If you’re preparing to embark on a home remodeling project, you’ve got a lot of big decisions ahead. You’re probably weighing your potential return on investment, searching for ways to add improved functionality and debating how your project will fit in with the rest of your home.
What you may not have considered is your HVAC system. A home remodel is a great opportunity to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your heating and cooling system.
To ensure that you get the best results from your HVAC system, here are a few key considerations to keep in mind.
Consider Your Capacity
It’s no secret that heating and cooling isn’t cheap. Unfortunately, it may be even more expensive if your HVAC system is the wrong size for your space. A system that’s too small for your home may struggle to maintain a comfortable temperature, reducing your family’s comfort level and causing your HVAC to run longer and harder.
In contrast, a system that’s too large will often cycle on and off more frequently. This triggers spikes in energy usage and also creates unnecessary wear and tear on your system, reducing its lifespan and causing more frequent and costly repairs.
Even if your HVAC system was properly sized originally, you may need to reevaluate it during the course of your remodel. This is especially true if you plan on adding any rooms, reconfiguring the size or shape of existing rooms or making any other modifications that affect the total square footage of your living space. While it’s always best to hire a professional to have detailed calculations done, you can use a few simple calculations to arrive at a rough estimate of the capacity required to heat and cool your home.
Don’t Discount the Ductwork
Even the most efficient and advanced HVAC systems won’t do you much good without proper ducting. The ductwork in your home needs to be clean, free of obstructions and laid out in a way that maximizes the efficiency of your HVAC system. If you change the layout of your home during a renovation, you may also need to adjust the configuration of your ductwork to ensure that you maintain proper airflow.
If you’re building an addition, you’ll also need to decide whether you want to extend existing ductwork or add a second HVAC unit to handle the new space. While simply adding to your existing ducting may seem like the obvious answer, overextending your ducting can lead to significantly reduced efficiency and may ultimately be a less cost-effective choice.
In addition to any new ducting that may be needed, a remodeling project is also a good time to evaluate the condition of your current ductwork. According to the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, the average home loses 20 to 30 percent of the conditioned air that passes through its duct system due to leaks, improper connections and other inefficiencies. This represents a significant and unnecessary cost that can be addressed by identifying and sealing these leaks during the course of your project.
Finally, you should also consider whether your existing ductwork is adequately insulated, as poor insulation can also reduce the heating and cooling efficiency of your entire system.
Maximize Your Efficiency
Of course, the most important aspect of your home heating and cooling is the HVAC unit itself, and it may be time to consider upgrading if you’re going through the trouble of remodeling your home.
If your current HVAC unit is an older model, it’s likely built to be considerably less efficient than newer, energy-saving models. For example, replacing an older HVAC system with one that carries the ENERGY STAR seal can save as much as 20 percent on monthly heating and cooling costs, putting more money back in your pocket to help pay for the cost of the new unit. Even better, you may be eligible for certain federal tax credits.
A home remodel is an exciting and challenging project that can ultimately benefit you and increase your home’s value. Whether you’re upgrading your kitchen, expanding a bathroom or adding a new bedroom for your growing family, don’t forget to also consider your HVAC system needs during this process.
To ensure you keep your home at a comfortable temperature year ‘round without seeing your energy costs skyrocket, reach out to a qualified HVAC professional at Richmond’s Air for assistance. Your family – and your bank account – will thank you!