A 'gas log fireplace' will not heat your home properly ; they are
more for asthetics. Usually, they keep the room they are in comfy but
thats about it. No...a standing pilot doesnt cost alot to keep it going
-- maybe $4-8 per month in gas cost. If by chance you have access to
free (or cheap) WOOD., then, heating your home with a fireplace
insert/wood Stove that has a blower on it, IS the way to go. My friend
does this every winter, and has saved a considerable amount of money on
gas costs. He has yet to turn on his gas furnace --- his freestanding
Box type Stove purchased at Menards for about $170, is centrally located
in his living area on the first floor and he can keep his entire second
floor at 65 f. even in cold outside temps. He has stairs that are also
pretty much in the center of his house so the heat goes up there
readily. His house was built in the 1930's and is not a very tight house
either. Keep in mind that heating with wood in a Stove does create
some inconvenience / mess, rounding up a big supply of wood, stove
attention, etc...but there is a nice payoff if you can do it. You
should visit a local Fireplace Store showroom so you can see how much
heat each kind gives off.
If you want to explore 'gas heat' options...like the poster above said,
there are 90 plus efficiency gas furnaces if you want to go that route .
Depending on where you are in the country, payback on an installation
(if you currently have a 65% standard efficiency gas furnace) is roughly
8-12 years. Not a bad payback really. Plus, it will make your house more
saleable. Get a few bids on the installation, as, prices usually vary
alot amongst Contractors.
If you live in a rural area, going with a CornBurning Stove can be very
advantegous if you can get feed corn cheap. This sort of stove has an
automatic auger on it and feeds in a preselected 2-4 kernels of corn
every so often to keep the fire going. ANother friend of mine has one
and its in the basement of his single story home ; keeps his entire
house at 70 f when its -10 f outside. Pretty compact stove but has a
high initial purchase price . You have to consider venting of it too.
That can be tricky and expensive. Do a google under Corn Burning Stoves
if your interested.
Definetly go with things like : a programmable thermostat, automatic
timer for your water heater preset to ONLY the times you actually use
hot water or...go with an instaneous water heater, Tyvek House Wrap is
a must and really made a difference on my house as did vinyl siding with
styrofoam on the backside, insulate the heck out of the attic, go with
thermopane type 'e' glass windows, tight fitting exterior doors, seal up
all crawlspace outside vents tight in the winter, raise the fridge temp
as high as practical, only use lights in the section of the house that
is occupied, etc...Contact the Dept. of Energy for tips on cutting
fuel bills ; they have materials they send out via regular mail for
free, or a nominal charge.
Good luck ! Norman
P.S. Oh yeah...if your married , take better advantage of body heat :)