Heating Advice For A Drafty Farm House?

My elderly mother lives in the country in an old, drafty farm house and heats with a wood stove since she is on a fixed income. She is getting to the point of not being able to handle the wood. The only fuel available is electricity, which is expensive, and bottled gas and fuel oil. Since the house has no duct work, I was thinking of those motel units that go thru the wall and provide heat and a/c. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? She is very independent and the kids are broke. Thanks.



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March 12, 20050 found this helpful

I have a reverse cycle airconditioner/heater, which is I think what you mean by a 'motel unit' one. They are very efficient/effective and not too expensive to run - cheaper than a small portable heater - but they only heat one room. They come in different sizes for different room areas so you will need the measurements of the room when you go to choose one. My price would be meaningless to you as I am in Australia. I also have a wood stove in the loungeroom for the winter which heats my whole house, (which is very small!). I have the reverse cycle in the bedroom mainly for cooling in the summer as I work nights and sleep during the heat of the day.


I'm sure you've thought of this but just in case you haven't.......might it be cheaper to have a family busy bee where everyone gets together and cuts your mother a supply of wood for the whole winter. You may need to re think the storage arrangements so she can access it easily. Also there are many cheap ways of improving the home insulation - draught stripping the windows and doors, door 'sausages', lining inside the windows with tape and clear plastic in the winter, floor rugs over ill fitting floorboards, caulking around ill fitting doors, vents, skirting boards, etc. You can check where the draughts are entering on a breezy day by going round the room with a lighted candle and checking for flame movement. This would at least lower her wood usage and increase comfort.


Hope this helps.



By Beverly (Guest Post)
March 12, 20050 found this helpful

Have you thought about a kerosene heater?

By Pat (Guest Post)
March 13, 20050 found this helpful

If you live in the United States you could look into the energy assistance programs found at your local social service office. Some will have contacts to community weatherization programs for homes. Some of these programs have installed new furnaces and have weatherized older homes. I'm glad you care so much about your mom. She's lucky to have you!

March 13, 20050 found this helpful

All your dear Mother needs is a sweet little room and board in the home of one of her children, just for the winter. Then when the warm weather comes when no heat is required, she could go back home for a few months.


She could probably pay for her food and the family could do a great thing to keep her healthy and happy. It is an alternative to spending a lot on her home upkeep.

March 14, 20050 found this helpful

There is a type of woodstove fuel that is processed, so that wood faggots are not used. This might be easier for her to handle. I can't give you more details, but pls surf the net and I'm sure you'll find it. It might be in pellet or other form. They also burn clean.

By pakjc (Guest Post)
March 14, 20050 found this helpful

my sister had a problem with heating her older home, she is working and her husband is disabled so the income was'nt enough. so she applied for state/ county aid to pay her heating bill and found that she more than quallified for weatherization assistance in which the state had the windows and exterer doors replaced and a new water heater and the furnace replaced and insullation in the walls and the attic!!!!!


and they paid her heating bill !!!!!you really should see if your state has something like that to help her!!! my sister is in illinois. great luck!

March 17, 20050 found this helpful

Thank you all for your advice. I'll talk the suggestions over with Mom and try to figure out something before next winter.

By Samuel Emanuele (Guest Post)
August 15, 20050 found this helpful

Dear Madam or Sir:

I would recommend that she apply for LIHEAP. Even if she doesn't use the funds for purchasing fuel, you could apply the benefit ($) towards the purchase of a heating system. This should help offset the cost of purchasing a heating system. Also, be certain she applies for the "local weatherization program".



Sam in Canadohta Lake, PA


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