Congratulations on planning an addition to your home! You'll get the benefit of extra space, laid out just the way you like it. But while you’re creating the blueprint for this exciting add-on, don't neglect your heating and cooling infrastructure. It's possible to simply extend your current HVAC system into the addition, but you might find it's easier and more cost-effective to go for a separate system altogether.
Take Advantage of New Technology
Depending on what kind of HVAC arrangement you have in the rest of your home, there are several reasons why it might be better to install a new heating and cooling system in your addition:
- The effort of extending ducts or pipes might be too unwieldy or expensive.
- Some HVAC technology, like steam heating, is considered outdated and it can be difficult to find technicians who will work on it.
- Radiators and baseboard heaters can get in the way of your furniture placement.
- Forced-air heating can distribute dust throughout your home.
Furthermore, new advances in heating and cooling can be more efficient and more effective for your new rooms. Technologies like air-source heat pumps and radiant floor heating are perfect for heating individual rooms and smaller areas:
- Heat pumps use the difference in the indoor and outdoor temperature to function as a heater in the winter and air conditioner in the summer. They work by using refrigerant to transfer heat and move it into or out of a home. They use electricity but are considerably more efficient than old-school electric resistance heaters, and newer models are getting better at working even in very cold temperatures. Plus, they only take up a small part of one wall, so they are easier to install in an addition than extending a duct system or hot water pipes.
- Radiant floor heating won't help cool your house, so you'll need a separate AC solution. But when it comes to heating, many people prefer the efficient, even heat that radiant flooring provides. Floor heating is more complicated to install than a heat pump, since you need to layer panels under the floor, but building a brand new addition presents the perfect opportunity to plan ahead and make the installation as easy as possible.
Don't Leave Your HVAC to Chance
Whatever system you decide to go with, you need to make sure it has the capacity to handle your new space.
"Load calculations have to be made on a case-by-case basis," Craig Drumheller, director of codes and standards for the National Association of Home Builders, said to NorthJersey.com. "A trained professional will determine what is needed to keep a new space comfortable."
Make sure you consult with a qualified HVAC technician while you're planning your addition to go over all the pros and cons, give you an expense estimate and help you make the choice that's best for your family.
The experts at local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® are always available to offer expert advice and guidance.