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5 Home Heating Options - Pros and Cons

Winters in Maine are tough, but Mainers are tougher. Deciding how to keep warm can be difficult, especially with all the options out there. With that in mind, here’s a quick list of home heating options to help you and your family enjoy all Maine has to offer – all year long.

 
Oil (and Other Fossil Fuels)
 
Eighty percent of Mainers use oil to keep their homes warm. Because of this, the fuel for this home heating option is easily deliverable, and there are many options for its installation and repair. The maintenance for furnaces and boilers is relatively low, and they pose a minimal fire risk. A downside is that using any sort of fossil fuel (including propane or natural gas) greatly increases your carbon footprint, so it’s not a good option if you want to go green. Oil pricing is also very unstable, so the cost of heating your home could vary greatly from season to season.
 
Wood Products
What’s better than a good ol’ fire in the hearth during a long Maine winter? Using the most traditional home heating option, home owners can choose to burn logs, pellets or other various wood products. Some might find procuring the large amount of wood needed (nearly 40 pounds at least twice a day) difficult, but with three wood-pellet manufacturing sites in Maine alone, it shouldn’t be too hard to obtain. Another downside is that wood fires must be consistently supervised, and typically only heat one room.
 
Heating Pump
Although initially expensive to install (averaging about $3,000), heating pump systems typically pay off in the long run. These systems absorb heat from outdoor air and transfer the warmth to the inside of your home. A bonus is that an air pump can double as a cooling system during the summer, and are significantly more efficient than a typical air conditioner. The only downside is that these systems are fairly new to Maine (with the first few popping up just before 2008), so unlike wood and oil-based systems, those who are qualified to install and maintain these systems may be in short supply.
 
Solar
The panels needed for solar heating to work are quite expensive, but if you have your photovoltaic panels installed by a certified technician, you can receive a nice tax credit. Home owners will need to decide if they want to stay “on the grid” and share a power source with their neighbors on cloudy days, or go completely “off the grid” and operate independently, relying completely on absorbed sunlight. Using solar power as a home heating option can greatly reduce your carbon footprint as well as Maine’s dependence on out-of-state electricity, but home owners will still be held to the whims of nature.
 
Creative Alternatives
Is your home heating system just not cutting it? Here are some quick alternatives to enhance it:
 
Install curtains: The thick fabric will trap the heat that would otherwise slip out through the glass.
 
Clean the radiators: A dirty radiator is usually a poorly functioning radiator. Make sure there isn’t any dirt or debris trapped inside its grate so the warm air can flow freely.
 
Door stoppers: Available at hardware stores, doorstoppers are a chic way to ensure warm air doesn’t leak out through the bottoms of your doorways. They come in a variety of colors, so you can choose the one that best fits your home.
 
If your current home is not meeting your heating needs, Coldwell Banker Rizzo Mattson, REALTORS will help you search for one that will. Call us today for a free consultation.

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