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What to Know About HVAC Systems and Home Remodels

Remodeling a home can be a daunting task—especially if you aren’t prepared for all that comes with it. In terms of the HVAC system, homeowners might not realize how essential it is to the process. It’s not as flashy as the finishes, but paying attention to the HVAC will make your remodeled space your new favorite spot in your home! Here are some things to know and discuss with your general contractor before starting a remodeling project.

Know Where the Vents Are Located

To help your contractor avoid a surprise vent or accidentally damaging the system, it helps to let them know exactly where the heat and cool air run through your home. A blueprint of your home would be ideal to provide if you have it. Even so, if you’re in an older home that you did not originally own, it’s not uncommon to run into problems that the previous owners failed to disclose.

Know Your HVAC System’s Capacity

If you’re expanding or adding on to your home, then your current HVAC system might not be able to effectively purify and heat/cool the air. Binder Heating has employees who know how to design and size a system to be sure the homeowners will be comfortable in their existing and new spaces! Sometimes existing equipment is sufficient, but depending on the size of your remodel, an upgrade in equipment may be needed. Discuss with your general contractor if you’ll need to expand the system with additional supplies and where you want the supplies to be located (don’t forget that toe kick in the kitchen – your toes will thank you come Minnesota winter); additionally, you can consider adding in-floor heat to the new bathroom. If you need to run new ductwork to accommodate the supplies, adding a soffit is an attractive and relatively simple way to hide it. 

Know the Effect of Windows

While homeowners love to add more natural light to their homes during a remodel, it also means there are more opportunities for drafts or sunlight to affect the temperature of the room. Large windows that get a lot of direct sunlight can bring in a lot of heat in the summer, so your system has to work harder to reach optimal temperature—especially if your thermostat is located in that room. It is a simple change, but where your thermostat is located can make a big difference in your HVAC design to be sure the whole space is comfortable.

Consider Alternate Features

While planning a remodel, there are many options when it comes to your HVAC system. In Minnesota, how you heat and cool your home is vitally important to your year-round comfort. You can heat a space with a typical furnace or maybe in-floor heat (electric or hydronic) makes more sense. An air conditioner certainly cools your home, but perhaps a mini-split can cool a new space better. HVAC equipment continues to get more and more efficient, and homeowners are also seeking better air quality in their homes. Maybe it’s time to add a humidifier or an air cleaner. Considering all your options and how they will fit into your overall budget at the beginning of the project will save everyone a headache later.

Overall, most general contractors will know the complexity of working with or around an HVAC system while remodeling, but it never hurts for homeowners to know this information beforehand. It also doesn’t hurt to ask who your general contractor uses for their subcontractors (mechanical, plumbing, electricians) so you can be sure you assess them as well. Then, you can ask the right questions.

Binder Heating and Air Conditioning is a local company with 90 years of experience serving the Twin Cities.