Monday, April 22, 2019

Heat Your New Home With Electricity

When you are planning to build a new custom home in the country where there is no access to Natural Gas for heating is Propane the only option and is it the best option?

This question I hear a lot these days as more and more people want to build a new place in the country away from natural gas lines.

The question is a good one, most people think that because you can't get natural gas you just switch to propane because their both gases and their probably the same costs to heat homes. Well that is a major misconception.

Propane is far more expensive then natural gas when you are comparing costs of heating your home. What makes natural gas so cheap is that it is delivered underground through lines that are permanently placed in the ground. Propane has to be delivered in a truck to your own personal tank every time that you need to have it filled. Basically the delivery fee of propane is a lot higher then natural gas and because there are so many more users of natural gas it helps keep the cost in check.

Natural gas also has a pretty consistent cost, the average price goes up and down year to year but the change is slow, propane on the other hand can swing wildly from season to season. In the past couple of years we have seen propane costs double during the winter when people need it the most and then come back to normal in the summer when it isn't.  Depending on when you fill your propane tank will determine how much you will end up paying for your heating fuel.

Most people don't think that there really is a cost effective alternative but there is and it is heating with electricity.

Now I'm not telling you to build a brand new custom home and then install baseboard heaters in it. Electric heat has actually come along way in the past couple of decades and because of the dramatic increase in the electricity rates in Ontario they have been forced to come up with more efficient options for electricity.

There are two main ways to heat in the country with electricity;

1. Geothermal. Geothermal is a wonderful way to heat your home. Its very consistent and its actually a very simple system. Geothermal is glycol filled lines that are installed deep in the ground. Glycol is basically a fancy name for alcohol. These lines absorb the heat from the ground and then transport that heat to your furnace. The furnace squeezes it through a radiator inside your furnace while air is blow across it. That air is warmed to your desired temperature and transported throughout the house in the duct work. The system works in reverse in the warm summer months to provide the house with air conditioning.

2. Air to Air heat pumps. This is pretty close to the same design as the geothermal heating and cooling, the difference is that it makes the heat and cooling from the outside air beside your home. There are many different types of heat pumps, depending on the efficiency will determine how well the heat pump works in extreme cold temperatures. This system is also less costly to install then geothermal.

Both systems don't just make heat from the air and ground they also make air conditioning for the warm summer months and they do it at a much more efficient rate then a normal air conditioner that you get with a propane furnace.

Geothermal heating has an added benefit that it provides free hotwater into your hotwater tank the more air conditioning that you use. That means that you actually use less energy in the summer running the air conditioning in your home then if you didn't run it at all, that's because it takes more energy to make hotwater then it does to create air conditioning.

There are other ways to help limit the cost of your heating system when using electricity. Adding more insulation into your new home when you are building will make it easier to heat your home and if you add solar panels you can offset the electricity that you use to heat and cool.

So when you talk to your contractor about building your new custom home talk to them about the heating system, talk to them about heating with electricity.

Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

It's Half Load Season

It's half load season!

That's right that time of year where spring has started to arrive and construction starts to run up against the rules of weight on trucks on municipal roads.

What is half loads? It is a limit to the amount a large truck can have on each axle.Usually it is 5 tonnes per axle.

What does this mean to you? It means that if you want lumber delivered, concrete delivered or anything else that is heavy and is delivered to you then you might not be able to get it because the truck carrying it with the load on it is heavier then 5 tonnes per axle.

That doesn't mean that you can't get concrete or lumber delivered it means that you can't get as much of it as at once as you normally would. The problem arises because of the cost to ship it to you is the same, the company has to pay the person driving the truck, there's still the same amount of fuel burned in the truck and the same wear and tear on the truck. The only thing is that there isn't as much product on the delivery.

So the cost to get you that product is the same but there's not as much product on the truck, that means that when you want 8 cubic metres of concrete delivered to you house and the cost is usually 150 dollars a meter then the cost should be $1200. But with the load restrictions they can only bring you 2 cubic metres per truck, that means that they will need 4 extra trucks. So then the cost will go up, lets say that you are still paying the 150 a metre but because they have to send you more truck they have to charge you a surcharge of 75 dollars a metre. All of a sudden you are paying 1800 for the same amount of concrete.

Now you can simply wait for the load restrictions to be lifted and a lot of people do, but sometimes the load restrictions can last a lot longer then you think.

What determines how long the load restrictions last? It is up to the road superintendent. Every municipality has one and they will decide on their own. It has to do with how thawed the ground is, how wet the weather is, what the weather looks like going forward and what shape the actual roads are in.

When do they start? The half loads usually start now on March 1st and are scheduled to come off at the end of April/start of May. That doesn't mean that they will. A lot of times the restrictions are kept on for longer until the road supervisor is satisfied that its safe to start running heavy trucks over the road.

The longest time that I have ever seen them stay on is until June the 6th. That's right June the 6th. That is a long time to wait for your construction project to keep moving forward.

One other thing you need to remember is that if you wait until the half loads are off then you are going to try and get trades and product when everyone else is attempting to do it. The two weeks after the half loads come off are the busiest time of the year for a lot of companies. Delays are guaranteed.

So when scheduling work to be completed on your home or when you are wanting to start building a new custom home remember about the half loads, they could delay your project months.

Village Builders Inc.