8 Effective Alternative Heat Sources For Your Home

Heating your home during winter days can be challenging, especially if you live off the grid.

Temperatures in such cold places can significantly drop, and you may not have access to electricity and modern heating equipment. However, you can still keep yourself warm.

The home heating method you choose should not drain your pocket or cause environmental problems.

That is why we have prepared this article on alternative heat sources for your home. With them, you can be sure to keep your house warm all year round.

Apart from heating your home, we will also give you tips to keep yourself warm and make your home more habitable. Keep reading for details!

8 Alternative Heat Sources For Your Home

Alternative Heat Sources For Your Home

If electricity is not available or you are not generating enough of it from solar or any other alternative, you will need an alternative heat source for your home.

These alternative heat sources are efficient and will help you heat your home and keep yourself warm.

Unlike other animals whose body temperature adapts to the environment, human body temperature has to remain constant.

In winter, the environmental temperature drops below what our bodies can tolerate. This explains why you need to heat your home, and you can do it in the following ways:

Temporary Wood-Burning Stove

Temporary Wood-Burning Stove

What Is It, How Does It Work?

A wood-burning stove creates a controlled environment where wood burns efficiently to generate heat.

This device does not have any electrical components, just fireproof wall linings. You manually put wood, which is the fuel, inside the stove and start the fire.

By design, a wood-burning stove consists of an enclosed compartment with fireproof walls. This forms a firebox.

The bigger the firebox, the more wood the stove can take. The airflow is controlled through a vent, which makes it possible to control the rate of burning.

Waste gases are held within the stove, raising its temperature to higher levels. The heat radiates out through the metallic parts of the stove to heat your home.

What Is The Cost?

It is not easy to make a wood-burning stove at home not unless you have some sort of experience.

Installing a new one should cost you about $3,000 on average, but the prices vary widely depending on the quality of the stove you want.

Pros And Cons Of Wood-Burning Stoves

These alternative heat sources for your home are very efficient, use less wood, and have lower emissions. With them, you can keep your entire home warm at a much lower cost.

However, you have to incur a high initial cost of purchase and installation. Its body can also cause burns if accidentally touched.

Note When Using

  • You need to constantly feed wood into the firebox for continuous heat generation.
  • You have to be careful with the hot body of the stove.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal Heat Pumps

What is it, how does it work?

These heat pumps depend on the underground temperature to generate the heat needed to heat your home during cold conditions.

The underground temperature ranges from 5°F (7°C) to 75°F (21°C), depending on your location, regardless of the season.

Geothermal heat pumps draw the underground heat, which remains relatively constant, and supplies it to your home.

Cost of Geothermal Heat Pumps

The cost of these heat pumps is about $20,000. But this varies significantly depending on the size, capacity, and type of system you choose.

Also, the prices vary depending on the loop installed; vertical loops are more expensive than horizontal loop systems.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Low operating cost
  • Durable
  • Works in most climates

Cons:

  • High initial cost
  • Possible contamination of underground water

Notes when using

  • Use the most appropriate thermostat
  • Change the air filter every month to allow unobstructed airflow
  • Keep vents in your home open – check them regularly.

Heating Oil/Kerosene Heater

Heating Oil/Kerosene Heater

What Is It, How Does It Work?

Kerosene heaters are much like a large kerosene pump. The system consists of a wick that draws fuel (kerosene).

When lit, the kerosene burns to produce gas, which burns to heat the surrounding air. The heat generated is distributed to the rest of the house through conventional current.

Cost Of Kerosene Heater

It can cost you as low as $150 or as high as $600 to buy kerosene heaters. This depends on the output.

Additionally, you need to purchase fuel regularly to keep the pump running. In the US, the cost of kerosene per million BTUs of heat is $10.72.

Kerosene Heater

Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Temperature independent
  • Safe

Cons:

  • High running cost
  • Pollutes the environment

Note When Using

  • Clean the outside of the kerosene heater with ammonia solution or any other non-flammable household cleaners.
  • Turn off kerosene heaters when sleeping to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Provide adequate ventilation for safe operation

Pellet Stoves

Pellet Stoves

What Is It, How Does It Work?

Pellet stoves are made of a wood-based compound such as corn husks and nutshells.

This device works by pulling the room air inside it, heats, and then blows it out. The continuous process finally heats the entire room.

Cost Of Pellet Stoves

You can buy a pellet stove at a price between $1,700 and $3,000. It will cost you much less to install compared to wood-burning heaters.

Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Very efficient
  • Low emission
  • Clean burning
  • Thermostatic control

Cons:

  • Initial cost
  • Needs electricity to work
  • Require high maintenance

Notes When Using

  • Inspect the hopper and gauge plates regularly
  • Check the pressure and latch switches and ensure they are in good working conditions.
  • Regularly clean and lubricate motors for more efficient operation
  • Inspect all electrical wiring, vacuum sensors, and heat switches.

Solar Heating

Solar Heating

What Is It, How Does It Work?

Solar heaters are of two types: active and passive. Passive solar heating uses solar gains.

