We love to dream about a new house that has all of the things we’ve ever wanted in a home. Those ‘wants’ are different for each person. Some want large spacious homes with lots of bedrooms for hobbies, kids, and pets while others want a cozy, simple home to retire in. When thinking of a new home, most of us think about how many bedrooms are needed, the kitchen of our dreams, how big of a garage we want, and how many bathrooms we need. These are all important factors to take into consideration.
However, for most people, their home is the single greatest asset they own and they will likely spend more time inside that home living and breathing than anywhere else, whether awake or asleep! Therefore since that home will have a significant effect on their health, comfort, and financial future you should not overlook three important features of this investment.
3 things you should Look For In a New Home
- Indoor air quality
- Energy efficiency
Indoor Air Quality
New homes should be constructed in a way that effectively limits air intrusion into the home. The goal is to ensure that only fresh, clean air is in your home, not musty air from the crawl space or attic. To achieve this level of indoor air quality requires attention to detail during every phase of construction, from framing to finishes. Not only should this be part of the specification, it should be verified at various stages of construction. Healthy indoor air quality goes hand in hand with energy efficiency.
Heating and cooling systems and ductwork should be engineered. Rather than guesswork, each system should be designed for the house plan, location, and orientation of the home. Without the proper design, builders or subcontractors guess or estimate. Sometimes that guess is high and sometimes it is low, leaving the house uncomfortable, uneven, expensive to heat and cool, or all of the above! Just ‘meeting code’ isn’t enough. The cost of the system pales in comparison to the cost of your energy bill over the next few decades. The goal should be to use the least amount of energy possible while providing the most comfortable home.
One system that uses more energy than almost anything else is hot water. Therefore, especially in larger homes, the hot water heater should be the most energy efficient model available for the home constructed. In many cases this means a heat pump hot water heater. This design moves heat from the air into the water which is far more efficient than burning fossil fuel or using electric elements.
Fresh air ventilation is vital to indoor air quality but that ventilation should be provided in a very energy efficient manner. Not only should the ventilation be efficient, it should be quiet. After all, if it is annoying to turn on, it may not be turned on, thus reducing indoor air quality.
High Quality insulation in the ceiling, walls, and floor. This is an item that is difficult to add after construction and when done right, pays for itself for years to come.
The only way to ensure that a home is constructed using high quality methods and materials is to specify and then verify both the materials and the craftsmanship. This cannot be done if the builder does not inspect regularly during every phase of construction. It simply cannot be left up to subcontractors to ensure that structural elements, systems, and finishes are installed correctly and in harmony with the overall construction strategy. After all, subcontractors are only involved in their small part of the effort. It is the builder who should know the overall construction strategy and how all of the systems work together. However, some builders overload their staff to the point that they don’t have time to ensure that the home is being constructed correctly or worse, they leave specifications up to their subcontractors! Since many of these systems are structural or encapsulated inside the walls of the home, it is exceedingly difficult to correct problems later. That is why you must select a builder who has your best interests at heart and not just production.
A high quality home is not just a home with the number of rooms you want, it is a home that is comfortable, healthy to live and breathe in, and will hold its value for years to come. That is why indoor air quality, energy efficiency, and quality are three features that should be built into every home, regardless of its other features.