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Most Effective Ways to Heat & Cool Your Home Addition

You’ve been dreaming about your spacious new home addition, and now you’re ready to have it built. It’s an exciting process, but one that has practical details to hammer out—including how to heat and cool the new rooms most efficiently.

Here’s how our team makes sure you get the best heating and cooling for your home addition

Your HVAC Is Planned Before the Building Begins 

Should you use your existing HVAC system to supply your addition’s heating and cooling needs? Should you update the ducts? Do you have to install a totally new system? The answers depend on the specific type and size addition you have, as well as your current HVAC setup. 

We weigh a number of factors as we work with you to find the right fit for your home addition, such as:

  • Current home — What is your existing home’s size and setup?
  • Addition size — How large and complex will your addition be?
  • Existing HVAC — How powerful is your current heating and AC unit? How old is it? How well does it work?
  • Specialty design elements — Will your addition have unique features that may affect energy efficiency, such as a wall of floor-to-ceiling picture windows?
  • Aesthetic concerns — Do you prefer a specific design look that may be affected by the units we install?
  • Budget — While it’s important to weigh all the costs, it’s also essential to make sure your addition is properly heated and cooled. So we consider your project’s budget in light of how to ensure you get efficient, comfortable performance with your new space. 

To make sure you don’t have unexpected surprises during construction, we plan ahead carefully. As a design-builder, we ensure our HVAC contractor is part of the design phase. This allows us to accurately assess your options and provide reliable pricing before construction begins.

We Consider the Type of System You Already Have 

In the Pittsburgh, PA, area, you are likely to have either a boiler or a forced air system to heat your home. Our first step is to assess your current HVAC setup, so we can determine if it can handle treating the air in your new addition space.

What Happens If You Have a Boiler?

In older homes, boilers are most common, especially if your property’s heating system has never been updated. Boilers exclusively handle heat, so you likely have a separate air-conditioning unit located in your home.

You’ll Need One Radiator Per New Room 

The size of your addition is a major factor in whether we can use your existing boiler system. The general rule is one radiator per room. For example, if your new addition will feature four rooms, you will need four radiators installed to provide ample warmth in Pittsburgh’s cold winter months. We’ll look at whether your boiler can handle that many units running off of it.

What about Air Conditioning? 

If you have a boiler, one thing we’ll do that may surprise you is we’ll look in your attic. The air-conditioning system is often located in the attic, where it pushes cooled air to lower floors through duct runs. If your existing AC system can handle more runs, we’ll simply connect your newly added space to your current AC unit. 

It’s most important to ensure that upper rooms get cooled air first. That cold air will drop naturally to the main level and basement. We’ll look at how well this natural flow of air will work for your home’s unique design.

What if Your House Has a Forced Air Unit? 

This type of HVAC setup is common in new homes, as well as in older homes that have been updated to more modern equipment.

We Look at Your Forced Air System’s Capacity 

If your house has an existing forced air furnace, we’ll weigh its size against the number of rooms being added, how large the new space will be, and where the rooms will be located. These factors will determine whether your current system can accommodate the new square footage.

We Also Look at Your Ducts 

Forced air systems use ductwork that plays a key factor in how your home is heated and cooled. The two types of ducts that we see most often in our region are finger ducts and trunk line ducts

Finger ducts start at the furnace, then split off and get smaller. By the time the duct reaches the last room on the line, it is at its smallest—and that room gets much less treated air. By comparison, a trunk line remains a consistent width throughout the house. Each room has a duct that feeds off the main trunk line, so they all get the same amount of treated air. 

If your property has finger ducts, then we won’t be able to use your current system to heat and cool your addition because the existing ducts are too small to extend into your new space. We’ll replace your existing ductwork with a new trunk line, so your added rooms are cozy year-round.

What about the Size of the Addition Itself? 

At Action Builders, we do additions of all sizes. If your added space will be small, your existing HVAC unit may be able to handle it. But if you’re treating yourself to a large one-story addition, or a two-story addition of any kind, it usually is best to install a new, modern furnace.

If you don’t want to install a system for the entire house, you can put in a separate HVAC unit with its own thermostat for your addition. This can give you much more control over different zones of your home.

Love Your New Home Addition with the Help of Action Builders   

When it comes to our clients, we love ensuring you’re delighted with your Pittsburgh area home’s new addition. Our team at Action Builders works with you to create a design that fits your family’s lifestyle while blending beautifully with your existing house. And we provide a 5-year warranty on the entire project—including any HVAC work we do to keep your new space heated and cooled correctly. 

Discover more about our home additions.