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Alternatives To Propane Heating

For years, propane has been one of the most popular fuel sources for around the home. Clean burning and inexpensive, propane are used to power grills, heat homes, and more. Recent propane shortages have led to an increase in prices – and a decrease in availability; because of this, many homeowners are looking for alternatives to propane for their homes.

At Clean Sweeps of Michigan, our fireplace store has a variety of choices as alternatives to propane. Our staff of fireplace experts can help you find the right heating appliance to keep your home warm and toasty – without propane – this winter!Propane Heating Alternatives - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of Michigan

Other gas fireplaces and inserts

If your fireplace burns propane, switching to natural gas can be an easy transition. Like propane, natural gas is clean burning,inexpensive, and provides energy efficient heat at the push of a button. Existing propane fireplaces can often be easily converted to natural gas; our fireplace store has a wide variety of inserts in various sizes and styles to meet both your home’s heating needs and existing décor.

Wood burning fireplaces, stoves, and inserts

Wood burning heating appliances have come a long way from their inefficient origins. Modern wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, and inserts can be used as either primary or supplementary heat sources; with virtually unlimited choices when it comes to heat output, style, and more. Our fireplace experts can help you find the perfect wood burning heating appliance for your home.

While wood does not have the same push-button ease as gas, it is considered a more environmentally friendly fuel source. Modern wood heating appliances are more energy efficient and “carbon neutral”, creating the same amount of carbon dioxide as naturally decaying wood. Likewise, wood is a renewable resource; this helps keep supply steady and prices low. Homeowners can make wood even more affordable by chopping and seasoning their own firewood.

Pellet fireplaces, stoves, and inserts

For homeowners who want the look and feel of wood with the efficiency and ease of use of gas, pellets may be the perfect fuel source. Pellet heating appliances are fed using a hopper; while the fires do not need to be tended or stoked, the hopper needs to be occasionally refilled. Wood pellets come in large bags that can be stacked and stored in garages, sheds, or even outdoors. With a price comparable to firewood, pellets can be purchased at most home improvement or hardware stores.

Like wood, pellets are considered environmentally friendly because they are made from a renewable resource. Made by compressing recycled wood pieces that are too small to be used in other ways, pellets create fires that burn similar to real wood – with one major benefit. Their small size allows the pellets to burn more completely, leaving behind less ash and soot, reducing waste, and maximizing fuel usage and savings.

Don’t let high propane costs leave your family out in the cold this winter. Switching to an alternate fuel source can ensure your family has consistent, low-cost heat this winter. For more information on propane alternatives including natural gas, wood, or pellets, contact the fireplace experts at Clean Sweeps of Michigan today.

Home Heating Efficiency Tips

Home Heating Efficiency Tips - Ann Arbor, MI - Clean Sweeps of MichiganKeeping their homes warm and comfortable is a major priority for most homeowners during the cold months of winter. For many, this heat comes from furnaces, fireplaces, or other fuel burning appliances. Unfortunately, if not used correctly these appliances may run inefficiently, resulting in a loss of heat and energy. Likewise, heat may be unintentionally lost in other areas of the home, even to the point of allowing cold air in.

There are several steps homeowners can take to help their homes heat more efficiently and to reduce a loss of heat and energy. By following manufacturer’s instructions for care and maintenance on heating appliances and utilizing tips for minimizing heat loss, homeowners can keep their homes warm and their heating costs low all winter long.

Insulate windows and doors

Most people have been in homes where there air in front of the windows is considerably colder than the rest of the house. The Energy Information Administration estimates that as much as one third of a home’s heat loss occurs around windows and doors. There are several things homeowners can do to combat this energy loss.

Drapes and curtains: Drapes and curtains covering windows can serve more than just a decorative purpose. When thick draperies are hung over windows, they can minimize drafts and reduce heat loss by as much as 25%.
Caulking: As homes age and settle, small cracks or gaps may develop around window frames. These holes can let cold air in while allowing warm air to escape. Applying caulk around a window frame seals these gaps; weather stripping is recommended for use around a window’s moveable parts. According to the US Department of Energy, the cost of weather stripping or caulking can be recouped through utility savings in as little as one year.

Install a programmable thermostat

While programmable or digital thermostats are the norm in most new homes, older homes may not have them. By installing a programmable thermostat, homeowners can control the exact temperature of their home, some even adjusting to half-degrees. Many models also come with timers, allowing the thermostat to automatically raise or lower the temperature throughout the day. Doing this reduces energy costs as the temperature can be set lower during the day when no one is home so the heater does not run, only to be raised again in the afternoon and evening.

Consider wood or pellet heating

To reduce energy costs, consider using a wood or pellet burning appliance as a supplemental heater. With major advances in energy efficiency, these fuel burning appliances are able to produce large amounts of heat with minimal emissions. Using a pellet or wood stove for zone heating – or only heating a specific area of a home – reduces overall utility costs.

Likewise, larger wood or pellet stoves may be able to be used to heat an entire home, eliminating the need for a furnace or boiler. A 1,300 square foot home will need a unit that produces around 42,000 BTU, while a larger, 2,000 square foot home will need upwards of 60,000 BTU. When selecting a unit, however, it is extremely important to select the right size; a unit that is too small will not produce enough heat, whereas a unit that is too large may overheat the house, making it equally uncomfortable. Because of this, it is best to work with a reputable dealer when selecting a wood or pellet stove.

If you have questions about how to increase your home’s heating efficiency, contact the experts at Clean Sweeps of Michigan today!

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