The trends in custom homes and renovations coming in to 2014 are always changing with a lot of the trends that we saw in the 2013 construction year being the same as in previous years. But there were things that became trends in 2013 with more and more home owners opting for them that they become almost the norm in 2014. I am focusing on the heating systems that are being installed in new homes and renovations, not just what’s currently trending but what has become the norm in today’s custom homes.
Since custom homes are a very personal thing so is the selection of your heating system, I create these lists for people so that they have the ability to ask their general contractors about the many options out there when wanting to heat their new home.
Here is a list of things that have stayed the same over the last couple of years;
• In town where people have access to natural gas high efficiency gas furnaces are still the most installed system.
• Air-to-Air heat pumps are one the most popular choices lately to make your heating system more energy efficient whether you live in town or in the country. This system is becoming so popular because it is basically an add on to your existing furnace without too much interior renovation needed
• New homes that do not have access to natural gas are all by a rule installing geothermal heating, either ground loops (if they have the space) or vertical loops (which are drilled wells).
• Conventional hot water tanks are still the most popular way to heat hot water in town and in the country. This is true especially in properties that have geothermal as the units help give free hot water for parts of the year.
• Flash boilers that run on natural gas are growing in popularity for new homes. There is a rise in people wanting in-floor heat; with in-floor heat you require a flash boiler which also gives you on-demand hot water.
• HRV’s are standard in all homes now built.
• Heating of bathroom tiled floors is done with electric mats that are controlled per room, making for a more enjoyable experience when stepping out of the shower on to warm tiles regardless of what the thermostat on the main home heating unit is set at.
• Smart thermostats are more popular in custom homes than anything else, it is now basically the norm; with the growing smart phone/tablet market people want to be able to control the climate in their home from anywhere in the world, smart thermostats do that with a phone or internet connection.
• Fume hoods in kitchens have become so large that mechanical contractors are being forced to install “make up air” systems in the furnace. This system helps stop the depressurization of the home when all the air is being sucked out by the fume hood by adding more air then normal into the duct system to make up for it.
• Multi stage furnaces are more readily available and the bigger the home the more it’s being demanded. The multi-stage allows for better energy efficiency and that is one of the biggest trends in today’s homeowners when talk about heating systems.
• Fireplaces have been one of the longest running trends in custom homes. Wood burning fireplaces are so common as they add cheap heat to the most lived in part of the home and also are used to set the mood. Gas fireplaces are used the same way as they are used to heat a room or an area of the home without having to engage the heating system to do so.
• Electric space heaters are commonly installed in the kick of bathroom vanities when renovating to allow more heat into a generally cold bathroom. The added bonus of it in the kick is that it is always warming your feet and legs.
Here is a list of the trends that are gaining momentum this year;
• Ductless heat pumps are becoming by far the most popular way to heat or cool area’s of a home that have been renovated or added too. This works well when you do not have an easy way to tie the newer part of the home into the existing heating system.
• There is a new air to air heat pump that is on the market that is taking the industry by storm. It’s called the Zuba and it is made by Mitsubishi, it is the most energy efficient heating unit on the market today. It is so energy efficient that people that live in the country are opting to install a Zuba instead of geothermal because of the initial cost savings on the system.
• There is a growing demand for on demand hot water in the country. With more people making the choice for air to air heat pumps over geothermal there is a demand for more efficient water heating. Propane water heating is very efficient; it is also a wonderful way to heat the basement of your floor with in-floor piping that can run off the same flash boiler system.
• Multiple thermostats are a rapidly growing trend; this allows the home to be better regulated with heating and cooling. You can set the temperature of the different zones of the home to whatever you require. The only deterrent for it becoming the norm is the cost of the extra thermostats and dampers. The dampers are low voltage so that they require very little in the way of power to operate.
• Steam humidifiers are becoming more popular; people are trying to avoid the overly dry air they end with through the heating season. This is especially evident when installing geothermal heating units as they give a dry heat.
• In chalets that are unable to have a ducted central air furnace the trend to install ERV’s to still allow the circulation of air throughout the home, this helps stave off mold and mildew in the home.
These are the main trends in the Heating systems of new and renovated custom homes for 2014.
Village Builders Inc.