Whether you are planning new construction, enclosing a small area of the home such as a patio, or preparing for a major remodel, an important step in your planning and design involves assessing your HVAC system.
Considerations for New Construction
As you imagine your dream home, think of the air conditioning system as the ‘lungs’ that circulate and refresh air throughout the dwelling. Although less glamorous than a quartz-countertop kitchen island or spacious master suite, a well-planned HVAC system is essential to curb moisture accumulation, mold growth, and other contaminants in the castle you design.
For new homes, you need to select a unit that has sufficient capacity to heat or cool all enclosed areas efficiently. Within our climate zone in the greater San Antonio area, you will want to select a unit that has enough “tonnage” to keep your house comfortable. While a 2.5-ton unit is sufficient for a 1,400 square-foot home, it does not have the capacity to warm or cool a home that is 2,400 square feet. You will also need to consider the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), a rating of how efficiently a system cools a structure over a season.
When transitioning from design to construction, there are many important concerns that go beyond the unit’s tonnage and SEER rating. Consider the placement of windows. If you have large windows on the west side of the house that do not have Low-E glass, rooms on that side of the house will require additional capacity to maintain the same temperature during warm afternoons.
Early the planning process, work with professionals familiar with HVAC units and ductwork systems to select a system that is right for you.
Considerations for Remodeling Structures
The ever-growing popularity of interior design shows and house-flipping programs has led many people to consider home improvements. Small jobs such as enclosing or improving a patio or transforming a carport or garage into living spaces seem easier than ever with the resources available today. However, enclosing the additional square footage or replacing a window unit in a semi-improved space with HVAC service requires more than simply adding another vent and some ductwork.
Any remodeling job should include a consultation to make sure that the presently installed unit can handle the increased capacity. Even if you maintain the current square footage of the area serviced by your unit, moving or demolishing interior walls will affect the placement of vents to ensure that they continue to service all enclosed spaces efficiently.
This is an excellent time for a service call by professional technicians even if your current HVAC system has sufficient tonnage and an appropriate SEER rating. Depending on your remodeling plans, construction will stir up a lot of dust and may expose the ducts to pollutants that will linger long after the drywall receives its final coat of paint. Working with HVAC specialists throughout the planning and construction phases allows you to add both comfort and value as you improve your dwelling.