Converting Biomass Into Energy
Saving money on heating bills is something that you've probably read a lot about, as most people who live in a climate that ever sees frigid temperatures will be quite keen on learning more about how to cut heating costs during the cold seasons. However, there are some methods that require an initial outlay, but the benefits will be in future savings that will pay for the upfront costs.
One example that springs to mind is getting someone to install a fireplace (insert link) which can be expensive initially, but after a few cold seasons have come and gone, you'll have repaid yourself in electric or gas savings most likely.
The same holds true for a wood stove. Even after factoring in the costs of buying burning materials like wood or Eco Bricks, most people who use fireplaces and wood stoves report that their yearly heating costs have gone down drastically.
In some cases, especially in deregulated states, it may be wise to pursue an alternative energy provider altogether. Ambit Energy is one such provider that comes to mind, plus you can find several positive Ambit Energy reviews on the web. Aside from that, there are some other things you can do, which you can read about below.Contribution: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fireplace.jpg
Buying new energy-efficient appliances can also save you money but can be expensive to purchase. A new energy efficient clothes dryer can cost much more than a used one that you find on Craigslist when yours breaks and you need one fast, but sometimes it's worth that initial grand in cash to buy something that will save you money for years.
Many older houses also use extremely inefficient heating systems. While it's great to be handy enough that you can easily patch and repair systems like this, after they've been fixed and used for 25 years, they're obviously not going to be nearly as efficient as a newer heating system, so it's critical to factor that into your budget. Should you wait until the heat goes out again and then fix it yourself, again? Or should you just invest in a brand new system that will save you money each month?Contribution: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coffeeville_Alabama_Victorian_House.jpg
It's impossible for anyone not to think about immediate cash issues, of course. It's very difficult to come up with $10,000 for a new heating system when you know that you could get a part for $150 and fix it yourself, but consider things like this:
1. What are your monthly heating costs? If you have a tiny house and you rarely spend much on heat, you may be fine without making big changes. If you live in a giant drafty Victorian and spend $1000 a month on heat, it's probably time for a new system.
2. How long is your cold season? If it's only a few weeks out of the year, you'd probably be better off investing your money in something else. If it's 3 or more months though? That's enough to make a financial difference.
3. What is your available budget? Do you want to finance or do you have cash on hand? If you can't afford to make a big investment right now, then by all mean, don't do it. If you can? It might be worth it in the long run.
DIY comes into play here too. Maybe you can actually buy a wood stove and install it yourself. Perhaps you live in the woods and can easily provide your stove or fireplace with tons of wood just from what you can cut each day.
Maybe you're a retired electrician who can make the switch from an electric dryer to a more efficient gas one. There are loads of great resources available online for doing just about anything yourself, so even if you aren't a skilled DIYer, you can probably do something after watching some how-to videos and reading about the process.
This kind of thing pays off, too, of course. Once you've learned how to install a dryer, you can probably install your next dishwasher. If you've installed your own wood stove, maybe you can install one for a neighbor who can return the favor by helping you put on a new roof in the spring. It's also a great feeling to be able to not have to depend on someone else, and that confidence leads to better things in life.