So you’re adding a new addition to your home. Congratulations! This can be a very exciting endeavor, despite the amount of work that goes into it. Among the many considerations that must be made when adding on to your house, as with any major remodeling project, one of those considerations is going to have to be how this is going to affect your HVAC system. Particularly for home additions, you’ll have to consider how this new part of your home is going to be heated and cooled, and there are many options.
The point of this tip of the day is to dive into these considerations and consider all of these options. We’re going to take a look at some of the best ways to add air conditioning and heating in Austin to home additions and why they are considered some of the best options. In the end you’ll hopefully have a better understanding of where you stand with your future home addition and what ways are available to you for adding heating and air conditioning in Austin. Read on as we count down in no particular order some options for adding HVAC to your new or future home addition.
Extending Your Current HVAC: Pros and Cons
Now, of course, likely the first option you’ve considered when thinking about how you’re going to get air-conditioned air into your home addition is just extending the capabilities and range of your current HVAC system. This makes sense for many reasons. The biggest of course is that it doesn’t involve purchasing and installing any additional HVAC unit to your home. This means that one of the big benefits of going this way is simply that you’ll likely have a smaller installation cost than any of the other methods.
But you have to also keep in mind that this doesn’t mean the installation cost is zero. You’ll still have to add new ductwork to your home and this can often include extensive work on your existing ducts depending. If the ducts are leaky and inefficient, you will not be able to cool the new addition, even if your air conditioner can handle the load.
One of the biggest drawbacks to this plan, just tacking on new ductwork to incorporate your new home addition into the current HVAC system, is that HVAC units are sized fairly specifically to the size of house you have. Having too big or too small of a system for the size of your house will cause you many problems down the road, both in the lifespan of the heater or air conditioner and for your utility bills and comfort. If your new home addition is of a significant size this might throw off, so to speak, your current system, adding more space than it can appropriately handle.
Some other cons of simply expanding your current HVAC system to include your new home addition include 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. And forced-air heating can distribute dust throughout your home.
Especially if your current HVAC system is on the older side, you can benefit a lot from adding a new system that’s more modern and advanced when it comes to air conditioning this new space in your home. Still, for many, extending your current system can be a good way to go. It really depends on too many factors to state definitively which is best. Extending your current AC and air ducts into the new home addition is a logical choice for many. If you and your HVAC professional have determined that your existing system can handle the added square footage and cooling load, the ductwork will need to be tested for leaks, air balance, and for any other factor that will impact air flow and air conditioner efficiency.
Upgrade for the Whole House
This second option is a twist on the first with an important difference. It still involves expanding on to your current ductwork so that it connects to your home addition but instead of simply hooking this up to whatever furnace and air conditioner you have now, consider upgrading your whole HVAC system at the same time.
Like the first option of simply expanding your current HVAC system, this has the benefit of not requiring you to purchase, maintain, and run any extra HVAC units to heat and cool the new home addition. The new addition will simply be a connected part of the atmosphere of the rest of the house, delivered warm and cool air by the same ducts and controlled with the same thermostat. This is a big plus for many.
What makes this option better than the first is that it ensures your whole house is getting the best heating and cooling possible with the newest and most efficiency. And, importantly, it ensures that whatever new HVAC units you purchase have the size appropriate for the whole house including the new addition.
If your home’s cooling system is more than 10 years old, you may be better off replacing the A/C with a high-efficiency unit to cool your entire home and the new home addition. New high-efficiency air conditioners offer significant cooling savings compared with older models. The new air conditioner will pay for itself through energy savings in the long run, and you will have an efficient solution for cooling your new home addition.
Load calculations have to be made on a case-by-case basis. If you upgrade the HVAC system for the whole house once the new home addition is in place it means that you can be sure that the new system is appropriately sized to include this new addition. A trained professional will determine what is needed to keep a new space comfortable, and they can include the exact dimensions and size of the new home addition in with their load calculation to make sure the new units you upgrade to in your heating and air conditioning system are sized appropriately.
A Mini-Split System
Now we’re going to get into options that don’t include simply expanding your current HVAC system. One of the best options for adding heating and cooling capabilities is a mini-split system. The main reason is that mini-split systems are designed to heat single rooms and work independently, expending only as much energy as it takes to heat and cool that room. They’re very efficient in this regard and are perfect for such a case as a home addition.
Known as a split system or ductless heat pump, it consists of two main parts: A blower unit that gets installed in an exterior wall and a condenser unit that sits on the ground outside, much like a standard central air conditioner has. But a heat pump can do much more than a standard system. For one thing, it not only cools in the summer but it also provides heat in the winter.
There can be many benefits to this solution. When you extend the existing ducts (or heating pipes) into the new space, it can be tricky to get the temperature in your addition to align with the rest of the house. If the addition is on the far side of the house from the air handler, it may get insufficient heating and cooling power. If it's better insulated than the old house, on the other hand, and is close to the air handler, it may get too much heating and cooling. And if it has a lot more sunny windows than the main house, it may need an extra boost of cooling. Because a split system has its own thermostat (usually in a hand-held remote) and works independent of the rest of the house, you won't have any of these balancing problems.
These independent heating and cooling systems are perfect for home additions because they don’t require the ductwork in the rest of the house to be touched at all. It won’t affect the sizing of your original HVAC units, and it works very efficiently meaning it won’t add much to your utility bills. It’s very simple; the inside unit connects to a small cooling unit or heat pump outside and can serve 400 square feet of living space. A mini-split is fairly easy to install and is so energy efficient because it doesn’t use ducts to deliver the conditioned air. You can turn the system off when you’re not using the space. They run quietly and safely, since they do not require a combustion fuel to provide heat and won’t require any venting for exhaust gases.
A mini-split heat pump is also convenient for the fact that it is a heating and cooling solution wrapped in one. 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 refrigerants 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.
Home Addition HVAC Options and Air Conditioning Repair in Austin
Adding on to your house with a new home addition can be an exciting venture but don’t forget the details. How you decide to heat and cool this new space will have a grand effect on your comfort and energy efficiency for years to come. So take close consideration of your options, three of the biggest being simply expanding your current HVAC system to incorporate this new space, doing the same but upgrading your HVAC units at the same time, or using an independent system like a mini-split heat pump to air condition the new addition.
When it comes to heating and air conditioning in Austin, you can never be too careful with your Austin air conditioning service. That’s why it’s good to schedule maintenance checks with a local professional regularly. AC Express is one such option. AC Express is an Austin AC repair company that operates all around the Austin area, from Buda and Kyle to Leander and Taylor. If you need AC repair in Austin look no further. Call Today!