How do you heat your home?
As the snows continue to hit the Roaring Fork Valley there are many ways to heat a home and with that, many ways to improve efficiency while doing so. In the Summer months this conversation tends to not come up as often but in recent weeks it seems each time I show property to my clients, one of the primary questions is “what type of heating system does the home have?”
Here in Western Colorado we are fortunate to have an ample supply of natural gas which many folks use to heat their homes. With gas you likely have a furnace that runs forced hot air or hot water baseboard heat. It’s a good idea to have your furnace serviced annually before each Winter. By having a technician clean the furnace, duct work and replace filters, you’re going to have a more efficient running unit and a cleaner home while improving safety too. Lastly, if your gas furnace is older than 15 years, you should seriously consider replacing it and the new unit will be much more efficient and likely pay for itself faster than you think.
In conjunction with forced hot air, you can use a solar system to heat your home. Although the upfront cost of installation is higher than other systems, it can drastically reduce your fuel bills in the Winter months. The way this works with direct solar systems is that you circulate water through solar collectors where it is heated by the sun. The sun’s thermal energy heats the fluid in the solar collectors. Then, this fluid passes through a heat exchanger in the storage tank, transferring the heat to the water. The non-freezing fluid then cycles back to the collectors.
Another option for heat is radiant heat. In this type of system you have piping that runs under your floors or in your ceilings and inside that piping is water or glycol. Depending on whether your radiant is controlled by a furnace or electricity, this can be very efficient. One bonus to this heat system is that you never have allergen’s or bacteria flying through the vents and into the air of your home. If the system uses glycol you should have the glycol checked every 3-5 years to make sure it doesn’t need to be replaced. There is nothing quite like the feeling of radiant heat on bare feet.
The last option we see today is electric baseboard heat. This tends to be the least efficient source of heat and typically is found in older homes. There is not a whole lot of maintenance with this system but you should note that it’s most efficient by leaving it set to your preferred temperature and not turning on and off several times daily.
Shawn Manwaring is a broker associate with Roaring Fork Sotheby’s International Realty in Glenwood Springs. Shawn services Western Garfield County and the lower Roaring Fork Valley. He can be reached at 970-389-6069, Shawn.Manwaring@SIR.com or http://www.ManwaringProperties.com.