- Reasons to refuse gas heating
- Heating with solid fuel
- Other types of combustion energy
- Electric heating problems
- Heating from renewable sources
- Experience of foreign residents
Today natural gas is the most popular and affordable type of fuel for domestic needs and heating. However, the reserves of minerals are not unlimited, the cost of gas is growing, and connection to the pipeline is often impossible or insanely expensive. This forces you to look for other, less familiar ways to heat your home..
Reasons to refuse gas heating
In Russia, most private heating plants are fired by natural gas. This is quite understandable: the depths of the Motherland contain a quarter of the world’s methane reserves, and the infrastructure for its preparation and delivery to the consumer is very well developed. And yet, this situation will not last forever: according to various estimates, two more, maximum four generations will be able to use it..
However, the exhaustion of fossil resources is far from the only reason to think about finding alternative ways to provide yourself with warmth during the cold season. First of all, this need is evidenced by the fact that central gas supply is not available in remote regions and territories recently developed for private development. Even in the periphery of large cities, the cost of connecting to a gas main can significantly hit the budget, and this is not the only expense item for a developer.
In addition, the cost of fuel burned is constantly growing in proportion to the rate of its production, which is increasing more and more. Despite the fact that modern buildings have a service potential of 50 years or more, the use of alternative sources looks like an extremely profitable investment in the future. This statement is supported by a number of secondary facts, including:
- increased danger of using gas equipment, difficulty with its maintenance;
- limited durability of heating equipment;
- the need to equip the boiler room;
- inconsistency of the parameters of the gas pipeline network with the requirements necessary for the installation of highly efficient imported equipment;
- inexpediency of heating small objects with gas.
Heating with solid fuel
The closest alternative to gas in domestic realities can be called solid fuel: firewood, peat, coal or briquettes. At cost, solid fuel heating boilers are somewhat cheaper than gas ones, they do not require such strict control of security systems, but this is where their advantages end.
Basically, wood-burning boilers or fireplaces are seriously considered as the main way to heat a house in cases where, in the future, for the next several decades, the slightly higher cost of fuel does not compare with the cost of connecting to the gas supply system. Such heating equipment is not without drawbacks: in the boiler, you need to constantly replenish the fuel fill, during combustion a significant amount of carbon and ash is formed, there are difficulties with power regulation.
We are spoiled for comfort, you can not argue with that. But after all, there are positive shifts in the development of solid fuel heating technology, designed to increase the convenience of use. The simplest solution for civilian residential buildings can be called long-burning boilers: they are loaded at intervals from one to several days, while the combustion intensity is approximately the same both at the beginning and at the end of the cycle. Modern solid fuel boilers equipped with automation devices are able to maintain the coolant temperature with an accuracy of 2-3? C by regulating the air supply necessary to maintain combustion.
The most technologically advanced in this regard are heating units, purposefully designed to use a special type of fuel – briquettes and pellets. In the latter case, it is possible to install a hopper, as well as mechanisms for automatic fuel supply and ash removal. In the presence of such equipment, the owner of the house will have to visit the boiler room quite rarely, from 3-4 days to several weeks, it all depends on the storage capacity. Problems with the formation of soot and tar are also excluded: the prepared fuel has an extremely low moisture content and does not cause moisture condensation from exhaust gases.
Other types of combustion energy
When choosing alternative heating options, liquid fuel boilers are bypassed for unknown reasons. Meanwhile, this option is optimal when switching from gas equipment. For most existing boiler models, this solution is limited to replacing the burner and arranging the fuel storage.
Most branded heating equipment is designed to work with diesel fuel, that is, conventional solarium. Variants with the use of kerosene or fuel oil are also possible, the calorific value of which is approximately the same. For those wishing to carry out a conversion: one liter of liquid fuel is equivalent to 1.3 m3 natural pipeline gas. Average consumption even for a house with mediocre insulation of 100-150 m22 is about 250-300 liters per month, that is, for the entire heating period it will be enough to fill one container with a capacity of 2 tons.
A feature of heating on liquid fuel can also be called approximately the same efficiency of boiler units – about 92–95%. The disadvantages are the need for a chimney, equipment for a separate boiler room, as well as low environmental friendliness of combustion of certain types of flammable liquids.
Electric heating problems
Electrical heating systems are attractive primarily for their high efficiency. If, during fuel combustion, some part of the heat is carried outside together with the combustion products, then all the consumed electrical power is inevitably directed inside the heated building. This is true for all the numerous varieties of electrical heating appliances, however, there are a number of disadvantages..
The main disadvantage of electric heating is the same as that of gas heating: at many facilities it is simply not possible to provide sufficient power to connect to the city network. If with equipment operating on combustible fuel, significant heat losses can still be compensated by burning large portions of fuel, then there is no way to get away with electric heaters. Rating of a sealed machine or power regulator – practical ceiling.
There are two ways out of this situation, the first and the most preferable one – reducing heat loss through the enclosing structures. High-quality building insulation is a great way to save money with a payback over the next 2-5 years. Otherwise, the problem can be solved only by self-feeding the home power grid from an autonomous generator or using highly efficient equipment on heat pumps..
Heating from renewable sources
There are many unconventional heating methods using renewable natural resources. The installation of such heating systems is associated with significant initial costs, but as a result, the low cost of the generated heat makes it possible to bring the cost recovery back to a quite foreseeable time frame. Among the most realistic sources of generating our own heat energy are:
- Production of own gas from organic waste. The disadvantage of this method is the rather high complexity of organizing a gas generator plant, but its payback period is one of the lowest – from 7 to 10 years.
- Installation of a solar farm. These can be either air or water collectors connected to the heating system through a heat accumulator, or photovoltaic panels. The payback period of the solar plant is 15 to 30 years, but one should take into account the degradation of solar panels and the need to expand the farm over time.
- Use of heat pumps with high COP. By taking low-potential heat from the environment or the earth’s crust, it is possible to multiply the input of electricity from 2 to 5 times. Such installations are optimal for use in mild climates or near geothermal sources. An additional plus is the ability of heat pumps to cool the room air in the summer.
Experience of foreign residents
The organization of alternative heating requires prudence and the ability to competently manage your finances. For those who are not indifferent to nature and strive for autonomy from municipal power systems, it is recommended to pay attention to the experience of residents of the neighboring countries. Their ability to save deserves respect: in the Baltic countries, for example, it is considered quite normal to maintain the overall temperature of room air in the range of 16-18? C, fully heating only the most inhabited areas.
Such extremes often run counter to the desire to provide themselves and their families with comfortable living conditions. Another option can be called the introduction of technologies for passive construction of residential buildings, but this is acceptable only for facilities whose construction has not yet begun. However, just high-quality insulation of the house allows you to get by with heating equipment with a capacity of 2-2.5 times lower than in a house without insulation of the same area.
The good news is that you don’t need to invent anything to reduce heating costs. Technologies for thermal protection of buildings have long been developed and tested in practice, it remains only to adopt them and skillfully use them to provide your home with warmth and comfort..