Heating & Cooling Systems

Whether you like it hot or cold in your home, learning more about your home's heating source can make a difference in your bill, comfort and possibly your choice of home.

warm house

Electric

This means your heating and cooling is powered by electricity. Keep in mind this means your power bill will include the heat pump’s usage so your electric bill may be higher because of it. You will usually have an outdoor air handler unit and indoor thermostat to regulate temperature. While these units are great for keeping you cool, in extreme cold temperatures outside below 32 degrees, your electric heat pump may have to work harder (emergency heat mode) and could cause a significant spike in your electric bill so be cautious.

Gas

This means your heating and cooling is powered by either natural or propane gas. Keep in mind that depending on where you live you may receive a separate bill for your natural gas or propane gas usage. If your heating system or a fireplace is fueled by propane gas, then the gas provider will come refill your gas tank which may be underground or above ground. You will need to keep an eye on the gauge of your gas tank to make sure you have enough gas when needed.

The costs will vary based on the size of your tank. If you buy a home that has an existing tank with gas already in it- the gas company will measure the tank prior to closing and you will be responsible for paying at closing for a prorated amount of gas left in tank based on gas prices the day it was measured. It is a good idea to ask your real estate agent to inquire on your behalf about the gas tank status and typical costs with the seller of the home.

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Oil

This means your heating system is powered by oil. This type of system is usually present in older homes as modern systems have replaced them as the "go-to" option. Many people claim that oil and gas can provide the most consistent heat in the winter. But keep in mind that depending on where you live you will receive a separate bill for your oil usage. If your heating system is fueled by oil, then the oil provider will come refill your oil tank which may be underground or above ground.

The costs will vary based on the size of your tank. If you buy a home that has an existing tank with oil already in it- the oil company will measure the tank prior to closing and you will be responsible for paying at closing for a prorated amount of oil left in tank based on oil prices the day it was measured. It is a good idea to ask your real estate agent to inquire on your behalf about the oil tank status and typical costs.

Hybrid

This means your heating and cooling system is powered by a hybrid of electric/gas or electric/oil. Keep in mind that you will likely receive a separate bill for both electricity and gas/oil. This type of heating system is usually configured to provide a back-up source of heat at less expensive and more efficient means when temperatures drop below a certain pre-set level such as freezing (32 degrees Celsius). Ask your real estate agent and/or home inspector about this to learn more.

Whatever option you choose, knowing what to expect with these tips should help you avoid surprises and make more informed decisions upfront when house hunting.

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