Nowadays, many will say that without technology and electricity, life as we know it would be bad. Without electricity, life could never be harder. Even though we take both electricity and technology for granted, we know their great importance to us. Maybe a few will say that life a hundred years ago was better – how life was simpler and people were more contented back in the days. If we have the chance to relive the life from the past, would we take it?
Decades back, what were the ways in which people used to heat their homes? What is it like back then? What were the basic technologies during those days?
Hundreds of years ago, we did not see any air conditioned houses or modern day heaters. We did not even see refrigerators or computers. When it was dark, all we had was a kerosene lamp to give us light. We had iceboxes to cool our food. We had fireplaces and boilers to warm us up against the chill and cold winter nights. Life back then was just modest and humble.
Hundreds of years ago, people had completely different ways to heat their homes. According to researchers, these are just some of the ways people used to warm their homes back then:
1. Electrical boilers
A few people used electrical boilers back then to warm their households. According to the dictionary, an electrical boiler is a type of boiler that discharges mist which is used to make electrical energy. This type of boiler does not use burning of fuel as a source, but steam instead.
From what we see in movies, fireplaces create a calm and stress-free feeling for the family and the room itself. During the unmatched coldness the winter season could bring, people had their houses built with fireplace which could lessen the coldness the weather brings.
3. Burning Wood in Kitchen Stoves
Insulating households is a must. It is important in everyday lives of the people. Burning wood or lumber in kitchen stoves was quite the popular way to heat the home back in the olden days. Back then, heating the home was a priority. I really like the look of this old stove:
4. Lumber Fired Boilers
Electrical boilers even though present back in the old days were not widely used. Why? It is because people prefer wood-fired boilers. These are the types of boilers which use lumber instead of electrical energy. Because wood can be sourced without trouble, wood-fired boilers were widespread in use in many regions.
Back in time, others used pellets. Pellets are from lumber chunks and sawdust. Pellets are raw materials which when dried and exposed to great pressure would produce small and round twigs. The use of pellets is also famous back in the days because it would cause a slow and steady release of heat. Some boilers also use pellets. Pellets become the food to the boiler making it ignite with fire. Using pellets makes heating homes rather easy. Because wood is the cheapest source of energy that can be acquired locally, pellets were also a very popular and cost effective way to heat the home.
6. Coal Stoves
Coal stoves are simply stoves that burn coal. Because coal can withstand greater temperatures than wood, many people preferred using it. Another big difference of coal stoves from wood-fired boilers is that the former burns at a high temperature compared to lumber. Hundreds of years ago, environmental problems were not a big issue so people were widely using coal stoves to warm their homes. Unlike today, many people don’t necessarily use coal as it is a large chemical agent which is a threat to a greener Earth.
7. Oil Boilers
Because oil can be stored anywhere clean, it is a good source in heating food, water and houses. Back then, people had a variety of ways to warm their homes. Some preferred to use pellets; few used coal stoves while many used wood-fired boilers. Another thing which shall be put to this list is the oil boilers. Oil boilers were an alternative to heating homes back then. It is also particularly popular in areas of the country with limited access to natural gas. According to a recent study, a boiler has an effectiveness of 90% to 91% compared with just a low percentage for a new boiler and other types of boilers.
At the present time, we get electricity through various sources. Some sources are from natural gas, oil, coal, solar power and others. Back in the old days, we only had lumber, oil, pellets and coal. Indeed, there have been a multitudes of changes which happened over the course of the past hundred years or so. Most have fallen by the way side in and replaced with more modern ways, but some still remain like the open fireplace which is likely to never fade out due to the intrinsic link between Man and fire.
Many modern designs look to include fireplaces in their ultra modern designs, like this one you can see on Flickr:
The chunky, wasteful home heating system is starting to become obsolete. The ever-increasing fuel costs have driven the industry to build up an assortment of new heating systems, boilers and other pieces of equipment that run on oil, gas, electrical energy, and coal. These new machines are more compact, more functional, and cost less than their predecessors.
