types of heating… but I want AC!  (home buyer education)

by | Aug 21, 2016 | Real Estate | 0 comments

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:

Saturday August 27th, from 12pm -3pm(ish)       Vancouver YMCA
       11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (at SR 500 & Gher Road/112th)

Saturday September 10th , from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver, WA

Monday night, September 12th , from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)

If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website

Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner!  😀
Happy Friday night~

Yep…I am behind.  Chris Berg (Pinnacle Mortgage 503-320-0925, cberg@pcmloan.com) & I were at the Clark County Fair for the past couple of weekends and while I had good intentions of getting this email out while I was there… well, while my intentions were good, they didn’t quite make it.  So, I apologize for being ‘out’.  The Clark County Fair is always a fun time, but also a crazy time.  This year I am running to catch up, and if you know me…you know I am not a fan of running.  So please, feel free to email, text, call, or facebook if you need something and I haven’t gotten it to you yet.

I had a difficult time choosing this weeks meme..  😀  Honestly, I am not a heat fan…anything over 85 is excessive in my opinion, and I turn my AC on at 80.  Am I a ‘heat wimp’?  Absolutely!!  😀  These last couple of days are just miserable for lots of folks.  Last year, more than ever, I had clients asking for homes with AC, and I don’t blame them!!  We had a very hot summer last year.  This year has been much more ‘normal’ temperature-wise for us.  Well, not counting those couple of days in June, and the latter part of this week.  Did you know it was 98 in ASTORIA today?!  That’s nuts!!!  However, in our area, we typically don’t see such warm weather so a home with AC is not the norm like in other parts of the country.  Buyers who limit their options to only homes with AC really don’t have that many homes to see, and right now, those are the homes with the most multiple offers.  So, what do you do if you don’t want to drown in your own sweat again during these dog days of excessive heat?   Well, there are options… typically I save this email for later in the year as the weather is colder, but I think it will be good right now (as we are currently melting with this heat advisory) since it does address AC, heat efficiency, and what YOU, the buyer/homeowner, can do to help with that in your new home.  😀

You know I do have to put in the disclaimer…  that while I do know something of heating/cooling because of the homes I have helped people buy & sell, and the home inspections (all of them) that I have been at, I am not a heating technician though…so always bring your big questions to a trained heating technician.  If you need some help finding one, then let me know and I will be happy to help you get those answers….it is what I do!  😀

So what types of heating are most commonly available?  What are you options?  What do you need to know?  Let’s get started…

Forced Air…
This is the most popular type of heat, but it does have pros/cons.  On a listing this is Forced air, and just because the home has forced air doesn’t automatically mean it has air conditioning. 
PROS:  Efficient, and you can get a heat pump, or air conditioner unit  for heating and cooling.  Doesn’t take up much space in the rooms (but don’t cover your vents and be aware that it can dry out your christmas tree so keep that away from a vent).  
CONS:  There is only one temperature for the home, and that is the one that is set.  So if someone likes it warmer/cooler…too bad.  It is very dusty as your ducts are consistently blowing dust and dander around….and if anything gets dropped (or heaven forbid one of your animals pee) in the duct it does cause a problem.  
Maintenance:  With any heating system you must MAINTAIN IT!  One of the things you do need to maintain with a forced air heating system is the duct work.  You will want a company to company in every couple of years and clean out your ducts to help with the dust in the air.  If an animal does pee in it (don’t laugh…it happened with one of my dogs) there are cures on the internet, but it takes some time and effort on your part, or you can hire out a company to help.  As a homeowner you can lift the vent cover up and vacuum it with your vacuum hose every so often to help with the dust issue.  I have two members of my family with allergies and our forced air can be an issue with that.  Also you need to have your furnace serviced every year to 2 years (at most) to keep it up.  A couple of winters ago, our furnace blew its heating coils….over New Years weekend when the weather was in the 30’s.  That sucked… So, service your furnace to 1) keep it running for optimum efficiency and 2) so you aren’t left freezing over a holiday weekend with 3 space heaters while you wait for people to get back to fix it.  You’ll also want to keep an eye on the duct work under your home.  If an animal gets under your home they can tear one down to sleep on it, and this is not good.  Keep your duct work up and off the ground.
Types of forced air:  Gas, Electric, and Apollo.  Whether or like or hate Gas or Electric, it really doesn’t make much different there.  I have an electric furnace/forced air unit because the smell of Gas ones is a migraine trigger, and yes, I know they ‘don’t’ smell, but for some reason I can tell.  Weird….yes, I know, but I never pretended to be otherwise.  🙂  Apollo furnaces are something else though, and for a certain area of town about 80% of the homes have one.  An Apollo furnace works a lot like a radiator.  It heats (and/or cools) with water.  It is a forced air furnace that is located in the attic space, and yes that is a system in your attic space that is heating/cooling your home with water….in your attic space.  These aren’t terrible systems…at all…but you need to maintain it, and if you have one make sure there is a drain pan and/or pipe that leads to the outside of your home…for obvious reasons.  Many folks who had a home with one has switched it out for an electric or gas furnace as the ductwork is all already there.  Cost of a new furnace runs about $2000 (+/- depending upon the size of the home.and when the ductwork is already there).  A lot of homes still have the Apollo forced air units in the attic space and they are fine.  Maintenance is key….
Air Conditioning:  Forced Air/furnaces are the easiest for AC.  If you have an electric furnace, for AC you would install a heat pump.  The heat pump actually acts as both heat & cooling, and is fairly efficient until the weather drops to (I think) about the low 40’s.  Once the outside air gets to that ‘special’ temperature, the heat pump actually doesn’t work at all and the homes auxiliary furnace kicks in to heat the home.  I can always tell when this happens at my home because I can smell the difference
If you have a gas furnace, then you would install a central air unit.  With gas furnaces, the furnace does all the heating, and the central air unit does all of the cooling.  

