Home Energy Efficiency Factors To Look For During The Home-Buying Process

Posted on: 10 October 2018


When you are looking for a home to buy, there are many features you look at, such as the size of a home, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the type of kitchen appliances a home may have. However, some home features can affect you long-term, such as the amount of utilities you will need to pay for to heat or cool the home. Fortunately, your real estate agent can help you search for homes and weed out the not-so-efficient ones. As you search with your agent, here are some factors to look for and consider in a home that can affect the home's energy efficiency and your utility bills once you take ownership and move in.

Heating System

There are many types of home heating systems available and each one has its pros and cons. As you tour through a home, take note of what type of heating system it has installed, as this can affect your comfort and your budget if you decide to buy it. You can change the heating system to a more preferred system, but it will cost you for the upgrade. You can also talk to your realtor to request the seller's utility amounts from the past winter to get a good idea of what their average monthly heating costs have been.

Some heating systems are effective but can cost quite a bit to run. For example, baseboard heating is great because you can adjust each room to a specific temperature, but it can be expensive to run because it is an electric heating system. On the reverse, if your home is heated with a central boiler and radiators in each room, this type of heating is less expensive to run and it heats each room evenly. Just be sure the boiler is well maintained and in good condition, as it can be costly to replace it.

Type of Windows

While you are looking at a home's interior features, be sure to look at the age, condition, and style of windows installed. A home's windows may be framed in aluminum, wood, vinyl, or fiberglass, and the type of windows installed on a home can affect the comfort inside the home. If you are not sure of what type of windows you are looking at, your realtor can be a help with this, as they likely can provide insight about a home's windows.

For example, an older home with original wood framed windows may not be as energy efficient as vinyl windows because of the potential for heat transfer through the window frames. This can make the interior colder in the winter and warmer in the summer. If you are touring through a home that has windows made of aluminum frames, these transfer heat well and can also allow cold to enter your home. Look for a home installed with upgraded double- or triple-paned windows to reduce energy loss.