The majority of the companies now use complex computer technology and thermal engineering. Some also utilize the current ceramics technology. One of the earlier versions of the new apparatus has been in the market since 1982, but a lot of these are just being launched into market, while others will be launched in the coming years. One of them is a compact domestic device that supplies heating, air-conditioning and hot water.
Putting the Geo in Geothermal
Researchers have noted a movement of trend in the creation of heating technology. It called for more compact designs and uses thermodynamics and its technology, and is more refined and will continue to be so as the years move along. Other companies have seen an obvious change in the devices being more noise-efficient and stylish looking that some homes have placed them on show in their kitchens. I found this Vimeo video pretty interesting, especially as it is from an expert in the field:
One of most noted advancements in the field of home heating systems is the geothermal system. This type of heat pump commonly happens from within the Earth. Proving to be the most efficient among the home heating systems on the market, the geothermal system is a renewable source of energy that is environmentally friendly compared to heating systems powered by coal, electricity, and gas. Pipes are put a few feet in the ground which avoids the consequences of icy temperatures. The earth there stays chilly with temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15.5 degrees Celsius, making it a tepid supply of energy during winter time and a cool supply of energy in during the summer.
A combination of water and antifreeze is pushed through the pipes embedded underground to collect the thermal energy, and then directed to a heat pump and captures the energy and puts is to use to heat or cool the house. There might costs to electricity to use the heat pump but the effectiveness of the geothermal system will far outweigh the electrical costs.
Geothermal exchange technology utilizes readily accessible sources of energy and utilizes it resourcefully as it can put aside a considerable amount of money on utility bills monthly. The U.S. Department of Energy have acknowledged the geothermal heating technology as the most resource-friendly and environment-friendly home heating system available.
There are other home heating systems that have also advanced the use and effectiveness of heating technology. One of them is the air-to-air heat pumps which circulates the heat from one part of the house to another. It makes use of a cool storage area, by circulating the heat into the loops like the fridge; these heating systems can supply air conditioning as it takes away the heat from inside the house and places it outside. During the winter season, the process is reversed as it supplies the heat by circulating the heat from the ambient air and moves it around the house. The only downside to this heating technology is that doesn’t work fully during extreme cold weather so there’s a tendency to rely on costly electrical devices to back-up the air-to-air pumps.
Flash Heat Forward
Back in the old days, the heating system of the people then was a lasting and first part of the house. The oil used at that time was 10 to 20 cents per gallon, so it made sense to limit it to that criteria. As times moved on, bigger and sturdier home heating systems were introduced and installed into homes. Just like the evolution of the automobiles, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that manufacturers started to rethink their products. They were now required to make their products geared towards being more energy efficient as an integral part of their design. It has changed over the years and has now come to be more mindful of its environmental effects as a whole.
Statistics have shown that of nearly 90 million American homes, almost 50 million heat their homes mainly by natural gas, over 10 million use oil, 15 million uses electrical energy and the remaining numbers utilizes firewood, propane, kerosene, petroleum, coal, solar energy and other sources of energy to warm their houses. The resource-friendly latest units occupy only less than 5 percent of the market but are showing rapid increase in demand.
The Heat of the Future
The United Kingdom’s Department of Environment and Climate Change have released their plan on creating an even more efficient home heating system for its residents. It constructed several plans of action in dealing and working with the industry in developing a road map for the heating technology industry and focusing on the long term effects of heat and CO2 emissions. It also plans to further develop the heating technology to further establish the government’s effort in supporting the industries and the companies that has a low impact on the environment.
The department has also commissioned several studies to evaluate the technical and economic future for the re-use of the heat recovered from low carbon energy source. It also has gathered the support of local authorities and in turn will support them in creating a network of heating technology and systems that will work directly with the department along with project teams. The department also plans to provide funding for two years in helping local authorities in handling their costs in order help them in setting up the early phases of the development of the heat technology network. This will permit the local authorities to put their projects forward to where it is an attractive investment to the eyes of different banks and commercial managers.
