If you’ve never lived in a colder climate, buying a house can present some challenges that you don’t fully understand. Not only do you have to contend with lower temperatures, but there’s usually a lot of snow and ice, as well as more dreary, overcast, and much shorter winter days. So if you’re not wisely choosing a home, you could wind up paying huge utility bills to keep your house warm (not to mention the possible plumber bill when waterlines freeze). We want to make you aware of these 5 things to watch out for when buying in a colder climate like Kokomo, to help you out.
Clearly, the heating system in a home will be a major concern in a colder climate. In addition to having a primary heating system that can handle the job properly, in case of power outages you should also have a backup system. “If gas, oil, coal, wind, or electric power supplies the main system,” the experts say, “a backup system is a must. Wood stoves and fireplaces are nearly a requirement and they can be very effective if they have blowers mounted in the main duct work of the house.”
A good heating option for colder climates is radiant heating. Using electricity and radiation to provide the warmth, radiant heating “Can be mounted under the floor or placed as a heating panel on the wall. While other options such as forced air that result in overheating, resulting in loss of heat (of air you paid to heat!), radiant heating keeps areas warm longer and more reliably, saving energy and improving comfort.” The advantages of radiant heating become readily apparent as deep winter arrives in colder climates and temperatures remain continuously frigid.
2. Doors and Windows
Another important consideration is holding the heat in when purchasing in a colder climate like Kokomo. And good doors and windows that are well sealed play an important role here. But let’s concentrate on windows because a house has so much more than doors.
Leaky and non-energy-efficient windows can be responsible for 10% to 15% of your heating bill, according to the Department of Energy. So, when buying in a colder climate like Kokomo, make sure that the house you are considering has at least double-sided windows and ideally triple-sided windows.
And then you have to be on the lookout for weatherstripping so caulking. If those windows are not properly sealed, how many panes they have will be meaningless – you will still lose heat, and cold air will enter.
Likewise, you do need plenty of insulation to hold inside your house all the electricity you paid for. It really doesn’t matter how good the heating system is without adequate insulation, particularly in the attic. The house is not going to be comfortably warm, and there will be high utility bills.
Regardless of the type of insulation – spray foam, fiberglass, or cellulose – the “R-value” is what you want to pay attention to, which is the rating of the capacity of the insulation to withstand heat flow. Search for a high R-value as stronger, more effective insulation implies a higher R-value. And then, particularly in the attic, the thickness or depth of the isolation should be adequate.
4. Roof and Entry Areas
Since colder climates usually come with plenty of snow, the shape / style of the roof is another thing to watch out for when you buy in a colder climate like Kokomo. Most attractive is a roof that has no potential to collect snow, such as a gable roof.
“A gable is a roof design with two sloping sides, creating a sort of ‘ triangle. ‘ The steep roof allows snow to be lowered to the ground by gravity.” You should also make sure there are no other roof features, such as dormer windows, that could accumulate ice and snow.
In addition to the roof, when buying in a colder climate such as Kokomo and for similar reasons, you need to look closely at the entry areas. All entrances should be covered and lightened–unless, of course, while juggling groceries and trying to unlock the door, you enjoy getting snow down your neck.
The directional orientation of the house is a final thing to watch out for (one that many buyers don’t know about or just overlook) when buying in a colder climate like Kokomo. Ideally, most area and most windows on the side of the house will face the sun, usually a southern direction. During the winter daylight hours, this will allow more solar heat to build up in the house, which can help to reduce heating bills.
It should be clear, though, that when buying in a colder climate such as Kokomo, there is much more to consider. And there’s a lot more here than we’ve touched on. Your best bet is to hire a local real estate agent to help you make a cold-climate purchase with prudence.