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Toastbear

Adjusting to A.C. only (no heaters)

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Hey!

 

This might be a dumb question, but I am wondering how you guys (americans) handle winters with houses that only have AC (means heating and cooling). I am from germany, and we have those wall heaters in every room. 

 

The last time i was in our house in virginia it started to get cold, but it was also not cold enough to keep the heater running the whole time. I just wish certain rooms like my office or the bathrooms would be warm? Like how do you guys do it, do you let the heating ac run the whole day on a certain temperature? We also have a 3 story house with 2 ac units, which doesnt make it easier. Idk i just miss this warm, homy feeling when i come home and its cold outside. My fiance is kinda used to having his house cold over the year, but for me its just too cold. 

Also what do you guys do over the night? Like im used to sleep with open windows to have fresh air in the bedroom? This isnt a problem in the summer, since we are running ac cooling. I tried to just switch the fan to "on" (without cooling or heating) over night. 

But yeah idk, im kinda confused and my fiance isnt a big help with this either because he likes it cold.

 

So how do you usually heat your house over the winter days? Like should i just leave the downstairs heating ac on and hope it reaches upstairs? I dont want to waste a lot of gas/electricity either.

 

Looking forward to your answers!

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Heat rises.  The thermostat in our 2-story house is on the first floor, and (year-round) the upstairs is anywhere from a few to many degrees warmer than the set temperature downstairs.  Therefore, in winter, we close the upstairs vents.

 

To warm individual rooms, buy a portable heater that you can turn on/off and adjust to your comfort.  Many modern models are safe to leave unattended while they're turned on.


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We call what you're referring to "central heating." And yes, it is very wasteful to heat a whole house when you only really need 1-2 rooms heated at a time! You can get portable space heaters, use candles, drink tea, wear warmer clothes if your fiance wants to keep the temperature cooler than you like. Maybe set it on a timer so the house is warmed up right when you get home from work and again when you wake up in the morning.

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3 hours ago, hm139 said:

We call what you're referring to "central heating." And yes, it is very wasteful to heat a whole house when you only really need 1-2 rooms heated at a time! You can get portable space heaters, use candles, drink tea, wear warmer clothes if your fiance wants to keep the temperature cooler than you like. Maybe set it on a timer so the house is warmed up right when you get home from work and again when you wake up in the morning.

Yeah I didn’t know it was called central heating.

and yeah I get that with the mobile heaters, that’s gonna be the solution for the next months. 

Is central heating very common in America or are there other solutions aswell ? Like me and my fiancé want to buy a house next year and I would love to have normal heaters like I’m used to from Germany. They are wall heaters and work with water. Is this something you can find in houses or would we need to build a house for that? 

I mean sure you might Not be able to give me a perfect answer, but have you seen other solutions than central heating?

 

thank you to both of your answers 

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Wall heaters are only found in older houses; newer houses have central heating. Unless the house is made of brick (not common in more temperate areas of the US) wall heaters can be fire hazards. 

 

 

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59 minutes ago, databit said:

Wall heaters are only found in older houses; newer houses have central heating. Unless the house is made of brick (not common in more temperate areas of the US) wall heaters can be fire hazards. 

 

 

wow that sucks. so america is kinda behind i guess. I mean i noticed that with bathroom stuff like in germany its common to hide the watertanks for toilets in the wall etc. 

Also wall heaters arent fire hazards. They run with hot water here and every room has it. So you can decide indiviually which room should be how warm and also you dont have this weird blowing warm air into your face.

 

My dad already always makes fun of me about moving to america for giving up solid brick houses for what we call in germany "paper houses" 😂😂 and now this. Like i get when you guys suggest mobile heaters but thats kinda ugly and just a temporary solution. I guess we need to look into building a house instead of just buying one. Especially since most houses dont have hot water tanks either, so you never have instantly unlimited hot water. 

 

God... thinking about what i just said might sound "spoiled" for you but its just a standard for me. America really has its pro's and con's, like i like that most new technologies and services are first in america, but i feel like with standards in houses and food is america kinda behind.

 

Edit: i just researched a little bit and im apparently not the only one that finds this kind of heating weird and wasteful 😂😂

 

 

Edited by Toastbear

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11 hours ago, Toastbear said:

Yeah I didn’t know it was called central heating.

and yeah I get that with the mobile heaters, that’s gonna be the solution for the next months. 

Is central heating very common in America or are there other solutions aswell ? Like me and my fiancé want to buy a house next year and I would love to have normal heaters like I’m used to from Germany. They are wall heaters and work with water. Is this something you can find in houses or would we need to build a house for that? 