The uptake in using advanced heating technology is that it has little to no impact on the environment. It has also allows the consumers to save a lot of money by using various environmentally friendly heating systems. Initially these systems will come at a moderately expensive cost but there are incentive programs to help companies and builders in shouldering the costs in the initial phases of development and roll-out.
Solar power is the subject of many discussion nowadays, especially with the increasing price of electricity. If you are not decided yet whether you would want to have one installed in your home or not, then these bits of information may just help you in deciding. Take a look at the following advantages and the disadvantages of solar power:
Save energy with efficient light bulbs
Solar power helps you save money. This is one of the greatest benefits that you can have. You will be saving as much as 50% of your electricity costs with the solar panel.
Emergency supply. In case of power outages, you have your own supply of electricity. You can even share it with your neighbors if you have more than what you need. This is also ideal in hospitals and businesses that cannot afford to lose electricity.
Low or no maintenance at all. You can have this installed and you can use it with no hassles and worries. This has stable parts with no movable ones, so you do not have to worry about it falling apart.
Independent usage. It does not require you to manipulate it to make it work. You just have to install it and leave it to do his work.
Environmental friendly. You do not have to worry about mother earth being destroyed as this is a natural source and this is safe for our environment.
Lifetime savings in electricity with little or no maintenance on your source.
Variety of choices. There are lots of solar panels that you can choose from that will suit your budget.
The installation price. The prices for installation of the solar power installation are really expensive. You may need to touch your savings to have this installed.
With the increasing cost of electricity, companies providing solar panels may also increase their price.
Needs a bigger space to install and accommodate solar panels to provide you with the electricity that you may need.
Weather can affect the production of electricity from solar panels.
At night time, no solar power can be produced due to the sun’s absence.
Comparing the advantages and the disadvantages of solar power, you can finally decide whether or not to install this in your home. You can also check with your power provider to see what more you get from having solar panels installed in your home. More than the savings that you can get from electricity usage, the reliability of energy source is an important aspect of determining the best power source. There are different sizes and styles of solar panels that may suit your home.
Considering the cost and the lifetime savings that you can get, you can actually compute which would benefit you more. You just have to check what this has in store for you and finally decide whether it will benefit you or not. Keep in mind that when you are investing, you are looking for long term effects. See if solar power can give you the benefits that you need or if it will just be a waste of money.
Nowadays, the cost of electricity is going up. With all the other prices of goods going up, it goes without saying that everyone would be wise to think of ways to save money. Aside from the usual energy saving tips that you get from money experts, there are other bigger ways through which you can save on your electricity costs. Considering solar power for your home electricity needs is one alternative that is growing in popularity these days.
Here are some of the benefits that you can have when you convert to a solar power source:
It can be renewed. You never have to worry about running out of power. With the sun being the source of electricity, you can have as much energy source as you can store.
This is a safe source of electricity for the environment. Since you are using a natural resource for your electricity needs, there is no harm done in the environment and no resources are depleted when you use solar power for your home.
Solar panels have non-movable parts so maintenance is not much of a requirement. There will be times when solar panels may need to be maintained and repaired but the costs will not be all that high.
Energy collection from sunlight is noiseless and will not cause any disturbance to you or to your neighbors. This is unlike other power generators that cause annoying noise that could be a nuisance.
You can make a business out of it. You can actually sell excess electricity if you have bigger solar panels that provide more electricity than you usually need in your home. Some power companies buy back power or give you rebates.
You can avail of tax credits. Using solar power for home electricity may let you avail of tax credits. You just have to ask the power companies in your area for more information.
If you understand the dynamics behind the solar energy, you can actually make one for your own use. You can have your very own solar power for home electricity and will save you a fortune.
Unlimited electricity use. If you have your own solar power for home electricity, then you never have to worry about how much electricity you will be consuming since you have your own source and you do not have to pay for electricity charges each time you use it.
Never having to worry about blackouts. Storms may destroy your local power source, but if you have your own solar power stores, you will have electric power to use in your home.