Wall heaters (aka Cadets)
  These are not bad heaters, and many people prefer them due to allergy reasons.  They are also efficient and are 2nd most popular in my experience…and it is close 2nd.  On a listing this is listed as Wall, or Zonal.  
PROS:  If you are not using a room you can shut the door, and not have to heat the room.  Each room can have different temperatures depending upon the occupants preference.  Good choice for allergies as less dust/dander is being blown around.  Inexpensive and easy to replace, and maintain. 
CONS:  Window air conditioning unit for cooling will be needed.  Most people complain about the ‘smell’ . when these are turned on (see Maintenance for why and how to prevent this).  Bed rep due to the recalled cadet heaters.  If you are buying a home with cadet wall heaters one of the first things your inspector will do is to look at the heaters to see if they were the recalled ones.  If they are it is a cheap fix as the Cadet Company is located in Fruit Valley area.
Maintenance:  One of the biggest complaints about these is the smell when they are turned on….that and the ‘brownish’ marks around the heater vents that concerns people.  What the smell is, and usually the brownish ‘burnt’ looking vent covers are is the dust/dander around your home that gets on the coils and is burning off.  How you prevent this is to vacuum your wall heater with the vacuum hose whenever you vacuum.  Once a year, before the cold weather hits in the Fall/Winter time, unscrew the cap/vent of the wall heater and really vacuum it out and wipe off your vent cover.  I feel the need to remind you that the heaters should be turned OFF when you do both of these items, and make sure your heater vent cover is dry when you screw it back on.  🙂  This is the best thing you can do to take care of your wall heaters.

Ceiling Heat
This is probably the least efficient heating system, but still in a LOT of homes…especially 70’s homes.  And yes, there are quite a few people who do like them.  🙂  In a listing this is listed as Ceiling, or Radiant.
With ceiling heat there are coils in the ceiling.  What it actually does is heat objects in the room, and not the air itself, and there is no air flow.  With ALL types of heating ceiling fans are actually good for the home as they help to move the air and the heat around.  With ceiling heat it is almost a necessity as if you put a piece of furniture up against a wall (as we all do) it can create condensation behind that object and create mold looking stains on the wall.  You need air flow….ceiling fans are your friends as they will help to push the heat down, and to keep air moving in the home that can help prevent condensation behind your furniture.  This is kind of an outmoded type of heating really. If the coils go out there is only one company who can repair them.  Sometimes with ceiling heat you will see cracks in the ceiling but that is because someone cranked up the ceiling heat and the coils heated up and expanded too fast and cracked the ceiling.
If the home you fall in love with has ceiling heat it doesn’t mean that you automatically want to discount it.  There are a couple of easy fixes.  You can easily and cheaply put in wall heaters, and cut the lines to the ceiling heat.  You can leave the lines to the ceiling heat cut or hook them up to the wall heaters.  Cost for about 5 is about $1500-$2000…with labor.  Again….inexpensive, and by putting in the wall heaters vs the ceiling heat you are actually increasing the homes value.  Crazy, huh?

