Home renovation is all the rage right now, with home prices rising in the Tri-Cities. Many homeowners are opting for renovations that expand the size of a home, instead of moving. It’s important to consider how expanding your footprint and square footage will affect heating and cooling performance.
What is Ductwork?
It doesn’t really matter if you are adding to your home, closing in a sun room or finishing an attic; any major renovation can make a difference in your heating and cooling performance. Ductwork is often forgotten until after a renovation is complete, which is why a plan is important.
Central air conditioning requires ductwork throughout walls, floors and ceilings and are a pathway between your HVAC to living areas. Supply vents suck air out of a room, while return vents blow conditioned air back in. Vents can be on the floor or ceiling depending on heating and cooling.
Home Renovation – The Plan
It starts with having the right people at the planning table: General contractor, HVAC contractor, electrical and plumbing contractors, possibly an architect for a major renovation such as adding a second story. Everyone plays a part in making certain your new space will be as comfortable as the existing.
Questions to Consider:
- How many square feet are you adding?
- Can the existing HVAC equipment handle the additional heating/cooling load?
- Can the electrical panel handle any upgrades that need to be made?
- Is there sufficient and accessible plumbing?
- Is there a way to tie into the existing duct system of the house?
Home Renovation – Who draws in the Ductwork?
A starting point is seeing if the existing ductwork can be altered for a home to remain comfortable. An HVAC contractor will review the current sizing of your system and determine if it can handle an extra room and how ductwork can be expanded. If adding a new addition, an architect and general contractor will need to account for ductwork in the floor, ceiling and walls.
A load test will be performed at the end of the renovation, after the project is almost completed; this will allow the HVAC contractor to balance the system so each room is cooled and heated evenly.
Home Renovation – Are there alternatives to Ductwork?
Depending on the space, you may find that ductwork isn’t necessary for heating and cooling. A finished sunroom that receives plenty of sunlight could rely on under floor radiant heat. In the summer when temps are soaring, french doors can be shut in the afternoon. Using a portable room air conditioner could work for the hottest parts of the summer. These options could be more economical and avoid putting extra strain on your existing HVAC system.
However, a better and more permanent option is a ductless or mini-split system. Ductwork can be expensive and problematic for a home addition, especially in older homes. Ductwork takes up space and opening up walls and finished ceilings is an added cost. Instead, ductless systems mount at the top of a wall and can be in a single room or multiple rooms of the home. Ductless heat pumps can both heat and cool a space.
Want to know more about your HVAC duct options in your home renovation, call Chinook Heating and Air Conditioning. Chinook is a locally owned and operated company here in the Tri-cities area, so they know what you need for performance. Give them a call today at 509.736.1211 and put them on your renovation team.