Fix It: Keeping warm

How do you keep warm in the winter? There are several different types of heating systems available.

fireplace 88 (photo credit: )
fireplace 88
(photo credit: )
How do you keep warm in the winter? There are several different types of heating systems available. Hopefully some of this information will help you decide which type of system to put in your home. *Yunkers: A yunkers system consists of a main consul that circulates hot water throughout your home to radiators in each room. Gas is used to heat the water. This type of heat is very comfortable, as it does not dry out the air when it warms your home. The radiators are adjustable so they can be set to be lukewarm or very hot. If you do not need heat in a particular room, that radiator can also be turned off. Initially, the yunkers system is usually the most expensive to install. In the long run, however, it may be the most comfortable and economical source of heat. The system takes very little maintenance and a check-up by a qualified technician is recommended every other year. The radiators themselves usually last between 10 and 20 years, and the main consul usually outlives the radiators. *Masgan (forced air): Masgan is available in a central system or in individual systems. A central masgan system has ducts that run throughout the entire home. An individual masgan system is a single unit used for just a particular room. The main advantage of masgan is that the same system could be used for both heat and air conditioning. These systems run on electricity, which tends to make running them costly. However, they are very convenient to use and come with programmable thermostats that allow you to set it to operate at a particular temperature and when to go off and on. The heat from a forced air system is very dry, although the most recent systems have built in humidifiers. People often complain about waking up with a very dry throat after sleeping in a room with forced air heating. Choosing to go with a central system or individual units depends on people's individual needs and the layout of your home. Sometimes it is less expensive to install a central system versus five individual units. A qualified installer would be able to advise you on the options you have for your particular situation. *Neft: Neft is heating by burning oil. A small furnace that looks like a fireplace is the source of the heat. The neft furnace needs to be vented to the outside, usually via the roof. Neft probably offers the best source of heat and will really warm up a home; however, neft also has some disadvantages. The heat basically stays near the furnace, though there are blowers that will circulate the heat in a limited way. If you have a long hallway or bedrooms far away from the oven, it will probably not warm up the rooms properly. The price of neft fluctuates and it is often the most costly heating option to maintain. Additionally, you need to deal with getting the neft fuel delivered. Like all heating systems, it would be wise to have a professional discuss the pros and cons of each type of system for your particular home. If you are using a less permanent source of heat, it is very important to use them safely. Never use your oven as a source of heat. It is also important to minimize the use of extension cords to operate portable radiators. Extension cords are often the cause of fires and other accidents, and should be avoided to keep your home safe. Carol W. asks: Several weeks ago, you answered a question about washer-dryer connections. I wanted to know what you thought about the plastic containers that you fill with water and then connect to the dryer exhaust hose, eliminating the need for an outside exhaust. Our house was built with an interior laundry room with a long exhaust pipe to the outdoors. For some reason, water builds up in the pipe and causes the dryer to take an extremely long time to dry. My husband is tired of wet vacuuming out the water every few months so we bought the plastic contraption. Besides making the room really dusty, are there any dangers, environmental or otherwise, to this exhaust arrangement? The indoor dryer exhaust systems should be avoided. The lint in the exhaust is highly combustible. The water in the box is designed to ground the lint. It is only partially effective. If you forget to put water in the box, you have created a huge fire hazard. A dryer should vent to the outside using the shortest route. It would be worthwhile to investigate if it is possible to cut down on the length of your exhaust to make it more moisture-free. Today's Do-It-Yourself Resource is:, which has great tips for various home improvement projects. Readers' tips and comments are always welcome!