Heating Ideas

Hi,     I am sure these questions are going to become more frequent with the price of natural gas this winter. Right now its at 1.65 per therm delivered to my area (and its going to go UP!), in the coldest months my house uses about 380 therms for the month (so I am looking at heating bills that will run from 400-630 for 4 months out of the year). I am looking for some ideas to cut down on my usage (other than the standard things which I have done, windows, doors, insulation etc). My house is basically a 'great room' about 25 feet high with 3 bedrooms hanging off it. I have programmable thermostats on everything.
Initially I have 2 questions.
I have 3 large ceiling fans, reversible fans which are DC powered by transformers. I could leave them on all summer blowing down, but I was wondering if I could get a thermostat and put it at the ceiling so they turn on in reverse at a preset temp to blow the hot air down. Has anyone ever seen anything like this?
Right now my house is heated by a gas boiler / water system. I have a fireplace which is not a brick one, It uses a fabbed hearth (heat resistant material) with a metal ductwork chimney (I am not sure what this type 'fireplace' is called). I was thinking of getting a pellet fireplace insert to supplement my gas heating. Its located in the great room and I could turn off the zones (or keep them way down) leaving on only those zones in the outlying reaches of my house. I am trying to get a grasp if it's really worth it though considering the initial outlying investment. I initially was thinking of pellets over wood since from what I have read they seem a bit easier to keep filled and are cleaner.
I wouldn't mind some feedback on the pellets, I know the drawbacks that they won't work with no power (I don't have that now) and they are a little noisy. I am looking for things like how often you fill and clean it, how much pellets you go through, do they have those fake ceramic logs to make it look like a real fire, etc. etc.
Thanks in advance for your input.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Greetings,
What efficiency is your furnace? Vent free gas space heaters are cheap (I paid $100 for a 30K BTU one) and oderless. They are also 100% efficient. If your furnace is 70% efficient every $1 you burn in the space heater will save you $0.30. I have oil heat in my house and I never even turned it on last winter. I don't plan on it this year either except for a day to "exercise" it.
William
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