Consider HVAC To Make Comfort a Priority
When remodeling your home there are so many moving parts to consider. You need to think about
function, square footage, design, making sure the new space flows with your old space, decorating and so much more. One area you want to pay particular attention to when you are adding additional space is your home’s HVAC system. Since the comfort of your home relies so much on temperature and ventilation provided by your system, there are three key HVAC questions to ask when remodeling your home.
Make HVAC a Priority
“Don’t wait until after your remodel project is complete to think about the HVAC,” says Keith Hill, manager, technical support, at Minnesota Air. “Additions, room expansions and renovations all need to have comfort considerations.” Imagine what your room would feel like in the middle of winter if it didn’t have heat coming into it. If you were just relying on existing ductwork, the answer would likely be “pretty cold.”
How about in the summer when we reach those humid 80-90 degree nights? Without proper insulation and air conditioning, you may be wishing you considered all your options for staying comfortable and not steamy.
Keith says here are some questions to ask yourself–and an expert–before remodeling:
Will my current furnace be large enough for the addition?
Your current furnace was likely chosen for your home’s initial space and energy needs. Upgrading to a bigger furnace or even getting multiple HVAC systems, depending on how big your space will be, is something to consider. Newer, more energy efficient models that are powerful enough for your whole house may pay for themselves over time compared to stretching your older furnace to the max. Some additions may benefit from a ductless HVAC system that can be installed separately, and it doesn’t have to be integrated into your current furnace or ductwork.
Can my existing ductwork be used or modified?
If you are remodeling, you should check with an expert to see if your current ductwork can be salvaged for use in your new space. Extending ducts to new areas gives more opportunity for heat loss, and therefore, can be less energy efficient if not properly insulated and installed. Sometimes it is possible to add on ductwork to direct air-conditioned and warm air into your new space. Other times, it's not worth the fuel energy it takes to travel to the furthest stretches of your home. A heating professional can help you decide what’s best. If you end up having to purchase a new HVAC system, check out our HVAC shopping guide.
What will the addition of windows or glass doors do to the heat loss or heat gain of a room?
This answer depends on a few factors. First, get a home energy audit to address the bigger air leaks in your house and duct system. It will be an important step in the remodeling process. You’ll be able to see the problem areas and see where heat is escaping from your home (windows, doors, garage or roof) and stop it before it becomes an issue.
Choosing ENERGY STAR rated windows, doors, roof products, and insulation in your space can help prevent temperature loss and save you money. According to the Department of Energy and ENERGYSTAR.gov, if an ENERGY STAR HVAC is installed correctly, “these high-efficiency heating and cooling units can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.” There are even tax credits you may be eligible for when choosing qualified energy efficient products or energy generating systems.
Depending on what type of heating system you have can make a difference in the finishing touches you choose during your remodel. Take the time to think about those. Even adding new carpet may have an effect if your home is heated with in-floor radiant heat, according to Keith. The carpet could act as an insulator and the heat could have trouble getting up into the room.
Overall, Keith suggests hiring an HVAC expert during the planning stages so you know what your options are, even if it’s a simple one-time consultation. “Let’s avoid a newly remodeled room that looks fabulous but is too uncomfortable to enjoy,” he says.
For more energy saving and home comfort tips, visit StayComfyMinnesota.com! Stay Comfy, Minnesota is your Minnesota resource for air conditioning repair, furnace repair and HVAC tips and advice.