Heating your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home -- typically making up about 42% of your utility bill.
No matter what kind of heating system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. But remember, an energy-efficient furnace alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the whole-house approach. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with recommended insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can save about 30% on your energy bill while reducing environmental emissions.
Select energy-efficient products when you buy new heating equipment. Your contractor should be able to give you energy fact sheets for different types, models, and designs to help you compare energy usage. See the efficiency standards for information on minimum ratings, and look for the ENERGY STAR when purchasing new products.
A variety of technologies are available for heating your house. In addition to heat pumps, which are discussed separately, many homes use the following approaches:
Uses the sun to heat either air or liquid and can serve as a supplemental heat source.
Among the most expensive ways to heat a home.
By far the most common way to heat a home.
Provides a way to heat your home using biomass or waste sources.
While forced-air heating systems, heat pumps, and air conditioners rely on ducts, water and steam heat systems use radiators that only deliver heat.
Can draw on a number of energy sources, including electricity, boilers, solar energy, and wood and pellet-fuel heating.
Less efficient than central heating systems, but can save energy when used appropriately.