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All About Heating

Heating is one of those things that—like your car or dishwasher—you don’t think twice about until it stops working. But anyone looking to buy (or renovate) a house should have a general understanding of the different heating systems. This knowledge can save you money (and save you from shivering, too).

Heating Questions to Ask

The house you’re considering might look amazing and feel like home, but before you buy, here are some key heating questions to ask:

  • What type of heating does the house have?
  • How energy efficient is it?
  • How old is the system?
  • When will it need to be replaced?
  • When’s the last time it was serviced?
  • How often has it been looked at?
    A yearly HVAC check is standard, particularly if it’s still under warranty.
  • Does it have A/C?
    Even though this doesn’t pertain to heating, it’s a good question to ask and oftentimes, the systems are connected.

Types of Heating

Forced Air

This is the most common heating source. A furnace (typically powered by natural gas or oil) moves heat through ducts and vents to warm a house. On average, furnaces last 15-20 years and can cost at least $3k-$4k to replace. Older systems will lead to higher energy bills; updating to a newer model can save you a few hundred bucks a year—and lead to the system paying for itself several years down the road.

Quick note: if a house doesn’t have A/C but has forced air, it’s pretty easy (and cheap) to add it on. 

Radiant

With radiant heating, metal panels located in floors, walls, or ceilings are heated and transfer that heat to the home. It’s found in older homes, and can lead to issues with the surfaces that come into contact with the panels (such as cracks in drywall). In very old homes (think 1950s) radiant heat can be dangerous. Radiant heat holds heat well, but isn’t the safest heating option.

Geothermal

Just a few feet beneath the earth’s surface, the temperature stabilizes at 55°F. Geothermal heat pumps are installed underground to access this temperature. It’s less expensive to heat or cool a home from 55°F than if it’s 25°F or 90°F outside. The pumps require lots of space and digging up your yard, but the results are awesome. These pumps help with heating, cooling, and water temperature, and can cut your energy bills by up to 80%.

Geothermal heating is a highly energy efficient way to heat a home. While expensive up front, this method pays for itself within several years.

Solar

Some might not like the look of solar panels, but who can say no to saving money and helping the environment? Solar panels harness energy from the sun which, in turn, heats your home. Savings depend on the area, but even in cloudier climates solar panels can still cut energy costs. As an added bonus, energy companies will usually buy additional power you make back from you.

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments that most ever make. You want to be well-informed before closing, and knowing your future home’s heating is an essential step. Whether your next home is in sunny Hawaii or blizzarding British Columbia, find (or sell) your home with RealtyHive!

Everything You Need to Comfortably Enjoy Summer from Home

Now that we’re in the thick of summer, and what tends to be the hottest month of the year is upon us, it’s time to prepare for the coming heat if you haven’t already. Throughout our lives, we look forward to summer. Whether as kids longing for the break from school or as adults craving the warmth of the sun and excuse to go on vacation, summer is a time to be enjoyed. But what about when the heat gets to be too much? That’s when you need to take a look at your home and make the necessary improvements to make summer living comfortable. 


Upgrade your cooling system


Air conditioning is without a doubt one of our most sacred modern blessings. Few things feel better than the blast of cool air when coming in from the heat outside. But you also have that nagging voice of your parent or grandparent in the back of your mind telling you that running the A.C. is going to raise your energy bill. While it’s true that HVAC systems use up a lot of energy, newer models are more energy efficient and can do the same work while reducing your monthly energy payment. Do some research on if you should consider upgrading your HVAC unit and then consult with a certified technician on what option will work best for you.


Furnish your basement, plus upgrade your home value


If your home has a basement, it’s a great idea to make sure it’s furnished. Basements provide you with a naturally cool place to spend time when it’s warm outside because they are underground. Not only will the project of finishing your basement keep you cool, it will also add value to your home. So not only are you getting a literally cooler place to spend time, but the investment you put towards transforming the space will help you to profit in the future. 


Create the perfect sleeping environment


No one wants to be hot in their sleep. It’s just plain uncomfortable, and it makes it much harder to get your rest. That’s why, especially during the warm summer months, it’s extremely important to make sure your room is your ideal sleeping temperature. This means lowering your set A.C. temperature at night and, just in case that doesn’t cut it, keep a fan at your bedside. Take things a step further by purchasing a new mattress, potentially one with cooling technology to regulate your temperature while you sleep. 


Have ways to keep cool outside


During those long and cold winter months, you long for days spent outside in the warmth of the sun. When the heat and humidity come you feel like you need to soak it in as much as possible and don’t want to complain, but it can also be too overwhelming sometimes. Believe it or not, there are options to help keep you cool when outside as well. Make sure your backyard has some sort of shaded area, whether it’s natural or achieved by your addition of a covered patio. This way you can enjoy the warmth without being in direct sunlight 24/7. Add a misting fan to your shaded area for another layer of cooling.


Make use of simple techniques to keep cool air inside


When spending your hard earned money on keeping your home cool, the last thing you want to do is cause your HVAC unit to run more than it has to. Keep an eye on your local forecast and if it’s going to be especially hot, do not introduce warm air into your cool environment by using your stove/oven. Plan ahead and premake meals you can warm in the microwave or eat cold. You also want to keep the sunlight and heat out of your space as much as possible. While under door draft stoppers are popular in winter months, they can also be used in the summer to keep warm air from entering your home from underneath your exterior doors. You should also hang blackout curtains and keep them closed to prevent heat and warm sunlight entering through your windows.

We look forward to the warmth of summer all our lives. Don’t let the sun become too much for you and make sure you have a retreat from the heat. You shouldn’t have to venture out to stores and restaurants to seek solace. Instead, make sure your home is the place you find comfort no matter the weather.