If you have recently renovated your home or are considering renovating soon, there may be one vital element of the remodel you have not considered – your heating system. When your original heating system was installed, it was designed to successfully heat the square footage of your home as it was being built. When additions are put onto homes the capability of the heating system is often overlooked. A heating system designed for a twelve hundred square foot home will not be able to heat a 2000 square foot home without a few modifications. When homeowners fail to realize this (or contractors fail to adequately inform the homeowner) the first solution is often to turn up the heat in an attempt to at the very least keep the primary living spaces warm. But this solution can be costly. Regardless of whether your primary heating system runs on oil, propane, natural gas, or electricity, each fill of the fuel tank can be an unpleasant experience for your wallet. This expense becomes even worse as your heating system ages and begins to operate less efficiently in addition to being too small for your new home size. There are also potential problems associated with your original home structure versus your new addition. In your old structure there may be elements you want to address during your renovation to help ensure your heating system can heat your entire home after your renovations are complete. So, you want to renovate but don’t want to spend next winter cold or constantly filling your fuel tank. What do you do?
Replace Your Current Heating System
The first option of course, is to replace your heating system. This is likely very cost-prohibitive for most people. Replacing a complete heating system could cost anywhere from $4000 to over $10,000, depending on how much of the system you choose to or need to replace. This cost is also based on a variety of additional factors including the type of system (forced hot air, hot water baseboard, etc.), efficiency level of the system you are installing, the size of your home (and therefore required size of the system), the type of duct work needed, the amount of labor that will be required and the time of year you are changing your system. This list is by no means exhaustive but goes to show just how frustrating and expensive the process could end up being.
Enhance Your Existing Heating System
The next option is to enhance your existing heating system. If your current furnace or boiler are capable of extra output, it is possible to add ductwork or additional baseboard radiation to your existing system. If this is done during the renovation process it is certainly easier than after the renovations are complete. Adding extra ducting for a forced hot air system will require adding heating ducts to feed the new living space. If you have baseboard (heating that runs on hot water circulation) adding additional heating will require drilling holes through walls or floors to allow hot water to pass from the boiler to the individual heating elements in each room. Although it is not impossible to do this after the fact, it is certainly better to have an in-depth conversation with your contractor or construction company doing your renovations so these additions can be made prior to Sheetrocking and painting.
Request A Professional Inspector to Inspect Your Heating System
It is also essential to have your heating system inspected both before your planned renovations and on an annual basis thereafter. This is one of the best ways to both ensure your heating system is running at optimal levels, but also catch any possible issues before they happen. There are many other reasons to have your heating system inspected including safety, warranty and cost reduction reasons. The most important of those is safety. Thousands of people die worldwide each year due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The symptoms of this deadly gas often go unnoticed or are attributed to other more common illnesses. Failure to get your boiler inspected regularly could increase the risk of carbon monoxide leaks and potentially fatal consequences.
Consider the Value a Heating System Will Add To Your Alaska Home Remodeling Project
Another element related to your home renovation and heating that is often overlooked is the value and amount of your home’s insulation. If your existing home structure is older it is likely some of your insulation is not working as effectively as it was when it was first installed. Over time blown in insulation in attic spaces and walls tends to settle to the bottom of wall structures or get matted down due to home settling. As this occurs, the value of the insulation is reduced causing your home to feel colder and your heating bills to rise. As you are planning your renovations it would be beneficial to speak to your contractor about the insulation in your existing structure. If your walls and attic spaces are going to be open and accessible anyway there is no better time to add some extra insulation to your home. This may add a little to the expense of your remodel, however it will help your home to maintain heat better during the colder months and help your heating system to successfully do its job.
Walk Around Your Home with Your Anchorage General Contractor
Finally, when you are preparing for your renovation take a moment to walk around your home with your contractor. Look for places in your home that may be prone to drafts and heat loss. Some of the most common places this occurs are old windows and doors. A significant amount of heat can be lost through innocent little cracks in your home or weak areas in the weather stripping around windows and doors. It is also important to look at the places you may not commonly look. Do you have a basement or garage door that opens to the outside? Can you see daylight under that door? If so that means you are losing heat from your home directly outside and forcing your heating system to work harder than it needs to. During your renovations your contractor can help you to adjust windows and doors to assure they are properly sealed and functioning to keep your home warm. As with insulation, if there are places in your home that will be more accessible due to siding or walls being removed or added to, this is the perfect time to repair or replace the weather stripping around windows and doors. It is also the perfect time to make sure doors are sealing properly and close tightly.
Communicate With Your Alaska Home Remodeling Contractor
When you are preparing for home renovations or completing renovations it is vital to communicate with your contractor about your home heating needs. Will your existing system be capable of heating your home after the renovations? What type of modifications will you need to do to your existing system to assure adequate heating after your renovations are complete? Keeping your home warm and comfortable during the winter months can be challenging and, unfortunately, costly. Above are a few considerations that should be addressed with your contractor before proceeding with your renovation. Once renovations and additions are complete it is much more challenging to go back and make alterations to your heating system. It is also unfortunate to realize your heating system is incapable of doing its job after the temperatures begin to drop and you turn your system on for the winter.
If you are considering a Alaska Home Remodeling in the anchorage area, contact Crighton & Cooper Construction. We will be happy to talk to you about your project and answer any questions you may have about how we can help you with your dream renovation or addition.