Planning an addition to your home? You have a lot of details to consider. Instead of rushing into anything, look at the addition from every angle, including the HVAC angle, before you sign on any dotted lines. Here are three HVAC mistakes to avoid when you add on to your home.
1. Not Increasing AC Capacity
One of the worst things you can do is to just add a room and assume your existing AC will be able to cool it. Unless your current AC unit is oversized (which can cause its own set of problems), this is unlikely to work out well. Once you’ve added a greater volume of air that the system has to handle, you’ll need to have increased cooling power as well.
Ideally, you should think of this in the planning stage. Talk to your HVAC contractor about how much increased AC power you’ll need to supplement your current unit. For a large addition to your house, you may need to install a second AC unit. For a small addition, a simple upgrade to a larger unit with more power may make more sense.
AC power is often discussed with a unit known as BTU (British thermal unit). An AC unit that doesn’t have enough BTU for the size of your house will likely be unable to keep your home cool in hot weather, and will be more likely to wear out quickly as well.
2. Failing to Maximize Insulation Possibilities
Many homeowners like to make their add-on look as much like the original structure as possible. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make some improvements. For example, if you don’t maximize the opportunities for insulation in the new section, you’ll miss out on a big opportunity.
If the existing part of your home has very thin walls, you may not be able to add insulation without a very expensive update. But when you build an add-on from scratch, you don’t have to give it super-thin walls. The more insulation value your new walls have, the less energy they’ll waste due to heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter.
Talk to your HVAC contractor about how much attic and wall insulation you should aim for to achieve maximum AC efficiency. Although this won’t fix any problems you have with AC efficiency in your existing structure, it will help you avoid adding to them.
3. Not Installing a More Efficient Unit
Whether you upgrade to a larger unit or add another unit to your home, this is an unparalleled opportunity to look for a unit that gives you more cooling power for less energy. Not only can this save you money on your cooling bills throughout the warm months, but a more efficient model is better for the environment as well.
Two things to look for when you shop for an efficient AC unit are the SEER rating and the Energy Star symbol. The Energy Star symbol indicates that the EPA has found the unit to be highly efficient. The SEER rating is basically an efficiency measurement. A 14.5 SEER rating is the minimum efficiency rating for an Energy Star certified unit.
These three mistakes can cause your HVAC system to put a strain on your wallet after the addition to your house is complete. And in some cases, they could even put a strain on the AC unit so that it fails prematurely. Talk to your HVAC contractor before you start work on any home additions to ensure you can avoid all these issues.
Steele Brothers Heating, Inc. can help you with any HVAC installation or repair issues you may have, including questions about how to adapt your HVAC system when adding on to your house. Get in touch today to learn more about our services and how we can help.