kanssas could be the answer. He is using a radio frequencies generator to release oxygen and hydrogen from salt water to create an incredibly intense flame. However this system still uses more energy to burn salt than it produces, so for now it’s just a nice idea, but not very efficient.
Although these systems might not give you total independence they can prevent you loosing money while providing a warmer environment in your home.
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