High Heating Bills Have Many Searching for Alternatives

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By Nick Hausen

CARTERVILLE -- The unusually cold weather has a lot of electric and gas furnaces running overtime this winter, but there are many alternatives to help offset heating costs.

A conventional furnace is by far the most popular way to heat a home, but with extreme cold combined with rising energy costs, many people are looking for other ways to stay warm whether it's a wood burning stove or newer ventless gas fireplaces.

"They're looking for efficiency," said Mike Eader with Fire Masters Custom Fireplaces. "Whether it's gas or wood, they want the most efficiency they can get naturally and they're looking for the highest efficiency they can get."

Wood pellet systems have been popular, but a large number of mechanical parts can put a high price tag on maintenance. Wood burning stoves and fireplaces require you have a source of wood which can be hard to come by. That's why Fire Masters sells a lot of gas units.

"We're all busy, we all have busy schedules, so gas is easier for people," explained Eaders. "It's easier for them to operate it and quite honestly, more economical up front than wood burning."

On primarily new homes, Fowler Heating and Cooling is installing more geothermal heating and cooling systems. The upfront costs are more than most furnaces, but with a thirty percent tax incentive to help offset the costs, eventually the system can pay for itself.

"It's taking the 55 degree temperature out of the ground, putting it through a compression cycle, and blowing the heat into your house," said Shannon Gabby with Fowler Heating and Cooling. "It doesn't know that there's three or four inches of snow on the ground and the winds are blowing 30 miles an hour."

There are many alternative options to heating your home and keeping energy costs down. Gabby says simple maintenance on your furnace can go a long way to help in efficiency.

Marion Regional
Current: 77°
Cloudy
High: 79°
Low: 45°
Wind: 9 MPH
Pressure: 0.00
Humidity: 34 %

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