That is, solar heat from the sky gets into your home through windows. This heat can be retained using an absorber and a thermal mass for later use when there is no solar energy in the sky.

Passive solar heating is a supplemental source of heat that makes your home more energy-efficient.

Cost Of Solar Heating

You can install skylights and south-facing windows to improve solar gain into your home. Using the right flowing material such as tiles can help you absorb and retain solar heat.

Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Eco-friendly

Cons:

  • Depend on weather conditions
  • Unreliable

Notes When Using

You need other sources of heat to keep your home warm when using solar heating. Solar heating should just be used to supplement other methods and reduce the cost of heating your home.


Under-Floor Heating

Under-Floor Heating

What Is It, How Does It Work?

Under-floor heating or radiant floor heating systems can be electric or boiler-powered.

These systems can help you reduce the cost of heating your home by countering heat losses that usually occur when hot air circulates through the ductwork.

Cost Of Under-Floor Heating

Underfloor heating has a high installation cost of between $10 – $12 per square foot.

This can be as high as $30 per square foot for electric custom underfloor heating mats or as low as $5 if heat cables and fixing strips are used.

Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Ideal for allergic people

Cons:

  • Expensive to install
  • High operation cost

Ceramic—A Ceramic Heater

Ceramic Heater

What Is It, How Does It Work?

Ceramic heaters use the principle of resistive heating. This simply means passing an electric current through a conductor to generate heat.

These devices are designed with ceramic plates connected to metals that conducts and radiates heat, thereby heating the air in the room.

Cost Of Ceramic Heaters

Ceramic heaters can cost between $30 to $60, depending on the rated power output. The higher the wattage rating, the more heat you can get from a ceramic heater.

Ceramic Heater with Thermostat

Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Portable
  • Designed with safety features
  • Efficient
  • Large heating area

Cons:

  • Depends on electricity – expensive to run

Propane Heater

What Is It, How Does It Work?

Propane heaters use compressed liquid propane as fuel. The heater uses a piezoelectric igniter.

This mechanism uses a quartz crystal to produce an electric potential when pressure is applied to it. A spring-loaded hammer is used to strike it to generate a spark that ignites propane.

Propane heaters are designed with porcelain that scatters the flame and spreads the generated heat to warm the air around it.

Cost Of Propane Heaters

The cost of propane heaters varies by brand, but you can get a good one at about $1,500. Higher-end products will cost you more.

Pros And Cons Of Propane Heaters

Pros:

  • Safe and burns clean
  • Universal fuel for all your home needs

Cons:

  • High upfront cost
  • Propane has fewer BTUs than oil

Note When Using

  • There is a high risk of fire hazards when leakages are not detected on time
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning is possible in a poorly ventilated room. Buy only propane heaters approved for use inside the house.

7 Tips To Keep Warm For Your Home

You need not rely only on alternative heat sources for your home. There are things you can also do to keep yourself warm during winter or cold weather.

Taking necessary precautions during such adverse weather conditions is beneficial to your health and overall well-being.

Wear Many Layers Of Clothes To Stay Warm

Air is usually trapped between layers of clothes. This is a poor conductor of heat that will prevent your body from losing heat to the surrounding air, thereby keeping you warm.

Always Wear Socks

Your feet are located far away from the core of your body. They also have less fat that shields your body against cold.

Wearing socks will help keep your feet warm by acting as a barrier to stop heat transfer from your feet to the surrounding cold air.

Using Blanket

Most of the blankets on the market are designed with two or more layers. This will shield your entire body from the extreme cold we usually experience during winter.

So, cover yourself with a blanket at night when sleeping to stay warm.

Close Curtains/Door At Night

Cold air can quickly rush into your home through any openings. Closing the doors and curtains helps to block air circulation between your house and the external environment.

This action will keep your home warmer because it reduces heat loss.

Physical Activity By Exercise

A simple workout will make your body generate heat. Physical activity requires energy. For your body to provide it, the rate of metabolism is increased.

Of the products of this process is heat, which will make you feel warmer.

Drink Warm Liquids

Hot drinks will definitely warm your body, but the effect may not last for long. So, try taking a cup of hot coffee if you are feeling cold.

Do Some Cooking

Cooking puts you near a heat source. Also, cooking is an exercise that demands energy from the body. This makes your system generate heat as well.

FAQs

What are the different heat sources?

Heat sources include furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, gas-fired space heaters, electric space heaters, wood-burning stoves, pellet stoves, fireplaces, etc.

What is the most efficient heat source?

Most heat sources are very efficient, but you can try out geothermal pumps, solar heating, and pellet stoves as the best alternatives.

What is a good backup heat source?

Wood inserts are the best backup heat sources because they are efficient, easy to operate. Additionally, wood is readily available. You will enjoy the warmth generated by the wood-burning stoves.

Conclusion

You should not die of pneumonia during winter because you cannot heat your home. You can buy any of the alternative heat sources listed here for heating your home.

We hope you found the answer to your questions, and thank you for stopping by the Em Offgrid. You can also check out our other posts on different off-grid survival topics.