Consider Comfort When Planning Your Home Addition

Published on: August 22, 2014
Ductless mini-split on wall | AC Southeast®

A home addition can be exciting, but you may be concerned about the options for comfort control, especially if connecting to the central HVAC system appears to be tricky. As you consult with your design professional, you may want to include your HVAC contractor in the discussions so that you can plan for the most effective options in home comfort management.

Structural Issues to Consider

Comfort levels can be affected by the activity of your HVAC unit, but it is also possible to use structural components in your room addition to minimize the need for heating and cooling activity. Today’s building materials are more advanced than ever, allowing you to minimize the mess while maximizing the quality of life provided by a space. Consider some of the following issues as you plan your addition:

  • Attic space – your home’s roofing system enhances indoor comfort levels by providing proper ventilation and insulation. Consider whether the addition will follow a similar model to promote comfortable indoor conditions.
  • Insulated walls – in many cases, walls can be insulated with rolls, batting or loose insulation material. However, you may not have thought about exterior insulation. Products like DensGlass are available in board form, enabling you to tack highly efficient material into place from the outside. The material also works well with exterior decor techniques.
  • Efficient windows – the installation of products like low-e windows enables you to take advantage of natural lighting while enabling you to limit energy loss through the panes. An unglazed window can represent 40 percent of the heat gain in your space during the cooling season, but a high-efficiency window can cut this heat gain to 25 percent.

Comfort Management

While your design team may be able to adapt your addition to connect to the ductwork already present in the home, this could affect the balance of your existing equipment configuration. As greater demand is placed on your equipment, there could be a resulting decrease in comfort levels throughout the house. If your system isn’t sized properly to accommodate additional square footage, you could experience much higher energy usage levels or an earlier need to replace existing comfort control equipment.

Ductless air conditioning may provide an effective alternative to central heating and cooling for your home addition. A ductless heat pump can address both heating and cooling needs in the isolated space, leaving the demands on the central system unchanged. This can also be a great way to achieve efficient comfort control in the new space because ductless equipment is much more efficient than central equipment. Energy loss through duct walls accounts for approximately 20 percent of the energy used by a home comfort system, meaning that a ductless system can be that much more efficient. Additionally, a ductless unit may be programmed for precise comfort management in the space in question.

Including an AC Southeast® HVAC contractor in your planning can be arranged easily. You can contact one of our experts who serves your community, arranging an inspection of your existing home and coordinating HVAC plans with additional features of your home addition.