Imagine how you can have the unlimited use of heater, microwave, TV, iron, washing machine, fridge and all other appliances that use up electricity without having to worry about increasing bills.
If the power that you create generates surplus electricity, you can now feed that back into the grid and earn some money! Check out the governments site to see the details.
Instead of paying for your electricity, you can actually use the money for something more important. Save it for emergency use, for a summer vacation, for mortgage payment. You can just imagine your lifetime savings if you have your very own electricity supply. Think about the benefits that you can get and you can start a lifetime of savings with your very electricity source.
A heating system makes up over 20 percent of the energy consumed in every American home. This has over the years been addressed with creating more machines that not only benefits the consumer but the environment as well.
Several improvements have been made to diminish the environmental effects of heating systems which includes discharge connected to the old and wasteful boilers that relies on oil to run and natural gas heating systems to maintain the warmness and coziness of the home.
I found a site the other day from a Google search that turned up an interesting info graphic that I think you might like, check it out here.
Eco Friendly Heating
Eco-friendly heating may have been left behind with regards to technological advancement as compared to air-conditioning systems; it has slowly and surely risen in terms of its development over the previous few years and it continues to grow year on year. Take this recent project from Ecuador, for example:
The picture of a roaring fireplace on a cold night is appealing. This method is inexpensive and more enjoyable than running a boiler but unfortunately it contributes to the continuous pollution of the air with the smoke that it emits.
The use of smart fireplaces has been on the rise. They are popular in the market because it’s low-emitting, a definite alternative ecologically speaking, and it also runs on clean and reusable gas, liquid bio-ethanol. It does not need any gas or electricity to run the device. It also comes in an assortment of models from movable fire furniture pieces to those units which can be inserted into the grates of the fireplace, all of them are lustrous, and are up to the job of making the room warm.
The only downside to this method is that it only functions in a limited area, unlike the regular heating system or boiler that can serve to deliver the requirements of the entire house’s heating needs.
Geothermal systems are also slowly getting acknowledged among eco-friendly heating users. While not boasting to be a new
Geothermal Energy at Home
machinery, it harnesses the power of geothermal energy to warm the home and has become more and more popular and is proving to be super efficient even though it’s a bit expensive and has a more complex set-up process. The homes that are being heated by geothermal energy normally have heat pumps underneath the ground where the source of heat is at uses the stable underground temperature of the ground to heat the home.
Another popular eco-friendly heating system is radiant heating. It involves circulating the warm air in the room in a process of low space heating that most widely uses a hydronic system of tubing process that are installed beneath the floor or inside the walls of the house and heated by conventional boilers or solar powered water heaters. Basically, this system warms the fixtures and the inhabitants of the room, and not the air that circulates in it.
A Heater-less Home?
The future is right now especially when it comes to the environment and how people live their lives. Embracing a resource-friendly heating lifestyle provides this opportunity. Minor adjustments in personal heating ways will reduce heating charges and will help in the enhancement of the environmental quality of the earth. Here are 10 ways in which you can help, today:
1. Lower the Thermostat - Reducing the temperature of the home is not such a bid deal. You probably won’t notice it and if you do you will not die…If it’s winter outside, walking around in shorts and a vest indoors seems a little extreme. You should be wearing a jumper and warm clothes and not expect it to be like the tropics all year round.
2. Programmable Thermostat - A lot of homes that have an eco-friendly heating system do not really use their heating systems during the day time. Setting the thermostat to adjust to their personal preferences have been proven to save almost 15% annually on heating charges.
3. Maintaining Air Filters - The regular use of heating systems can congest the air filters and they will get dirty with dust and other particles in the air and could potentially block the flow of the air in and around the house. Doing scheduled checks on these filters will help in reducing the energy used and aid in cutting back on electricity bills.
4. Cleaning out the Vents - The location of the vents of the eco-friendly heating system is important to resourcefully use the heat at home. When vents are blocked by fixtures, paintings, drapes, and other household fixtures, the heating system will need more energy to function better in making and keeping the house warm. A few minor changes in interior design of the house can be a big help in making it function more efficiently.
