Propane and natural gas are used in many households for heating and cooking. In cities, natural gas is normally piped directly into each house. Propane is used more in rural areas, where it is delivered to a tank by a truck. Propane is also used from portable tanks in barbecue grills and in travel trailers. In remote areas without electricity, propane may be used for lighting.These gasses are odorless by themselves, but the manufacturers add a fragrance so people can smell a leak. Sensitive people can often smell if gas is used in a household from the minute gas leaks and what is released by furnaces, water heaters and stoves. Using gas is problematic for anyone with MCS. Dr. William Rea, a prominent MCS physician, once told me that he wasn't aware of any of his patients who had gotten better while living in a house heated with gas. A friend of mine is a senior engineer at a large company which manufactures furnaces. He had a long dispute with Dr. Rea about that issue. He claimed that a well-built, sealed combustion furnace would be safe, and that nothing from the combustion could enter the house. To prove Dr. Rea wrong, he installed one in his own home. He had to take it out again and admit defeat. Another friend once lived in a remote cabin in Alaska, without any electricity. The only options were propane or firewood for heating. She installed a direct-vent, sealed combustion heater (EcoTherm brand) and a good quality wood stove. The wood stove won. It is extremely difficult to build a truly airtight heating system, as the metal expands and contracts with the change in temperature. Seals will leak over time. Even if the furnace is located outside, pollutants will still enter the air stream if using a forced-air system. The other problem is that gas lines tend to leak, even a miniscule amount can be problematic. It is thus not sufficient to not use gas appliances, the pipes must be plugged as well. Electrical Systems Many EIs are bothered by standard forced-air heating and cooling systems. There can be problems with the buildup of dust and other things in the air ducts, mold and fried dust. Some people are also bothered by the noise, the air movement and the EMF. Electrical space heaters are popular in EI homes. They are easy to install and cost little to buy, but then can have problems with fried dust, high levels of EMF and be costly to run. A very popular choice is the SoftHeat brand, which features · All steel and copper design, with baked on enamel. Most people do well with them after a 24-48 hour burn in. Some remove the little plastic bushing inside. · The heating element is enclosed in a liquid-filled copper pipe, which drastically reduces the EMF radiation. · The surfaces do not get very hot, which minimizes fried dust problems. The SoftHeat models are available in various sizes, at 110 and 220 volt, both for permanent wall mounting and as portable space heaters. Some people may do better with the 220 volt models, as the EMF is lower (due to less current), while the electric field is higher (higher voltage). They used to be called Intertherm and are made by Cadet (1-800-442-2338, www.cadetco.com). They are available from some hardware stores, or Electric Supply Online (1-610-449-8702, www.electricsupplyonline.com). Some ceramic heaters are also popular. They should be low EMF and low toxic, but costly. One source is Nirvana Safe Haven (1-800-968-9355) and The Living Source (1-254-776-4878). The author is not really familiar with them. Another option is the Marvin Quartz heaters, which are cheaper than the SoftHeat and ceramic heaters. They have plastic housing and make some noise, but seem very tolerable. They give off radiant heat, which directly heats people and furniture, like the sun does. Radiant heaters are especially good for large, hard-to-heat rooms, and areas with poorly insulated walls. Marvin Quartz heaters are available from Northern Tools (1-800-533-5545, NorthernTool.com) and Electric Supply Online (1-610-449-8702, www.electricsupplyonline.com). A heating and cooling option that is both low in EMF and toxicity is the mini-split system. A heat pump is located outside the building, with refrigerant lines going to a small heating and cooling unit in each room. There are no air ducts and the only inside EMF source is the small fan in each wall unit. Do be aware that some models have fungicides in them to combat mold. One vendor is Fujitsu General of America (1-973-575-0380, www.fujitsugeneral.com). Another low-EMF heating/cooling option is to locate a heat pump away from the house, with a long air duct going into the house. This could work well for a house with an attached garage. The other issues with ducted systems (mold, dust, noise) are still there, however. Swamp coolers are used extensively in the summer in areas with low humidity, such as the western USA. They require much less electricity to run than an air conditioner, though they are not able to produce the arctic blasts some people prefer. The fan motor can be a problem for some people, and the units tend to get moldy if not maintained well. Some people add grapeseed extract to the water as a natural mold killer. Because of the high humidity created in the house, houses with a swamp cooler will tend to get as moldy as if they were placed in a humid climate.