3 home heating issues you’ll face in 2015
Buying your first home is a big step in your life. Alongside getting married and having kids, choosing where you want to put down roots is a critical part in determining what your life is going to look like for the foreseeable future. Most prospective homeowners take this process very seriously, hiring realtors, home inspectors, and maybe even feng shui specialists to review a property before they buy.
While all the work leading up to signing the deed can seem insurmountable, there may be just as many things you need to stay on top of once you actually move into your dream house. Do-it-yourself maintenance can be a tough gig, especially if you don't know what you're doing. You should take some time to list out the most important projects you need to keep an eye on in your house, but if you've struggled with home heating before, you know that it can be a pain to get it just the way you like it. That's why every homeowner needs to be aware of these three home heating challenges that'll raise their ugly heads in 2015.
1. Rising fuel prices
Entering the winter of 2014, homeowners received a bit of good news: Falling oil prices would translate to lower costs for homes that used oil heat. However, natural gas customers learned that they were in store for a pricey cold season.
According to the Boston Globe, utilities provider NStar said that its roughly 300,000 natural gas customers would pay 16 percent more during the 2014-2015 winter than previous years. This raises the average heating bill in the Northeast to about $171, though lower temperatures in other parts of the country could push this figure even higher.
"The last two weeks of February saw oil prices in Maine jump by more than 7%."
The news is just as bad for oil-heated homes, too. The Bangor Daily News reported that, though the season may have started off with inexpensive heating oil, the last two weeks of February saw oil prices in Maine jump by more than 7 percent.
2. New heater regulations
Whether you like it or not, change is coming to storage-type hot water heaters made in the U.S. in 2015. If you're looking to renovate your basement and want to upgrade your old, worn-out heater in the process, you might have some extra issues to contend with.
As of April 15, 2015, all American-made water heaters must abide by improved energy efficiency standards. Issued by the U.S. Department of Energy, these updates will save a total of $63 billion in energy savings over the next 30 years.
For homeowners, though, this means they'll have to deal with heaters that have smaller capacities or larger profiles. Consumer Reports explained that, for units less than 55 gallons, insulation can be wrapped around the inside or outside of the tank, though the respective reduction to volume capacity and addition to circumference will each have their own impact on your home. If you have a large house and need a heater over 55 gallons to supply it, you'll have to purchase a new model with a bulky heat pump installed on top, which could reduce the number of places in your home you can tuck this monstrosity away.
3. Burst heaters
When you close on your first home, you expect the hundred-thousand-dollar purchase you just made will last for more than a few years. While the house might stay upright for at least a decade without serious maintenance, the same can't be said for the aging storage-type water heater in the basement.
In fact, each year you don't get rid of that dinosaur, the greater the chances of it failing and causing massive water damage around your foundation. According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, 12 percent of all water heater failures occur at the 5-year mark. By age 12, however, more than 66 percent of all storage-type water heaters have suffered some form of catastrophic breakdown.
If you're stuck with a storage-type heater, this is just something you'll have to learn to live with. However, if you switch over to a tankless water heater that poses no threat of bursting and supplies your home with as much warm water as you need, you can check one homeowner headache off your to-do list.