Renovating a home presents many challenges, including building, aesthetics, and function. It’s a large project to undertake because of its sheer scope of size. You’ll choose how much livable square footage to add, which changes to make, and, which fixtures and appliances to upgrade. Home renovation projects often take quite a while to complete, and, it’s not unusual to run into unexpected problems. In addition, you’ll have to address how you’ll cool and heat your made-over space.
HVAC Options for Home Renovations
When high-noon hits your home, it can quickly become uncomfortable. Within a couple of hours, it can be downright unbearable if your HVAC system doesn’t work properly, or, is undersized. A home renovation will reveal any problems with your system, and, determine whether or not your existing system can handle additional cooling and heating space. In general, if you are adding livable square footage, chances are excellent your current system won’t be sufficient.
HVAC systems are costly and consume a large portion of a building’s energy, so besides renewable energy technologies, the HVAC system should be designed for maximum energy efficiency. Proper sizing of HVAC equipment is especially important in cooling-load dominated climates as oversizing of equipment can dramatically reduce efficiency. —U.S. Department of Energy
The good news is, you do have options to heat and cool your renovated home. When it’s time, you should contact an experienced and professional technician to evaluate your home’s needs. What’s more, you’ll be presented with some options for heating and cooling your property, which include the following:
- Install a mini-split, or, ductless unit. There are ductless units which are ideal for cooling and heating a specific space and do not take-up much space. These use thin refrigerant and a power line, which is connected to an exterior air-conditioning compressor and fan.
- Retro-fit the existing system. If your current HVAC system is adequate and efficient, you can retro-fit it to heat and cool your renovated space. New ductwork, vents, and returns can be added to your home to keep it comfortable.
- Upgrade your HVAC system. Most situations that add livable square footage require replacement of the existing system. If you do not replace your HVAC system, expect the additional space to be too hot or too cool for comfort.
- Install high-velocity systems. These use two-inch insulated air-supply tubes to broadcast cool air throughout a space. Because of its small size, the tubes are placed behind walls or the ceiling and registers are installed around the ceiling perimeters or high on the walls.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to have your electrical system evaluated to ensure it can handle the extra energy load. It’s important to note that it is not uncommon for homes to have HVAC systems that are inappropriately sized — either under-sized, or, over-sized. The former must run longer in order to cool or heat a home, which of course, increases energy use and utility bills. The latter is problematic because it makes it difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature in a residence. Over-sized units also consume more energy, which also increases monthly expenses.