Saturday, February 5, 2011

Opinions On Central Heat and Air, lol

So whilst I'm busy packing, my dear husband is busy trying to find us a place to live. We found a lovely 3 bedroom in a historic part of town that is just beautiful. I totally love it (based solely on the pictures of course, though my husband got to see it in person!). However, it doesn't have central air or heat. I'm not sure if this is a deal breaker for a place like Oklahoma or not. Anyone know??

Coming from a place as mild as Southern California, it's hard for me to imagine a true need for central air and heat since the weather here is rarely extreme. My husband is from Oklahoma, and I know it can get very cold and very hot depending on the season. But is it really necessary to have central air and heat? I'd love your opinions on this. There are certainly other places we can live, but I am totally in love with this one because it has so much charm (built in 1938).

The home has the in -floor heating system to heat up the downstairs and then the owner (who has been living there or 8 years), said that they use space heaters. In the summer they have air conditioner window units that they put in, and would provide for us. The rooms all have ceiling fans.

Also, while I love the house because it's old, I am totally paranoid about some of the issues that come with that--what if the kids are exposed to lead? What if there is lead in the pipes and it comes out in the water? What if they used asbestos (wrong era though, if I'm not mistaken)? What if the electrical is poor because it's old(I don't even know if it is old, lol)? Etc, etc, etc. The house has been recently painted, and the owner said that when he purchased, it was wallpapered, and he painted directly over the wallpaper. So, I'm guessing the lead paint isn't an issue.

Thoughts? Would love your opinions on either issue. :) And of course, this is all hypothetical at this point, since we have only put the application in and there's no way to know at this point whether we will end up with this place or not.

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Corina said...

I lived in OK until I got married and now live close to the OK border. You DO need something to deal with the weather extremes, but it sounds like you would be fine with what they have provided. Window units with ceiling fans should work just fine.....I'm personally afraid of space heaters, but they make some now that are much safer than they used to be. It will take some getting used to - like you have to regulate temperature, instead of the machine doing it. But if you love the house, I don't think it's a deal breaker. Happy Househunting....we hope to be doing the same soon!

Becca said...

Not to discourage you, but I live in Arkansas, but just a couple of minutes from Oklahoma, literally, I would want, for sure!! Last summer it was 110 and VERY humid for several days in a row, and we had several weeks where the temperature reached 100 (and again, incredibly humid) every day!! This week we've also had days where the HIGH was in the teens, and the low was near zero degrees, and we've had snow/ice on the ground for a solid week; and we didn't get it as bad as parts of Oklahoma did. Sorry again to discourage you, but it if there was a possiblity at all that would be really high on my priority list! The space heaters & window units, from my experience, can be quite costly to use as a sole means of heating/cooling.....could you possibly add the central heating & cooling? I'm sure it would be livable, many people do with far worse, it would just be a huge adjustment for us :)

Annette W. said...

No idea...however the abstestos and lead can be tested during a home inspection. I'd check out summer temps and humidity for your town. Humidity...need AC!! THe heat sounds fine to me unless winters get quite cold. You could also request the last three years' electric bills.

Four Little Penguins said...

It depends on what part of Oklahoma. I live in the Texas Panhandle, and while central heat and air is very very nice, it wouldn't be a deal breaker if you have window units and ceiling fans.
And like Annette said, all the lead and stuff can be tested for.
Hope you get the perfect house!

Lea said...

I would definitely ask for electric/gas bills for the last few years. You might even be able to find that on line yourself. Also, keep in mind that energy costs are on the rise and are likely to continue in that direction for some time. Our last house was quite expensive to heat and cool and it had central heat and air.

We are currently building a new house and one of the main drivers was so that we could make sure it was very well insulated and energy efficient.

We are currently living in a new-ish rental house and it leaks air like a sieve, especially the windows and the vent-less gas fireplace (which stinks the house up when it is turned on). I think the windows are double-paned but they must have bought the cheapest ones they could find because it is absolutely unbelievable how much air comes in. And they must not have insulated behind the vent-less gas fireplace because an unbelievable amount of cold air comes in through it. I can't keep up with dusting this place either and my allergies have been terrible since we moved here. When it was really hot, the upstairs central air conditioner could not keep up and it would get very hot up there on a hot, sunny day (our old house was this way too, even after we replaced the upstairs furnace with a new, very efficient one). Now that it is freezing cold (single digit temps for several days in a row lately), the boys room upstairs tends to get chilly at night, when their door is shut. You just can't win in this house.

I am in Tulsa and we do get very extreme temperatures. We woke up the other morning and it was one degree outside. The wind chill factor was well below that.

So, I think there is a lot more to it than how you will heat and cool and if that method will be sufficient to keep you comfortable. With an older home, you might find that it is not insulated well, the windows may be old, etc. Checking past utility bills will give you an idea but you still might not be getting the full story, as they might not have heated/cooled the entire house or maybe they tolerated hotter/colder rooms than you would care for.

Don't mean to rain on your parade but just wanted to throw this out there for you to consider.

Joe said...

It sounds like you'll be doing a lot of adjusting, why not make it one less thing for the kiddos to adjust to by finding a place with AC/heating

N said...

Having lived in Kansas until I was 9 and remembering little except the fact that the humidity in the midwest is BAD for months, I would definitely not recommend moving to a place without central air. It gets SO humid, you will want a place of refuge in a nice air conditioned home. :) It will also get very cold during the winter. I know it's hard to imagine having lived in So Cal, but the weather will be a huge adjustment.

Also, I think your concerns on lead, asbestos, etc. are very valid on an older house. I personally wouldn't feel comfortable with it, but that said many people live fine in older houses! Do some research online to see if would be OK with some of the concerns.

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