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Old 04-05-2013, 12:37 PM
 
172 posts, read 270,639 times
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So, I'm now thinking of the weather and snow ... and wondering what sort of features I should be looking for in a house to make sure we keep warm? What sort of insulation, window glazing, heating sources, etc. I'm like a reptile, if it is cold I just want to curl up and do nothing. I need a bit of heat in my blood!

SSLifestyler
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthSeasLifestyler View Post
So, I'm now thinking of the weather and snow ... and wondering what sort of features I should be looking for in a house to make sure we keep warm? What sort of insulation, window glazing, heating sources, etc. I'm like a reptile, if it is cold I just want to curl up and do nothing. I need a bit of heat in my blood!

SSLifestyler
You're going to want to buy something new and energy efficient then. The old house like mine tend to be cold and very expensive to heat.

Heat pumps are the most efficient form of heating, but they cost more to install.
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:04 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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Most homes built after about 1978 have dual pane windows and insulation. Many older ones have been upgraded, but some of the most "charming" 100 year old homes in Seattle still have the original single-pane windows.

Heat pumps can fail during an extreme, long lasting cold spell as we have once every 5-6 years. The condensors will ice up. Avoid electric heat, it's more expensive than gas, though that can change, and run away if it's heated with oil. Our house is gas heat, 3,000 sf and I keep the thermostat at 70 when home, down to 60 at night, and our combined electric/gas bill this last winter was running over $300/month. If you find something with one or more fireplaces, make
sure to have the glass doors or at least a good damper so the warm air isn't sucked up the chimney.
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Seattle area
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I know what you mean southsea. We are relocating to Seattle from Texas next month. I'm glad it's in the so called Washington summer/ Texas spring. It's 70 in my house right now and I have a jacket on.
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:53 PM
 
9,638 posts, read 25,565,757 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthSeasLifestyler View Post
So, I'm now thinking of the weather and snow ... and wondering what sort of features I should be looking for in a house to make sure we keep warm? What sort of insulation, window glazing, heating sources, etc. I'm like a reptile, if it is cold I just want to curl up and do nothing. I need a bit of heat in my blood!

SSLifestyler
Snow almost never happens in Seattle. And when it does, it's usually pretty insignificant.
For me, the worst of it is those raw, cold, windy, rainy days. We get them every year. Always have head wear at the ready if you're outside and it could rain. Soup and hot coffee are big sellers here.
By far the most common source of heat in most people's homes around here is forced air gas. The heat source I dislike the most is the electric baseboard heaters. You don't feel warm and you get big bills. Newer construction won't have them, but some homes are being built with ductless electric heat pumps, which are insanely efficient. Although oil heat is insanely expensive, it feels good. Toasty. But nobody builds new houses with oil heat around here either, I don't think.
Also, a lot of people looking for houses to buy get impressed with those extremely tall ceilings. It looks great. But it's space that you're going to be heating and paying for.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:30 AM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
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What do these ductless electric heat pumps look like? Last year we were renting a town home and I LOVED the heating system... There wasn't a large duct system but it was centralized on the bottom floor. It had a knob that didn't tell me the temperature but worked like a volume switch which ranged from low to high. There were just two, small, box-like fans built into the wall that blew out hot air (but not too strongly). Upstairs, each room had a similar dial, except it only controlled that particular room. And there wasn't the same box, instead there was a long, thin, contraption that passively heated the room (like a coil???) that was under the windows. Anyway, I thought it was was VERY efficient... I had as much control and when and where I wanted heat. I didn't have to mess around with setting a programmable thermostat or waiting for the system to kick on. That heating system was almost worth not buying our condo. We have forced air (gas). It seems to be standard issue. I agree about the oil. Wow.... We rented a house built in 1908 for our first 9 months in Seattle that had oil heating. TERRIBLE. I kept the house at 62 when I was at home during the day and 52 at night, and really we only fired it up for 30 minutes while we got ready in the morning and for an hour or two when we got home at night. We wore many layers and mostly kept to a single room that had a pellet stove (those are fun, but I don't know if they are environmentally sound and they don't heat up the room, just the immediate space). Anyway... we only used the heat from October 15th-ish to February 15th (when we moved) and the cost to fill up the oil for these 4 months exceeded $850 (!!!). Just oil, and just for heat.. and terrible heat too.... don't do it... If you see oil, run, don't walk, fast.
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by flyingsaucermom View Post
What do these ductless electric heat pumps look like?
Google "Mini split" which is what they'e known as in the rest of the world. They consist of an interior piece that is around 24" x 8" x 8" (depending on capacity) mounted on the wall up by the ceiling, and outside is a "fan box" that holds the condenser unit. Usually they come with a remote control.

I'm seeing them pop up in some mid-high end remodels lately where energy efficiency (LEED rating) is emphasized. You'll see several in the interior pictures of this recent remodel/flip:

10347 13th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98177 | MLS# 455360 | Redfin

As for the condensers icing up, this was one thing I've asked the neighbors about who have converted to heat pumps. It's not a big issue down here in the lowlands. Most people with central forced air heat pumps put in a backup electric element for the few times when outside temperatures are too low for the heat pump to work efficiently.
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:05 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
36,363 posts, read 66,135,624 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twelker View Post
I know what you mean southsea. We are relocating to Seattle from Texas next month. I'm glad it's in the so called Washington summer/ Texas spring. It's 70 in my house right now and I have a jacket on.
A week ago here it was sunny and in the 60s and people were outdoors wearing shorts. Generally
the shorts come out when it's consistently over 55.
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Seattle area
8,529 posts, read 10,592,441 times
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I didn't know it's cold in Seattle. It's cold or hot only a few days a year. The rest is cool or pleasant.
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:37 AM
 
Location: A Very Naughtytown In Northwestern Montanifornia U.S.A.
1,088 posts, read 1,782,706 times
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Default Hydronic heating systems vs Heat pump systems ~

I think that considering the initial cost and lifespan and possible maintenance or breakdown costs, the hot water type of hydronic systems (verses the steam type) fueled with natural gas seem to be very efficient and trouble free.
It's nice having old style cast iron radiators in the rooms too, the baseboard radiators are cheap but they look ugly. Get the automatic air bleeders to reduce maintenance.
Personally I have always enjoyed heating and cooking with wood stoves.
No gas or electric oven cooks bread or a big bird better than a wood cookstove oven (IMHO) and a person can sure keep warm cooking with one !
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