A woman needs to know her home’s HVAC System

I am writing this post entirely from a woman’s perspective.

And all about heating. Can you feeeel the excitement!

Being the daughter and wife of a technician, I have learned a lot over the years and even more so when I had my own children. I can remember in our first house coming home after work and it was freezing! FREEZING. Of course my hubby wasn’t home from work yet and I called on my dad, who merely said to me just turn the thermostat off and back on. Well wasn’t I surprised when that worked! I had heat!

It wasn’t until we had children that I really began to care about the indoor quality of our home. Not long after our son was born, we found out our family was expanding again and we began looking for a bigger home, within my criteria was natural gas – this is something that in our first home I, (and our budget) became very comfortable with. I love cooking with natural gas both inside and on the bbq. During the home inspection of our 2nd home, they made sure they tested the furnace – which thankfully they did as the heat exchanger failed (a great reason why during a home inspection you should also always have a furnace inspection or insist on the seller having one). What this meant was we were able to adjust our price on the home to cover the installation of a new energy efficient furnace – which in all honesty I did prefer.

One home we did look at which had a nice lot and large garage for the husband, had electric baseboard heat. Although we could change this out, many homeowners do not realize the large cost of doing this retrofit – of course it can be done and your home will be much better in the long run with an energy efficient hvac system for heating, cooling and ventilation, your home will also have improved air flow and circulation, which is a downfall of electric baseboards.

I grew very accustomed to the personal benefits of gas (natural gas in our case, propane also has the same benefits) of having an unlimited supply to our bbq, gas dryer, gas water heater, gas stove and a new energy efficient gas furnace. All very affordable as well.

As a young mother having this option of gas in our home was a true convenience for me, if we used our basement we had a gas fireplace which would provide instant heat when needed, with cooking on the bbq I did not have to worry about running out of fuel, especially when planning dinner for our family with a husband working late – this was huge!

Dad even said it perfectly to us one day, if there is a problem within the home whether its plumbing or heating if you ask the woman of the home she will always be able to describe it perfectly –  in most cases women are home more than men.

Why do women need to be educated in what an HVAC system is – simple –  this is the system that literally runs your household. When you need heat or cooling and push a button or slide the temperature, you want heat or cold air. You want and need to know that your family is comfortable and healthy.

Especially important during the buying process, when you begin to do your research. You want to ensure you have a quality product by a reputable manufacturer, bought from a knowledgeable supplier and installed by a qualified contractor who will be around if you do have issues.

Do you want to save money? – of course everyone does especially with the rising costs of hydro. Do you have children? – you will want the system to be quiet and healthy – yet still efficient.  Water conservation? That is a must now a days, be sure you take the time to do the research! When you are planning out your new home or your renovation – be a part of this discussion.

I wont ever claim I know more than my father or husband when it comes to HVAC (that would be silly 😉 ), however I know what little things matter to me, as a mother.

When we began our search for our 3rd home with property, my number one on my list was natural gas – although there were other homes we looked at and one we even had an offer in on that didn’t have gas – but could have gas installed. The next criteria was the HVAC System in the home, this would have to be inspected to ensure the efficiency. One of my other points was an HRV – which if it was already installed would be a bonus, if not it was a must install after we moved in.

One of the biggest compromises for me in this home that we did purchase was it did not have a gas stove in the kitchen, nor could we install one without a major renovation. After much deliberation we purchased a new energy efficient electric convection wall oven. This was a major compromise for me, however we have a gas cook top and purchased a large broil king gas BBQ which we use much more than our stove. We did however have to have a gas line run for the BBQ. One of the benefits that I love in this home is the home having an HRV system and the gas fireplace downstairs.

My only dilemma remaining is when our Water Furnace Geo Thermal System decides its had enough… For many homes geo-thermal is a great option – if you do not have gas service available at your home. As much as our Geo-thermal rep cringed when I told him I wasn’t sure what we would replace it with – we’ll have to consider all information on energy savings and product cost…

What have I learned about the HVAC System…

  • Bigger is not better at all! If the furnace is too big (not sized correctly to your home) it will not work properly and be very loud.
  • Energy Efficient equipment makes a huge difference in energy bills
  • Newer energy efficient equipment is so much quieter
  • Turning the thermostat off and on again can reset your heating system
  • Duct work design is very important in a home
  • I love the convenience of gas in my home
  • Keeping the temperature at a consistent level in your home is more efficient
  • It is very important to keep hot and cold air grills clean – especially with pets!
  • It is very important to not block your hot and cold air grills
  • I love the instant heat of a gas fireplace (ok not hvac but still heating)
  • It is important to get your ducts cleaned out every few years
  • Planning – very important to know how many gas appliances you plan to have installed now or in the future – the size of the gas line is important for this!
  • In-floor heating – this along with a gas fireplace is an excellent option for a basement!

Up next month… plumbing! Your home’s plumbing is just as important as your own body’s plumbing! 😉

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