Home additions are always an exciting project. They represent growth and prosperity for your family as well as a chance to bring you a step closer towards living in your dream home. It’s a great opportunity, but like all household projects, it has its own set of unique challenges. There are many construction decisions and design factors that you may not be prepared for, especially if you are not particularly handy to begin with. Planning ahead and accounting for each potential problem can save you a great deal of both time and money in the long run

One of the most commonly overlooked issues is introducing a heating and air conditioning system into a new room. Home additions, by their very nature, are never taken into account when an HVAC system is installed. The trouble stems from the unit and the ductwork, which was designed very specifically to meet the demand according to the existing square footage. While it would seem to the untrained layman that simply adding a few vents in the new room would be a simple task, the risks of doing this must be considered.

If not done right, and not planned out efficiently, you could sacrifice conditioned air throughout your entire house. The best solution is to invest in a ductless system for the room. This is a completely separate unit designed exactly for the square footage of this new space. The system is whisper quiet and extremely efficient, putting hardly any additional demand on your utilities.

Insulation is another big determining factor for the level of comfort the new room will have. The rest of your home was insulated years ago, and unless your crawlspace or attic is used regularly for storage, it is unlikely that you have an idea of how much insulation there is now. Walls, ceilings, and floors all need to be properly insulated each at their own level. This is often a place where building contractors can save money when dealing with uneducated homeowners. To the untrained eye, most insulation looks virtually the same. Simply reading the back of any piece properly insulates your addition. Insulation is measured in “R-value”, which is simply a measure of thickness. Walls should have a minimum of R-13, floors should be insulated at least to R-19, and ceilings need to be no thinner than R-30. This will ensure that the room stays comfortable all year round, and is especially important for home additions with a large, glass surface area. More windows create a better view, but the sacrifice in efficiency is significant. Make sure everything is well insulated to compensate.

While a contractor will likely be doing the bulk of the work, this new room is being built for you and your family. The contractor may have recommendations, but your goals and vision should ultimately make the final decisions. Take the time to make sure that this newest area of your house remains comfortable year round, so that you can take full advantage of your investment.