Heating your home can be extremely expensive, especially if you live in an area that is known for cold winters. While the majority of people use traditional heating methods such as gas or oil, there are other alternatives that can prove to be far more cost-effective while helping the environment. Many of today’s best heating alternatives rely instead on such sources as solar power and recycled materials to help keep costs down when the temperature dips.

Wood-pellet heating has seen a resurgence in recent years as a cost-effective home heating option. The pellets, roughly the size of rabbit feed, are made from a variety of recycled materials such as sawdust, dried plants and wood chips. Costing an average of $150 per ton, the average-sized house will use about three tons of pellets per year. Similar to using a traditional wood stove, pellets burn much cleaner and are much more convenient to handle than big pieces of firewood. If a wood-pellet stove is used, make sure to clean your chimney on a regular basis to ensure creosote or other substances have not built up and could potentially catch fire.

Air-solar heating is becoming more popular as homeowners start to take solar heating options seriously. By heating a tank of air with the sun’s rays, the warm air can then be pumped throughout the house using the existing ductwork. One advantage of this Heating System is it can be formatted to easily work with existing home Heating Systems, and can provide heat in the house on cloudy days. Many government grants exist for those wanting to install solar power units in their homes, so while the initial outlay may be expensive the grant money can eventually let the system pay for itself.

Radiant heating, which is the slow transfer of heat into a home’s walls or floors, works best in homes that have deep concrete floors or thick walls. It’s done by using electric cables to spread heat throughout the home. A solar Heating System can be used in conjunction with the electric cables, while many people choose to use a standard furnace to heat the water or air used in radiant heating. To make sure this system proves to be cost-effective in your home, it’s best used in those homes that do have very thick walls and floors.

As winter approaches, people everywhere will be looking for ways to stay warm while also keeping money in their pockets. By investing in any of these methods, staying warm inside while Old Man Winter keeps things cold outside will be much easier and affordable.

Written by Tim Smith for Modernize.