1.Heating your home – Electric, Oil or Gas
3.Location of Electrical Outlets
4.Thought for the Day
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| 1. Heating
your home – Electric, Oil, Propane or Natural
Whether you are building a new home or have an existing
home that needs a new furnace, the issues are the same
when it comes to deciding what kind of heating system you
should choose for your home.
When building a new home, the amount of input you will have in the selection
of a heating system will depend upon the circumstances of your new home building
project. If you are buying a home from production builder, then you may be
limited in your choices and the amount of input you can have. However if
you are building a custom or semi-custom home you will have significant input
if not complete control over this decision.
There are many choices, features and prices to consider. Each consumer must
evaluate what is best for them, in their region and for their particular
needs. We have listed the major variables that you need to take into account
and provided a number of reference web sites that you can go to for additional
- Electric (including baseboard and force air furnaces),
Oil, Propane or Natural Gas
- Combination furnaces (usually wood with one of the above)
- Furnace efficiency ratings( low , mid or high efficient
- Forced air or water heating distribution systems
- Availability of fuel providers eg Oil, Propane or Natural
- Size of home to be heated
- Current fuel price comparison
- Current fuel delivery charges and connection fee’s
- Projected heating costs for home
- Projected price inflation for your area
- Air conditioning requirements
- Price and installation charges
- Evaluate the service reputation of the installation
The following steps may be considered when selecting a furnace
for your home.
- Contact your local fuel providers and request estimates
for your home. The contractor should take into account
the size of your home, number of windows, location, climate,
insulation levels and air tightness of the home.
- Review the literature and decide on what is right for
you in terms of regular, mid and high efficiency furnaces.
Usually this will be based on three major factors – Initial
price of the furnace, ongoing operating costs and furnace
maintenance requirements in later years.
- Decide if air conditioning is also required and if it
will be integrated with the forced air system.
- Evaluate the short term, as well as the long term direction
of fuel costs in your area. Many regions vary a great deal
due to distribution costs and other factors.
- Finally your decision will be primarily based on the
following factors – Initial capital costs, ongoing
operating costs of heating your home and annual maintenance
costs. Create a table comparing your choices to help you
decide on the best approach for your personal situation.
There are many references available. Ask your supplier and contractor for useful
links that relate to the your area and the equipment you are looking at.
Home Energy Magazine Online
US Department of Energy Web site – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – Space
Heating and cooling
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Constant Air Circulation
| One of the factors that new
homebuilders and buyers should consider during the design phase
of their home
is whether they need a constant circulation of air throughout
their homes. We obtain fresh air from a number of sources
as outlined in a previous newsletter, however stale and
stagnant air can still occur, especially during the prime
heating and cooling months of the year.
Homeowners who are susceptible to allergies, especially mould (caused by lack
of air circulation, moisture and a nutrient base) may want to consider running
their furnace fan on a 24-hour basis. New homes also exhaust various gases from
rugs, walls, paint and furniture. These gases combine to form a pollution levels
in your home sometimes more than 100 times that of the outside air.
Forced air systems will circulate air throughout the home, while at the same
time drawing air in from the outside to replace air that has been exhausted through
windows, chimneys, and exhaust vents. Homes that do not forced air heating systems,
but rely upon baseboard heaters, whether electric convection or baseboard hot
water do not circulate air throughout the entire house and do not draw fresh
air into the home.
Air temperature in a home will vary constantly, particularly on very cold days.
Drafts from windows, skylights or unheated rooms will also occur as the cold
air sinks to find the lowest level. The location of your thermostat will determine
how often your furnace will cycle on and off. Extreme factors such as being close
to a window or draft area or even a hot air vent will affect this. As your house
cools from the last on-cycle of your furnace there may be a period of time when
the temperature in your home feels uncomfortable and cold.
Air temperature levels in your home can be improved and more uniformly maintained
by having your furnace fan run constantly. This forces air throughout your home
on a constant basis and avoids those cold air pockets. Air in rooms warmed by
the sun is moved to colder areas of the house, saving energy. Constant fresh
air circulation replacing the pollutants in your home is another advantage.
While the positive benefits of continuous air circulation include better air
quality and a more comfortable constant air temperature, the constant flow of
air requires the furnace fan to use more electrical energy. Consumers should
consider the various types of electrical motors that are available in forced
air furnaces and make this selection at the time of installation. Furnaces with
lower electrical ratings use electronically commutated motors (ECMs). ECMs, sometimes
referred to as brush less DC motors, are known for being somewhat more efficient
than a standard blower motor.
To summarize, constant airflow will increase the amount of fresh air in the home,
it will reduce drafts, move sun-warmed air into other parts of the home and provide
a greater level of comfort to the consumer. Electrical usage operating costs
will increase; however, the increased cost can be controlled by selecting an
ECM or brush less DC motor.
Energy management by BC Hydro
The electric side of gas furnaces:
Location of Electrical Outlets
Note that your local building
codes will almost certainly dictate basic rules about quantity
and placement of outlets.
Electricity can be lethal! Let a reputable electrical
contractor install your outlets. Always insist on copper
wiring and NEVER, NEVER accept aluminium wiring.
Even though an electrical contractor is wiring your home, you will benefit a
great deal from giving some thought to the electrical outlets in your house,
basement, garage, and outdoors and letting your contractor know your needs ahead
Take a look around other people's homes and make some notes where you see concentrations
of appliances. In living rooms and family rooms, you will probably need many
of your outlets in corners. Around televisions you will have a large concentration
of devices and connections to telephone, DVD player, satellite, cable converter,
speakers, and similar devices. In bedrooms, you will need more outlets midwall
or on both sides of were you intend to place your bed, to power radios, telephones
and lamps. Your home office can be especially demanding. Your computer , monitor,
printer, lamps, router, modem, shredder, computer speakers, phone, radio, scanner,
fax machine, all require electricity. In kitchens, you will need a large cluster
of outlets, many of them on individual circuits (not shared). All fridges, freezers,
microwave ovens, and washers typically require their own circuit at the breaker
panel. Proper planning and communication with your contractor can avoid overloading
and dangerous situations after your home has been completed.
Tips for Electrical Outlets
An additional electrical outlet identified before the main house wiring goes
in, costs about 1/2 of an outlet that goes in after the house is completed, do
You might consider installing a 220 volt dryer outlet in your garage. This is
useful for testing stoves and dryers. It can also be used for powering welders,
other heavy tools, or reverse feeding generators should the need arise. Dryer
plug, cable and socket sets come as a kit and are quite inexpensive at the big
chain home product suppliers. Be sure to use a cover over these outlets when
they are not in use, tiny fingers can get in there. When not in use, keep them
switched off at the breaker panel.
If permitted by code, each outdoor outlet should be an individual GFI (ground
fault interrupt) type and each on its own breaker. The GFI helps to protect you
from damaged tools and cables; the individual circuit means that you won't be
running inside to reset the breaker every time you start two high load devices
Remember that you will want an electrical outlet near the location of any planned TV. Televisions typically have a large concentration of devices and connections such as telephone, DVD player, best satellite TV, cable converter, speakers, and similar devices - many of which require power.
All outlets in bathrooms should be individual GFI type. Insist that your electrical
contractor does not wire the bathroom lights from the wall GFI, or your bathroom
lights will go out if your curling iron shorts. Place bathroom outlets so that
cords will not be running through sinks, but out of reach of showers and bathtubs.
Not always easy to do.Useful Links for Electrical Outlets
Home Wiring – The American Edition 2002 Edition
Canadian Standards Association ( CSA)
Thought For The Day - Human
| Great works are performed not
by strength but by perseverance. Samuel Johnson
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