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Q: Dear Wiz:

I heat my small home with oil and it is costing me a bundle to heat. Is there a cheaper way to heat my home?

A: Dear Reader:

For home energy savings, a first step that is always recommended is to check insulation levels in one’s home. Make sure your walls are insulated, and that you have between 12 to 20 inches of insulation in your attic. Insulation is one of the lowest costing energy improvements a person can make, and one that will show one of the best paybacks.

The Energy Wiz!
The Energy Wiz!
Purchasing new, high efficiency, heating and cooling equipment is the next best step in saving energy. The Energy Office published an article which showed how to calculate savings using various heating and cooling equipment.

While this article is based on savings comparisons using a corn stove, it can easily be used to compare a gas furnace to an air source heat pump, or air source heat pumps to geothermal, or electric resistance heat. Of course, the most efficient means of heating and cooling a home would definitely be the use of a high efficiency (3.6 COP or higher ground loop rating) geothermal heat pump, but these will usually cost about double what other types cost for the first time installation. The high cost of first time installation is due to the need for a loop field, or a second well in the case of water loop systems (4.6 COP or higher).

There is a list of efficiency web sites to help you in your search for more efficient equipment.

The Energy Wiz Editor's Note:
The staff at the Energy Office respond to many inquiries on a variety of topics from Nebraskans. From time to time, the Quarterly will share some questions — and the answers — with readers. Contact Us Disclaimer Energy Office Home Security, Privacy & Accessibility Policy State of Nebraska Home Webmaster