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Old 07-17-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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Whats the best form? Whats most common?

Outside of the Pittsburgh area.

Oil, Natural Gas, Central?

City, Well?
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Old 07-17-2010, 08:58 PM
 
Location: Greensburg, PA
1,104 posts, read 2,357,705 times
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Well that all depends on how far out you go. You'll find that most areas around here have water service even farther out into the country, but there are also places in the country that will also have a well. As for heat, that pretty much varies depending on the age of the property and whether it's located in an older or newer neighborhood. Most newer places will have central air, but it's not uncommon to see natural gas being used, whereas older properties will typically have natural gas or oil, the latter which is true the farther out of the metro area you go.
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Old 07-17-2010, 11:54 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
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There's a few oddballs too. My house is on public water but there are houses around the corner that apparently are not, even new houses just built. Either it never was put on that street, or it was not made mandatory. Or there were possible issues with pressure and new hookups; our borough has a lawsuit going against the water authority, which is from another borough.

In general, though, public water if the houses are clustered together and on/near a public water system. Otherwise not. Same for gas, I guess, though sometimes gas can reach further into the sticks I think.

What's better? Well, IMO, I'd rather have public water. If the power goes out, it still works, and while they can have problems, they're at least testing it all the time and have to strive to meet reasonable safety regulations. (I have a filter on the tap, though, before I drink it.) And gas seems to still be the most efficient way to get heat. If gas was not available, honestly, I think I'd rather it be all electric, or might consider propane delivery. The idea of having buy oil and the fluctuation of that pricing is just too crazy. The gas has never seemed to be quite that crazy over the years I've been paying for it.

Any kind of forced air heating system (gas, propane, oil, electric, whatever) with ducts can be fitted to do central air in the summer. You can also fit any of these (though it's most commonly used in places where electric is the main choice) with a heat pump, basically a reversible air conditioner that works in the winter as well and can be fairly efficient at heating when temps aren't too cold. Judging by my gas bill in winter, though, which is less than my electric bill in summer, the gas seems to be plenty efficient at heating.
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:09 AM
 
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Thanks for the info guys. Ive never lived outside a city to have to consider the heating and water options when looking for somewhere to reside.

Taking trips to my grandmothers (step fathers mom in WV) for holidays she always heated with wood stove. Recently theyve swithed to some pellets? and she has the option of spring or city and can switch to whichever she wants when she wants.
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
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It's kind of what you're used to. If this is because you're looking to buy, by the way, the other thing you may want to consider is the water waste system. If it's very far out, it will be a septic tank rather than public sewer.

When I was looking, I tended to avoid anything with well water, but I didn't shy away from septic tanks. Where I grew up, we had public water and a septic tank, so I figured I could deal with that. Since I didn't have any real experience with wells, I didn't really want to take that on.

The house I chose ended up having public sewer, which is fine, except for the damn bill. Our public water is from one authority and the sewer from another. This means they don't use the metering of the water to calculate the sewer bill. The bills are flat rate, one for single family house, one for multi family, or something like that. When it's just two of us in the single family house, we get screwed with a bill of $62/month! A house with 6 people in it, likely using 3x as much water and sewer, pays the same amount. Lame. (It was $50 when I moved here, then jumped to $60 all at once a few years later. Also lame.)

I would say you can supplement your heat with a typical wood stove, but unless it's a really small house it'll be rather uneven to have it be the entire heat source. There may be some atypical wood stoves that are placed outside and then, I dunno how the heat is transferred inside. It's not something you're particularly likely to run into, though. If you're building a new house in the sticks, maybe it's something you consider. The unusual one I would consider is a geothermal heat pump, though.
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Old 07-18-2010, 03:41 PM
 
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A heat pump is definitely the best technology available today. But we love the feel of hot water heating, and if you get a high-efficiency natural gas furnace (for which you can get a tax credit and even subsidized loans from the state) that is also a relatively inexpensive way to go for heat.
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Old 07-18-2010, 03:41 PM
 
582 posts, read 1,167,683 times
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In my part of rural northern Westmoreland county, it's all well water and septic, but very soon we will have sewers. Private natural gas wells are a very common sight, and the use of fuel oil and wood are very common heating fuels too. Will also see some propane tanks here and there, and some all electric homes. (mega $$$ bills in some cases)

Personally, I like central natural gas for heat/hot water and cooking for convenience sake, and for best heating comfort find wood and even natural gas/Kerosene "stoves" the most satisfying with their steady heat characteristics.
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