When you’re expanding your home by going up, consider your HVAC options before you get too far into the process. Your choice may affect how you design and engineer the space. The three choices include extending your current heating and air conditioning system, upgrading your current system, or installing an independent system for the new space.
The advantages of each of these three options include:
- Expanding existing system. If your current system is large enough to handle the new space, choosing this option may be the simplest and most cost effective. An HVAC contractor can evaluate your home, the new addition and your current conditioning system to determine whether it’s capable of handling the additional load. Contractors use a tool called Manual J to estimate your heating and cooling load, based on your insulation levels, windows, air infiltration rates and other critical factors in your home and the new space.
- Upgrading. If your current HVAC system is 10 years or older, choosing to upgrade your home’s system will save you money on your energy bills for years to come. Today’s heating and cooling systems are more efficient than older ones, and given the high cost of energy in our region, you might be able to recoup the cost of the new system quickly through lower conditioning bills.
- Independent systems. One of the most efficient HVAC options for our region is to use a ductless mini-split. These are heat pumps that don’t require ductwork, which simplifies installation and frees up space that would otherwise be used for ductwork. These systems have an outdoor condenser connected to an air handler with a conduit, which provides the refrigerant, power and drainpipe. They have no energy losses associated with ducts and the air blows directly from the air handler that can sit on the floor, or hang from the wall or ceiling. Smaller mini-splits usually do not require a special circuit breaker, since they use 110-volt power.
If you’d like more information about HVAC options for a second floor addition, contact Air-Tro, Inc. We’ve provided HVAC services for the Pasadena and Los Angeles area since 1969.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Los Angeles, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HVAC topics, visit our website.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock