Heating is a Big deal

Summer is when most people search for a home and with summer weather so pleasant in Summit County, the thought of HVAC may never come to mind. But before you sign a contract you might want to think about one of the most expensive systems in a home. Heating your new home in the mountains is a primary concern. You’ll want to be able to add heat to your home in most of the year. Snow is guaranteed to fall before September ends, although it may not stay. But, snow will be your ground cover from Thanksgiving until late spring. Summer high temperatures are rarely above 90 °F but nighttime lows can be in the 40s. Rarely does a Summit County home need mechanized cooling. And the pollution level is general low, so filtration isn't a huge need.

Highs & Lows of Heating a Summit County Home?

When you are searching to buy a house, the best real estate websites give you information about existing heating systems. The listing will say “electric” or maybe give more detail like ‘baseboard’ and will usually state a monthly electric and/or gas bill as in $200/month. This is an estimate made by the seller and may be optimistic.

Summit County is not a metropolis, although sophisticated in culture and natural resources. Natural gas is not available in all parts of the county, or became an option after construction of the home you want to buy. Electric baseboard heating devices running along the floor were one old-school method of heating. These older devices are ineffective and very costly. And it may never be warm enough. Budget for replacing the heating system. Don’t despair, read our page on new heating options.

The most common heating in the U.S. is forced air - meaning air is warmed in a furnace and blown into the home through a system of ducts. Natural gas is far more efficient at heating air, but electric furnaces are available. Forced air isn’t as common in Summit County since natural gas was less available.

Another heating system that can run on an electric or gas boiler is radiant-in-floor. The boiler heats an anti-freeze type liquid that circulates in pipes under the floor. The heat is consistent and easy to set at a comfortable temperature, but liquids are slower to rise in temperature than air. Boilers heating water circulated through copper pipes commonly heat homes in older metropolitan areas - but copper piping is expensive and need to be covered by radiators that are visible in the rooms. And again boilers are more efficient if run by gas.

Radiant-in-floor heat is a common choice in Summit County, and more efficient than forced air. Count it as a plus if the property you want to buy has this type heat. But the system should be inspected. Early in the installation of these systems a bad batch of materials was used as the pipes that carried the liquid. They were prone to failure. Repair is costly.

Heat pumps are another type of heating that now can work in Summit County. Newer super heat pumps are effective down to 13°F; , which is the January average low in Breckenridge. These systems don’t heat air or water that is then circulated into the room, they simply let heat flow to cold. Read more.

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