Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Innovative Heating and Cooling Ideas for the Home

Innovative Heating and Cooling Ideas for the Home


If you’re a homeowner, you know that there are a million different products, appliances, materials and tools out there for any type of remodel/renovation and DIY job. It can be hard to narrow down your choices when you’re presented with so many options for literally every single aspect of your home. 



Photo Credit: Pixabay
These days, it’s no different when it comes to heating and cooling your home. While most of us have our tried and true HVAC system or maybe some gas heat, and we’re happy with those, there are plenty of us who are looking for unique ways to heat and cool our homes - whether we’re looking for something a little more energy efficient, eco-friendly, cost-effective, or just want to try something new - there’s plenty of options out there for outside-the-box heating and cooling methods. Many of us are spoiled when it comes to central heating and air, but we can live totally comfortably without them. All it takes are a few innovative hacks and products to replace those systems with, or to use in conjunction with them. 

Whether you’re building a home, renovating an older home, or just want to revamp the way you think about heating and air, there are lots of choices to consider. 

Let’s look at a few of these ideas: 


Heated Floors and More

In the U.S., having bathroom amenities like heated towel racks, toilet seats and floor panels seem like the ultimate extravagance, they are actually quite normal and commonly used in other countries. For many homes, these are used more often than central heat, as they heat up areas when you need a bit of warmth without wasting tons of energy on heating an entire home. 


No matter where you fall in the argument, nobody can deny that having a heated floor in the bathroom (or any other room in the house) is a comfortable, luxurious option. Heated floor panels are easy to install and you might be surprised to find that they are actually relatively affordable. Not only can you buy heated tiles and flooring and pay to have them professionally installed, but you can also install heated floor kits to existing floors. Sites and stores like londonunderfloorheatingsuppliers.com have affordable options for any size floor in a wide variety of options and price points. 


As far as other heated amenities go, you can buy heated towel racks, toilet seats/bidets, and more, both online and at home improvement stores like Home Depot. 


Space Heaters and Fans

You can buy space heaters and fans at pretty much any store these days, including dollar stores and discount outlets. But not all are created equal. Many of the cheaper versions of these small appliances are not at all energy efficient - if you leave them running all the time, you’re going to drive up your power bill. And they don’t work all that well. Smaller fans and heaters won’t adequately get to the entire space of a large room. They work at a very minimum capacity. 


Luckily, if you’re willing to pay just a few dollars more, you can invest in a heater and/or fan that will heat and cool entire rooms, and do so efficiently, saving you money and helping the environment. One such option is oil-heaters, which take a little while longer to build up, but once they get fully going, can heat up a huge room very efficiently. They use so little power you can leave them running all night long. They are also much, much safer than plug-in space heaters, which are a huge fire hazard. 


For fans, bladeless fans are a big item in recent years. These are also very efficient and quite cost-effective, and have proven to be pretty good at cooling down large spaces. They’re also much quieter than bulky and loud box fans. And they’re not all that expensive. You can buy them pretty much anywhere in a wide variety of sizes. 


If you’re looking for an outdoor heating and cooling appliance for spaces like decks, screened in porches, etc, there are plenty of options available to you, including outdoor AC systems, outdoor heaters, and more. 


HVAC

If fans and heaters aren’t going to cut it, but you can’t afford to shell out for an HVAC system, you should look into affordable options like window AC units. They’ve come a long way from the old dinosaurs your grandparents used to use - nowadays window units are lightweight, easy to install, efficient and affordable. You can buy a mid-sized unit that’s guaranteed to cool down a reasonable sized room for just over a hundred bucks. Window units come in a variety of sizes for different types of rooms and most people can install them on their own in the span of an hour. They are a great option for those who need a portable cooling system on a budget. 


If you’re looking for alternatives to central heating for the winter months, there are several options available to you. Thermal and geothermal heat pumps, gas heat, heavy-duty space heaters (such as mentioned above) and fireplaces/wood stoves are all viable options. These options are all energy-efficient and some can really save you money. Do you research and see which option is the most cost-effective while thoroughly heating your indoor space. If you’re using a fireplace, make sure it passes inspection and is being operated safely at all times. Check the flue regularly and never leave a fire unattended! 


For those who have an HVAC system and find that it isn’t working as efficiently as they’d like, you may need to have your ducts cleaned, or have the HVAC system updated to standard. Most HVAC companies can do these services quickly for a decent rate. If you feel like your heating and cooling system isn’t working up to snuff, contact your local HVAC company. Upgrading or cleaning your HVAC system will make them far more efficient and eco-friendly and will save you some serious green on your power bill, so you’ll feel okay about using it. Even better: many newer HVAC systems and “smart” thermostats are designed specifically to use less energy, save you money and do less harm to the environment. Many older thermostats are money pits, causing your HVAC to expend so much energy to “justify”, especially in the summer. Upgrading to a “smart” system, or even just getting your system cleaned and upgraded, is a heating and cooling choice you can feel good about. And you may even get rebates and incentives from your power company as a thank you! 


The Little Things

There are lots of little ways to help heat and cool your home and keep yourself comfortable year-round. In addition to things like fans and window units, heaters and fireplaces, buying multi-purpose, inexpensive items like electric blankets and heating pads, weighted or thermal blankets, light-blocking curtains, heavy-duty carpets that provide good insulation...all of these are easy and inexpensive ways to keep your house cosier no matter the season. 


For those who have never had HVAC or find it unnecessary, they get around the extreme summer and winter months by utilising these items. In the winter, using heated towel racks and floor panels, plugging in the electric blanket before bed, building up a fire in the wood stove are all inexpensive and easy ways to have a house feeling cosy and warm without driving up the power bill. In the summer, overhead fans and window units, light and heat-blocking curtains, and using light, sheer bedding can all help you beat the heat without using the AC too often. If saving money and energy by cutting down on your HVAC usage is something that is important to you, it can definitely be done. 


Your House

If you live in an older home, it’s going to be more difficult to heat and cool. This is because much older homes don’t always have the insulation that newer homes do. They can be drafty and hard to heat and cool, even with the best HVAC units out there. If you’re on the market, you should definitely look at the insulation of a home before deciding to buy. If your home is hard to heat and cool, it may be a worthy investment to install some extra insulation, block drafty spots and move furniture to minimise drafts. Upgrading and weather-proofing your house will save you on more than just your power bill - it will also drive up the value of the home and make it more environmentally friendly, too. 


These are just a few ways in which homeowners are creatively and affordably heating and cooling their homes. HVAC units are great, and most Americans have them, but if you’re looking to save a little money, or just want to have less of an environmental impact, trying alternative measures to heat and cool your home are totally doable. Not only will the planet thank you, but so will your wallet. 


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