Another option is to contact the Clark County PUD for a ductless heat pump.  Yep, a ductless heat pump.  It is a white thing/machine on the wall that heats and cools the home.  They are a little unattractive, but very efficient.  The Clark PUD will put them into your home for a low interest loan….and there was a rebate….don’t quote me on that as I am not sure there is still one available.  These are very efficient.
The other option for many people is to put in an forced air furnace, but this is costly as you also need to put in the duct work.  

Other Heating…
There are a lot of different kind of heating types, but the above are the most common in our area….and some a few others are….

  This is a tough one as I don’t know too many people who use this as their only heating source.  However, it is a form of heating so here you are.  Fireplaces are wonderful, but honestly open fireplaces are more for ambiance than actual heating.  If you want to actually use your fireplace as a heating source your best bet is to put in a fireplace insert….or a pellet stove.  Many people burn paper in their fireplace and I have to tell you….this is BAD!!!!  DON’T burn paper in your fireplace…it is NOT an incinerator.  That is the number 1 reason for creosote in in your chimney that causes fires.  DON’T burn your bills, or your boxes, or your christmas paper….etc…NO!  
We get a lot of rain here (I know…big shocker), so make sure that your chimney has a rain cap.  A lot of chimneys in our areas, especially with older homes, need some work.  With an fireplace insert a pipe is inserted in your chimney that takes care of any issues.  The only downside to using a fireplace is that it dries out the air, so you will want to use a humidifier, or like my grandma used to do, put a kettle or something on the insert with some water and potpourri, scented oil, etc and it will keep your home smelling yummy all winter.  🙂  

  Ok, I admit I have a bias against this type of heating because it takes up way too much space in a room for your furniture….and when my 20 year old son was little he would stick crayons down it.  Ugh….talk about the smell!!  You can remove these baseboards and put in the cadet wall heaters, or again….call Clark PUD for the ductless heat pump and leave the baseboards in, or remove them…it is up to you.  I would love to say something good about them….but for the life of me I can’t.  🙂
Older coil wall heaters…..I once lived in a rental home with old, old wall heaters that had those visible huge coils that glowed red when heated up….yuck.  It actually caught fire!  Very occasionally I will still see a couple of these in homes.  Not very often, but sometimes…  I suggest that you might want to remove these old ones for the new cadet wall heaters.  
Old Red Coil ceiling heaters look a bit like spaceships and are oftentimes seen in 60’s- 70’s bathrooms.  These can be switched out pretty easily by a professional….

…and last, but not least….
Ductless Heat Pump 
(aka split system heating/cooling)…  I talked a little bit about these above.  They are very efficient, and can save money in your heating/cooling bills over almost all the other heating options out there.  I recently talked to one seller who had these installed in her home and her monthly bill dropped by 40%!  These are becoming more, and more common.  I used to see them only every so often, but now I am starting to see them quite frequently…especially in older homes that had ceiling heat, and even some homes that have/had wall cadet heaters.  The biggest con, but it doesn’t really bother me, is that some people don’t like the way it looks on the wall.  Call the Clark PUD and ask them for some more information. The Clark PUD was also offering a low interest loan to help homeowners have these installed.  That is a great deal!   I also have some pamphlets on these if you are interested.  Just let me know…
Pros:  Very energy efficient.  Air Conditioning!  These act like a heat pump in that they both heat & cool a home.  
Cons:  as noted above, for some people, they don’t like the way the look.  My opinion is that if it is over 90+ degrees outside, and you have air conditioning….I don’t think you will care.  LOL  

….and there you are!  Did I miss any??? 😀

Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you.  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  AND If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.  
 As always….this is just a quick overview…. please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.

If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard…or if you would like me to help you with your home adventure, please call, email,  text, or facebook me anytime.  I am, as always, happy to help!

Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.

.   ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…

Upcoming Topics:  Home inspections & you…  or….  Escrow Accounts, and what they do
Last Week:  How is buying a home like buying a car?

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,

Tracie DeMars / Realtor

ReMax Equity Group
License# 81289
Vancouver, WA

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