When you are building a new home, you have a lot of important decisions to make, one of them being how you will heat your home. Between picking your carpet colors, and deciding on a floor plan, you really should take a moment to think about how you plan to heat your home. There is a myriad of options out there for people who want to break away from traditional gas furnaces and each of them have their own benefits and drawbacks. However, it is important to remember that heating technology has made dramatic advances over the last few years and options that may have seemed inefficient or archaic in the past are now not only viable, but preferred in some cases. Below we will talk about the pros and cons of three of these systems: pellet stoves, electric forced air, and geothermal heating.
Pellet stoves are a great way to heat your home. If you like the idea of running an off-the-grid system or just love the smell of wood fires, this is the idea for you. A pellet stove is much like a wood burning stove (which is already a more efficient evolution of the fireplace) however, instead of loading it up with raw wood, you load it up with small processed wood pellets.
The main reason for this shift is that wood pellets burn cleaner and more efficiently than actual wood. It is estimated that one ton of pellets produces almost 1,000 more kilowatts hours of energy than wood logs (http://www.woodfuelresource.org.uk/which-type-of-wood-fuel-is-the-best.html).
Another reason people like pellet stoves, especially compared to wood stoves, is because they can be fed by a computer. All you have to do is load up the reservoir every few days and, depending on what you set your thermostat to, it will drop the correct amount of pellets into the stoves as needed. It is a very efficient system and one that allows you easier and precise control over your heating and cooling than you would have over a wood burning stove. Not to mention it takes less time to use. Since you don’t have to load and tend it like you do a normal stove or fireplace, the pellet stove will save you time and give you freedom to do other things with your time.
Then there is the fact that wood is a renewable resource. Unlike fossil fuels, we can plant new trees and, with proper forest management, can continue to grow fuel for years to come. Now, this would be hard to accomplish if everyone starts using them since we would need more tree farms, but it is doable.
Now it is time for the cons; one of the downsides to pellet stoves is that they do still produce some pretty bad pollutants. Burning wood pellets in your new home is significantly greener than normal wood burning stoves, however, they still are more damaging to the environment than gas furnaces.
Electric Forced Air
Over the years, electric forced air systems have become an reliable and popular way to heat a home. The way it works is like this: just like with a normal furnace, hot air is pumped throughout your home through its existing vents. However, instead of a burning gas to heat the air, electrical heating elements are used. While electric forced air heating his much more complicated than this, it is easier to understand if you think about it like a toaster. When you toast something those coils inside get pumped with electricity and turn red hot. Just imagine your furnace being full of those red-hot toaster wires.
One of the most appealing aspects of an electric forced air system is that it is one of the greenest methods of home heating there is. There is no damage to the environment when you use electricity. Well, at least, not directly. You as the end consumer do not cause any harm to the environment, but depending on how the energy was produced, it may have has a negative impact. This is because a lot of electric generators around the country are coal burning plants. However, that is slowly changing to more renewable energy sources, so eventually using electric forced air heating systems will be completely green.
Another benefit to electric forced air is that it is safer than a gas furnace. You see, with a gas furnace, you run the risk of having a gas leak which could kill you or anyone staying in your home. This is not a problem with an electric furnace. Not to mention they are fairly easy to have repaired which is another reason why a lot of people like them.
The only downside to an electric furnace is the monthly electric bill. You will see a spike in your electric bill, however, you won’t have a gas bill to worry about anymore so there is something. Electricity is more expensive than gas in many places as well, so you may be paying more in the long run for an electric furnace depending on how intensely you use it and the insulation in your home.
One of the great things that new home builders in the Boise area have access to is geothermal energy. Geothermal energy and heating, if you don’t already know, is energy and heating that comes from naturally warm ground water. It can be pumped to the surface to generate electricity and heat. It is an amazing natural resource that we have here thanks to the volcanic activity that runs beneath the earth.
This resource may not be available everywhere in the Boise area, but when it can be attained it should be because it is a great thing. It is really good for the environment and it is surprisingly efficient. Due to the nature of geothermal energy, it also doesn’t cost as much as other alternatives either.
In downtown Boise, there are fully heated by geothermal energy. Two notable buildings are the Idaho State Capitol and Boise State University’s Business building. Both of which are massive buildings that get completely heated by geothermal.
Heating your new home is an important decision to make, but you need to choose wisely. Talk to your real estate agent today to find out more information about what is available in your area and what can be done. Also, there are more ways to heat your home besides what we have talked about. So, make sure that you look at all your options before making a decision.