Heating season is here. If you live in an older home and don't have natural gas available to you, chances are you're heating your home with oil. It's expensive. And every year it seems to get worse, but there are alternatives.
Home heating expert Lucas Stritsman said, “If you're looking to reduce you're heating bills, it's most likely because you're on a high cost per BTU fuel such as oil or propane. You'd be looking to supplement and zone heat with different a fuel such as wood or wood pellets.”
Wood and wood pellet stoves offer great heat and since they burn what's referred to as bio-mass fuel, they're at the top of the environmentally friendly list. One is more labor intensive than the other, which may play a role in your decision.
“A wood stove has the most user intervention. You've got to buy the wood, stack the wood, load the fire. With a pellet stove there's less user intervention because they're automated. They run off electricity. They're automatically fed, you do have to load the fuel but they operate on a thermostat,” said Stritsman.
And for those of you who may be still sitting on the fence of whether or not you're going to purchase an alternative fuel appliance, know this: you have a tax credit still available until the end of the year on any non gas or oil burning appliance purchased through Dec. 31.
“Through Dec. 31, 2011 there's a tax credit for a bio-mass burning appliance, which is a pellet burning or wood burning appliance, that meets the federal emissions standard of 75 percent efficiency. The credit is good for up to $300 or 10 percent of what you pay for the appliance,” said Stritsman.
This all boils down to personal preference. If you want to save some money and heat your home more efficiently your lifestyle will likely dictate which option is best for you. Consulting a knowledgeable expert, like Stritsman, is highly recommended as well. For more information regarding that tax credit, visit www.energystar.gov.