Heating your home

The cost of heating (both financial and environmental) continue to rise. Alternative options are available to those willing to take the plunge. Here are the three approaches to lessening the impact of heating

1) Switch your power source. If you are producing your own energy through solar, hydro-electric or wind generation then you don't need to worry about the rising price of gas or electricity from the mains. Ground source heating can also be used to lower the ammount of direct energy needed to heat your home. A more recent addition to the options is air source heating. All of these have their pros and cons, so ask an expert before deciding on a project.

2) Switch your fuel. A wood burning stove is carbon-neutral. Just as capable of producing masses of heat as a central heating system, stoves are more labour intensive but are also more attractive and can add value to your home. Once you have a stove you can also burn recycled newspaper logs in it.

3) Use less heating. By insulating the house more effectively you can keep the rooms warmer with less power. Cavity wall, loft insulation and double glazing are the three main ways of reducing heat loss. In Germany triple glasing is the norm. However, if you have drafts then all your hard work insulating your home will be wasted. Add draft excludetrs where required to stay extra snug.

4) Move house. By moving to a newly built eco home you could potentially cut out heating bills altogether. Some new buildings are so thermally efficient that just the sun and the bodyheat of the owners is enought to keep the home at a comfortable temperature all year round.

5) Clean out your radiators. A simple flush of your radiators can improve the efficiency of a boiler heating system and save you from a potentially harmful breakdown.

6) Double-lag your boiler tank. Make sure that once water is heated in the boiler it does just cool down again. Keep all that heat in by ensuring the hot water tank is properly insulated.