FARMINGTON — Most Maine citizens know how to keep their homes warm in the winter. Whether it be heating oil, electricity, or a stove, most already have a plan in place for the upcoming cold months.

However, many share a growing concern for rising oil prices and are looking for alternative sources of heat.

For the regular Maine consumer, it may seem like a stab in the dark when looking for different ways to heat one’s home, and the reasons will be different too. For some, it’s the need for a more economical way to heat the home and save some money.

The state of Maine provides a list that measures heating fuel prices and offers a reasonable view of the prices consumers may expect for different sources.

For others, it may even be an environmental decision, as many consumers are moving away from fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy. There are several strong candidates that are more affordable and environmentally focused.



One potential alternative is wood and pellet stoves. With all new systems, upstart costs will be a little steep, but stoves offer a range of options with costs ranging from as low as $1,500 to $5,000 on the higher end. Factors such as the type of stove and additional installation measures will drive this cost.

If you already have one installed or if purchase and installation isn’t an issue, the next step is securing fuel. With wood stoves consumers can purchase cords of wood from locally sourced firewood providers, both public and private.

However, in the wake of COVID-19 supply chains for firewood are thinner than usual and buying in bulk can prove challenging, but not impossible. If your local firewood provider doesn’t have stock, landscaping companies may be a viable alternative as they will sometimes have wood left over.

Also, private firewood sellers will also be available and will provide their business information at local town halls and hardware stores.

Likewise, pellets can be purchased in bulk from hardware centers like Tractor Supply. According to True North Energy Services, they are lower effort in terms of use and are generally considered safer. Pellets also have lower emissions and burn easier than traditional firewood.

Ultimately, both are sustainable and affordable when compared to each other. Whichever is better is up to the consumer and their resources.



On the other side of the spectrum there are heat pumps. Heat pumps come in a variety of different forms like air, ground and liquid pumps, and the principle among them is the same; transfer heat from inside to outside, or vice versa.

Heat pumps are seen as the eco-friendlier option and can help reduce heating costs, but come with a higher installation cost.

Costs will vary depending on the type of pump. There may be additional costs if work needs to be done to the home itself.

The caveat to effective heat pumps is insulation. While newer homes may be fine, older homes will need to have their insulation checked to make sure the heat pump works as intended.

Maine does offer rebates to consumers to help alleviate the cost. More information is found on their website,

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