I mean sure you might Not be able to give me a perfect answer, but have you seen other solutions than central heating?

 

thank you to both of your answers 

Those types of heaters are common in older homes and northern climates.  If it snows in your area and there are houses over 50 years old, you're likely to find radiators (the wall heaters that are warmed with water).

 

Honestly I don't know if they're something you can buy brand new for newly built homes since they're out of 'fashion' now.  

I've seen plenty of gorgeous early and mid century homes in my area totally gutted and a fortune spent installing forced air central A/C and heating which seems odd given that it's never hot enough here to require A/C but radiators are much cheaper to run and IMO look far better than air vents.  The one thing I was sad about (ok, fine the second thing after the lack of a 3rd bedroom) about the home we just bought was the fact that it's forced/central air rather than radiators. 

 

One good thing about central air is that the temperature is easier to alter, whereas if the radiator is too hot, you can bump it down but it takes ages to cool off.

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17 minutes ago, dentsflogged said:

Those types of heaters are common in older homes and northern climates.  If it snows in your area and there are houses over 50 years old, you're likely to find radiators (the wall heaters that are warmed with water).

 

Honestly I don't know if they're something you can buy brand new for newly built homes since they're out of 'fashion' now.  

I've seen plenty of gorgeous early and mid century homes in my area totally gutted and a fortune spent installing forced air central A/C and heating which seems odd given that it's never hot enough here to require A/C but radiators are much cheaper to run and IMO look far better than air vents.  The one thing I was sad about (ok, fine the second thing after the lack of a 3rd bedroom) about the home we just bought was the fact that it's forced/central air rather than radiators. 

 

One good thing about central air is that the temperature is easier to alter, whereas if the radiator is too hot, you can bump it down but it takes ages to cool off.

Yeah i mean we live in virginia, which is not that cold for a long time but central heat seems just so wasteful. Like at most i only want my office and the bathroom warm, but instead i need to turn them on for the whole house. I honestly dont even know how much higher electrical and gas bills are in america compared to other countries. Like i get that with the A/C for cooling because thats something you definetely need in virginia, even though i always think my fiance makes it way too cold in the house haha. Luckily his office is on the third floor, so i can just leave my ac on my floor off.

 

and yeah i agree with the easier altering of the temperature, its something you get used to tho. like for example i know when to turn off or down my heater before it gets too warm

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19 minutes ago, Toastbear said:

Yeah i mean we live in virginia, which is not that cold for a long time but central heat seems just so wasteful. Like at most i only want my office and the bathroom warm, but instead i need to turn them on for the whole house.

Our condo in Northern Virginia has central heating.  We close the vents in the rooms we don't want to heat, so that reduces the waste a bit.  Still, it's a much less pleasant kind of heat than that from radiators or even heated floors.  Maybe you could get heated floors in your new house. 

 

27 minutes ago, Toastbear said:

I honestly dont even know how much higher electrical and gas bills are in america compared to other countries. Like i se haha.

Doesn't seem to be too bad.  We pay about the same now for electricity (including heating and a/c) than what I used to pay for electricity + gas. 

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Radiators are pretty common in apartments in New York City. Other than that, I don't think I've ever seen them built into houses in the US. Central heating is considered more luxurious, I guess, because your whole house is warm. But yes, welcome to the wastefulness of America. And I bet if you mention this to your neighbors they will think you're nuts, because obviously the US is the most advanced! 

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29 minutes ago, hm139 said:

Radiators are pretty common in apartments in New York City. Other than that, I don't think I've ever seen them built into houses in the US. Central heating is considered more luxurious, I guess, because your whole house is warm. But yes, welcome to the wastefulness of America. And I bet if you mention this to your neighbors they will think you're nuts, because obviously the US is the most advanced! 

LMAO

yeah i noticed that with the wastefulness. Sometimes i like it because i dont need to recycle as much as i need in germany and that i dont need to bring my bottles back to the store to get money back. But on the other side its kinda crazy with all those plastic bags you get at walmart. Like in germany i go shopping with my own bag, but being in america just for a few weeks ruined that already lmfao. I went to the american lidl and since its a german store they didnt give you plastic bags... i forget this everytime because im so used to get bags at walmart etc. 

(Meanwhile you need to pay for plastic bags even in clothing stores in germany now too)

Also with the neighbors that might be true, but funny enough the lady right next to us is from germany too haha. My parents just raised me to not waste anything that costs money. Like sometimes in the bathroom when my fiance is brushing his teeth and he leaves the water on while brushing, i turn it off (of course hes annoyed by it, but i cant help myself hahahaha)

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Beside just heating, have a look also at insulation and how good that is. It will be especially important if you are looking into buying your own place next year.