5. Eliminate Cracks - Put in the effort in finding small openings in the house and caulk those to ensure that there won’t heat going through these openings. Not only will it keep the warm air inside the house but also prevent the creeping coldness of the breeze from outside.
6. Do not use Weather Stripping Materials - Household fixtures that do not have this material, which can be moved around the house, will help in keeping the freezing temperatures out of the house but also keeping the heat trapped like it should be.
7. Double Pane Windows - These windows are more successful in keeping the warm air circulating around the house compared to single-pane windows which are common with old home designs. The gap between the two panels of windows operates as a shield between flow of outdoor and indoor air and further pads the home for extra warmth. The guys over at Home Heating Guide state that up to 18% of all heat is lost through the windows.
8. Insulate Every Space - Insulation does not need to be expensive. Affordable materials that can be used for insulation can be bought at hardware stores. A lot of eco-friendly heating materials for insulation also exist that utilize a lot of organic products.
9. Low Bathroom Appliances - Setting up low faucets and shower heads helps in minimizing the cost of heating bills. Since, they’re not placed at high locations in the bathroom, the heat does not need to travel far and will pump less energy for it do so.
10. Use a Pellet Stove - Pellet stoves are an environmentally friendly way to warm homes as it is fueled by condensed wood and recycled waste. The firewood is considered a clean energy and discharges very low levels of CO2.
Eco Friendly is Real
An eco-friendly heating system is not hard to achieve. Some would say that it will be more perfect and more common in the future, but why wait when the tips above can help in bringing that future here and now. Check also CBS.com’s report on the topic to further provide details with materials and stores that offer eco-friendly heating systems.
With the rising prices of electricity and commodities in the market, you will always need to think of how you can save more money whether for emergency use or for your other expenses. There are lots of ways that you can easily practice to save on your utility bills even if you have a lot of electrically operated appliances in your home. Here are some tips that are commonly given but are not given so much attention to:
Turn off the lights when not in use. Having the lights on when no one is in the room will just be an added expense. This is one cause of increased energy usage in homes. Make a habit of turning off lights and train the children to do it as well and see how much your energy consumption will drop.
Take shorter showers. You may wonder how this can help in saving energy. If you are using a heater, then you will be consuming energy. Thus, shorter showers will help you save energy.
Unplug appliances when not in use. Electrical appliances use up electricity even when they are not in use. Just unplug them when you are not using them to help you save energy in your home.
Thermostat adjustments. Turning your thermostat to extremes, either for cooling or heating, may use up too much electricity. Adjust your thermostat to just the right temperature to save energy in your home. Insulating the home may just help you save more than what you will be spending for it.
Update your light bulbs. Use energy saving light bulbs that are now available in the market. This is what can help you save money. They use up less electricity but give the same amount of light or brightness.
Ironing clothes in bulk. If you regularly iron your clothes, plan to do a week’s load in one go to save on electricity costs. Plugging in the iron and waiting for it to heat up consumes a lot of electricity.
These are just some of the practical tips that you can try so that you can help you save energy in your home. Try switching to these power saving practices and see your utility bill dipping lower and your savings account balance growing.
You may also want to consider switching to solar power. You can actually check online on how you can benefit with this kind of energy source and how this can help you save energy in your home and have lifetime savings.
Solar Power is efficient and green
Solar energy gives you the electricity supply from sunlight. However, you have to invest in solar panels for you to have this energy source. But, your one time investment will pay off in the long run. The installation cost may be big, but you can actually get a grant from the government and will help you pay 50% of the total cost. After installation, you can have as much as 50% savings on your electricity bills. This can be a very cost effective way of saving energy in your home.
For more inspiration about using solar power check out Solar Network’s YouTube video:
In addition to checking out the UK government website for more tips, which I mentioned in a previous article, you should also look at the US website to see what they are advising and look for some inspirational ideas.