You don’t have to live in an icebox to save on heating!
Just because you have a newer furnace doesn’t mean you’re getting energy efficient home heating out of it. Even a 90%-efficient furnace can waste energy — if it heats your house hotter than it needs to, or if your house leaks like a sieve.
The energy efficient home heating section of my website is one of the most heavily visited areas of my site, and it’s understandable, since most North Americans spend more on home heating than on any other energy use in their household.
New in 2021, I’ve started adding a whole different section, about heat pumps. You should definitely read up on them — they’re the latest and greatest way to heat and cool your home, and unlike most of the heating sources described in this section, heat pumps are a low carbon / zero carbon way to heat or cool, as long as your electricity mix isn’t heavily carbonized. Check out this new section on high efficiency heat pumps.
I provide some general home heating efficiency tips further down on this page — and detailed information on particular topics on the following pages:
The most efficient home heating system looks at seven options for heating your home, and the financial, environmental, and energy costs and benefits of each.
After that are pages relating to furnaces, woodstoves, and renewable power sources such as geothermal, solar, and green natural gas:
A Carrier furnace can be one of the best energy efficiency investments you can make — as long as you choose a high-efficiency model AND a top-notch installer.
Goodman gas furnaces also have a good reputation among the pros, and range from 80% to 96% energy efficient — again, be sure you select a good installer.
Natural gas advantages and disadvantages describes how natural gas (which really should be called fossil gas, and which I refer to by that term throughout most of my website) compares to other heating sources, for space heating and uses like cooking and hot water.
Solar power pros and cons looks at the many benefits of solar electric and solar heating, and the downsides: setup cost, dependability of the sun, and location.
Advantages and disadvantages of geothermal systems considers whether the high up front cost of geothermal is a good investment, given its low operating costs.
An energy efficient fireplace, insert, woodstove or pellet stove provides comfort and a pleasant atmosphere while cutting your home energy bill.
Finally, a collection of pages covering electric heating systems:
Energy efficient electric heaters can cut heating costs by letting you heat your rooms selectively. But electric heating is costly, so know your options.
The Coleman electric furnace for mobile homes is a quiet, dependable furnace that can also act as the air delivery system for a Coleman air conditioner.
Oil filled space heaters provide a more steady heat than other kinds of electric heaters, and are particulary useful for people suffering from dust allergies.
Quartz space heaters provide heat only to solid objects they are directly pointed at, so you can keep yourself warm efficiently in a drafty room.
A personal space heater can save energy by heating just the space right around you, instead of an entire room. They are inexpensive and 100% energy efficient!
Some basics on energy efficient home heating
I’m always amazed, when I visit my parents in the winter, by how cold their house is. Energy efficient home heating, for them, didn’t require an expensive new furnace. It meant turning down the thermostat and wearing sweaters and slippers.
Not only are they perfectly comfortable spending their days indoors at 59F (15C), that lower temperature keeps their internal furnaces burning a little hotter, so they maintain their trim, youthful figures into their 70’s!
I’m not quite that cold-tolerant, and my wife likes it nice and warm (she grew up in milder climates than Toronto: Nigeria and Ohio). So we compromise to achieve our energy efficient home heating goal: a programmable thermostat keeps the house comfortable when we’re at home and awake, and drops down into my parents’ comfort zone when we’re buried under the blankets or out of the house.
Energy efficient home heating isn’t just about choosing the most efficient furnace, but about finding ways to use it less. Lower temperatures, programmable thermostats, and selective room heating are all good options to consider.
What’s the best option for a home heating system? I’ve identified seven choices and try to help you find The most efficient home heating system so you can decide what types of heating systems are available and what makes sense for you.
If your house is electrically heated, you’re probably paying more than most for your home heating. My brother has lived in an electrically heated house for 20 years and has found many ways to cut his heating bill, from upgrading insulation and windows, to recapturing heat from hot water going down the bathroom drain.
If you’re already heating with electricity, or plan to add an electric heater to a back porch office or garage for example, check out Energy efficient electric heaters for energy efficient home heating ideas using space heaters and how to choose the one for your needs.