 

For example, we are renting a place for winter season in Colorado. It can get down to -27C in winter here but the house we live in, has single pane windows!! So obviously, its not good insulation and probably there are cracks between the frame and wall as sitting on the couch, you could feel nice cold breeze =D Already now, in the beginning of the winter with just -10C we had heating cranked up to max but we were still freezing. What we did, was just to tape bubblewrap over the windows we don't really need (we have 9 various size of windows in our living room) or use. So right now 3 windows in living room and 1 window in bedroom is covered and that has been good enough - we set the heat to the half (3 out of max 6) and now I can actually wear t-shirt and shorts inside. If it would be our own place, we would look for long term solution, but as we will move out in the end of winter, tape and bubble wrap will do. 

 

To my surprise, its not as common in US or also in New Zealand where I have lived to have a house that has all three things covered: heating, insulation and ventilation. I understand you might not need it in the areas where temperature rarely goes close to freezing but even in places with real cold weather it just does not exist!

 

TL;DR: As extra to looking at heating, see how the house is insulated, where you have the "cold bridges" and what you can do to better it. 

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6 hours ago, Elrona said:

Beside just heating, have a look also at insulation and how good that is. It will be especially important if you are looking into buying your own place next year.

 

For example, we are renting a place for winter season in Colorado. It can get down to -27C in winter here but the house we live in, has single pane windows!! So obviously, its not good insulation and probably there are cracks between the frame and wall as sitting on the couch, you could feel nice cold breeze =D Already now, in the beginning of the winter with just -10C we had heating cranked up to max but we were still freezing. What we did, was just to tape bubblewrap over the windows we don't really need (we have 9 various size of windows in our living room) or use. So right now 3 windows in living room and 1 window in bedroom is covered and that has been good enough - we set the heat to the half (3 out of max 6) and now I can actually wear t-shirt and shorts inside. If it would be our own place, we would look for long term solution, but as we will move out in the end of winter, tape and bubble wrap will do. 

 

To my surprise, its not as common in US or also in New Zealand where I have lived to have a house that has all three things covered: heating, insulation and ventilation. I understand you might not need it in the areas where temperature rarely goes close to freezing but even in places with real cold weather it just does not exist!

 

TL;DR: As extra to looking at heating, see how the house is insulated, where you have the "cold bridges" and what you can do to better it. 

Oh wow that does sound bad. Thats what the most difference is in the way they build houses, the insulation kinda sucks a lot. Like brick buildings keep it better warm and cold for a longer time. And yeah the bubble wrap is a good idea for a shortterm resolution. 

 

And yeah about the houses having all these three things, i think building our own house would make way more sense looking for long term saving money/energy.  I just feel like that it costs more to fix that stuff in an older house than buying a new one. But i gotta look into that more once we got through all the AOS and K1 stuff. We really want to find another house next year because we pay over 2150 dollars rent for a 3 story house with 4 bedrooms. Thats way too overpriced but we fell in love with the house and were looking for a fast solution while i move to the US

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2 hours ago, Toastbear said:

Oh wow that does sound bad. Thats what the most difference is in the way they build houses, the insulation kinda sucks a lot. Like brick buildings keep it better warm and cold for a longer time. And yeah the bubble wrap is a good idea for a shortterm resolution. 

 

And yeah about the houses having all these three things, i think building our own house would make way more sense looking for long term saving money/energy.  I just feel like that it costs more to fix that stuff in an older house than buying a new one. But i gotta look into that more once we got through all the AOS and K1 stuff. We really want to find another house next year because we pay over 2150 dollars rent for a 3 story house with 4 bedrooms. Thats way too overpriced but we fell in love with the house and were looking for a fast solution while i move to the US

Maybe you'll be lucky and find a house that is not "paper house" and fixing it just takes some minor repair?  All the best luck!

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Elrona said:

Maybe you'll be lucky and find a house that is not "paper house" and fixing it just takes some minor repair?  All the best luck!

 

 

We will see, i dont mind "paper houses" this is more my dad joking about it haha and yes fingers crossed 😍

 

I mean i dont mind taking some "L's", I just wanna have a comfortable house and dont pay huge amounts for electric, water and gas bills. That hurts my soul lmao. I gotta say just from being in america for about 5/6 months since october 2017 I got used to a lot of stuff already and my view on america really has changed and now im looking forward to finally be together with my fiance and explore the country with him. 

And there is also always an option to move to germany with him later on. Germany is kinda easy with immigrating, an USC just needs to be married to a german and passes a german language test.

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