How are you heating your home this winter?

Hey Dopers,
I just installed a jotul woodburning stove in by basement and am conducting the break-in fires as I type.

I also bought 3 tons of bio-bricks to burn in it. These are bricks of manufactured firewood made from the sawdust of milled wood with no additives/chemicals added to it. They are claimed to be enviro freindly due to the fact they dont cut trees to make them. Just take the remains of milled wood that would otherwise be thrown out.

This stove ended up costing a bit more than I thought after I also purchased a chimney liner, fuel, and paid an installer to set it up but thought of not hearing my furnace turn on every 1/2 hour will indeed be a sweet sound of slience. Living in New England can mean some pretty cold days and nights where lots of heat is necessary.

Anyway, I was wondering if dopers are planning on changing their heating methods this year due to the prices of oil, foreign relations, etc. and what those methods might be.

We used to keep the house at 70 degrees all winter (Mr. S and I both grew up in cold houses). Our furnace runs on LP. We also have a woodstove in our kitchen/dining area that toasts up the back part of the house (which is usually cooler) quite nicely.

This year we still haven’t turned on the furnace. With just the woodstove we’ve been able to keep the house between 65 and 75 degrees or higher. We live in central Wisconsin on almost 9 acres, about half of that wooded, and Mr. S has been cutting and stacking firewood (dead trees and deadfall). We also have two large oaks that need to come down, and he’ll saw those up as well.

Sometimes when it’s just me at home, I can close the doors to my small office, which is naturally the warmest room in the house, and occasionally fire up a space heater to keep me toasty. At night we have plenty of blankets, a portable oil heater, and two 50-pound canine heat generators to keep us warm.

Our monthly budget amount for LP went up from $145/month to $250/month, but with the current lower prices and our reduced usage, we may come out ahead next year.

No change - My heating bill is already as cheap as it can be here.

Jotul Oslo (very nice stove). ~4 cord/year costs me $25 in gas and oil and 4 days of work. I have 14 acres, so my woodlot is sustainable.

We had hopes of buying a corn stove to try to heat our house cheaper & cleaner than burning natural gas, but ended up balking at the $8,000 price tag, with no guarantee that heating our living room would end up heating the rest of the house as well.

So, natural gas ftw.

Propane. There’s a woodburning stove in the basement but we don’t use it unless it gets really cold, like minus 20 and lower. We’d use it more often but we’re not as young as we used to be, and we’re lazier too. There was about half a cord of wood here when we bought the place 6 years ago, and we still have some left. Also, my husband worries about running the woodburner at night, when we’re asleep.

The house is well-insulated with newer triple-pane windows, and we’re spending less on heat than we did 20 years ago when we lived in a similar size house without all this insulation.

Two years ago, we replaced our ancient oil-fired furnace with a new one. We’re signed up for automatic delivery with a guaranteed ceiling price, meaning no matter how high it goes, we won’t pay more than the ceiling price. Of course, the price has dropped since then so we pay the lower amount. Oh, and I’m on the budget plan, so I pay a set amount all year, rather than face a $600-$700 bill for a fill.

The furnace had a programmable thermostat and when no one is home and when we go to bed, the house drops to 62F. At max, I think it’ll go to 67F just before we get up in the morning. We can supplement with the insert in our fireplace and lots of wood, thanks to some windy storms this past year.

Everyone knows to put on a sweater or wrap in a blanket if they get cold. And once we can afford to replace our crappy 1970s-era windows, it should be nice and snug in here.

Our apartment building (a large six flat) still uses radiator heat with a boiler in the basement. Early this past spring, after last winter’s heating cycle, the owner put in a new boiler for the first time since the place was built in the 20’s! From what he said, boiler technology has remained more or less unchanged, and is remarkably inefficient, but this one guy in Skokie, IL has designed a newer, better boiler, and that’s the one he got. The guy himself came to help with the installation. I guess the unit cost a lot more than a regular boiler, but it’s supposed to be so amazingly energy efficient that he’ll make back the difference and then some in 5 years.

We also got new windows in over the summer, nice vinyl double paned jobs. Muchly improved over the original windows, which actually had cracks large enough to see sunlight and feel a breeze through some of the wood.

I’m hoping that these two major improvements see us more comfortable and the landlord less stressed about his heating bills this winter. So far, so good, heat’s been on a dozen times this autumn (although right now it’s in the 70’s!) with no complaints.

We’ve been spending extra all year finding ways to insulate. We also invested in those extra soft fluffy blankets.
Memphis doesn’t stay very cold for long though. We only had to turn on the heater (gas; we’re in a rental) a few times last year. I have an extra little electric space heater my SO turned on in the mornings for about thirty minutes when it was super cold.

I bought and installed a pellet stove (I got a great deal at $400. The farm store was anxious to get rid of them). I’ve run it quite a bit trying to figure out the fuel usage (and because it was getting down to 23 at night!). It’s doing a good job of heating the rooms I live in and will cost about 1/3 the price of propane to run. I need more insulation and really need replacement windows, but that won’t happen this year.

I’m in Middle Tennesee, so the winters aren’t harsh, but there is definitely cold weather.


Natural gas, but if it goes up much more, I’m considering burning the neighborhood children.

I use my fireplace to keep from turning on the heat. I can often go until early December before I have to turn it on. The cat and dogs love to lay in front of it. I have collected quite a bit of wood during the summer so it is practically free.

Extra blankets at night and sweaters during the day. Where we are in Florida, those should be sufficient. If not, we will briefly use our heat pump.

House was resided including insulation & Tyvek wrap. I am somewhat hopeful that will help offset some of the gouging from the local energy company expected this winter.

We’re still using the same wood burning stove that we installed when this house was built 20 years ago.

It uses somewhere around 3 cords of wood per year. The house is located on a farm and I have timber land, a truck, chainsaws and a wood-splitter so it’s not that much extra work or expense.

The wood stove’s steady, constant heat is much nicer then the on/off of a heat pump or other device.

With all the campain flyers I got in the mail / got left on my door.


Go straight for the children. It’s a renewable energy source.

It isn’t very cold here (California) but the winters are rainy and damp. We have a propane heater but we don’t use it very often. There are always downed trees or trees needing to be taken out on the undeveloped part of our property so firewood is free.

With greater BTU in the increasingly obese models. Finally, sustainable energy you can have in your back yard!

We had to replace our furnace due to a cracked heat exchanger and went with the higher efficiency model. Plus, it’s remarkably smaller (I think our old one, circa early '90s, was too big for the house anyway). I haven’t gotten a bill yet, but it’s supposed to save us 50%. Which will probably be eaten up by the increases in natural gas prices, so it’ll probably be a wash.

I’m not.

I live in a small apartment that’s heated and cooled by a hotel-style AC unit. The heater stayed off all last winter, and it’s doing the same this year. I don’t care about cold – quite like it, actually – until hypothermia is a real possibility, and my place being 1) a second-floor apartment 2) in southern VA, that’s not likely.

The winter months’ power bills are things of beauty.