Expanding your home is a great way to get more space and increase the value of your property. However, one common practical concern that comes up is keeping the new area cool, especially when your existing air conditioner may not be sized big enough to service the additional square footage. Here are two things you can do to keep the space nice and cool.
Install a Mini-Split System
A ductless mini-split air conditioning system can best be described as a single point air conditioning system. It consists of two parts: an interior wall-mounted unit and an exterior compressor. It basically functions like a window unit, except the hole required to connect the interior and exterior components is significantly smaller. Additionally, they tend to be quieter and blend into the surrounding environment better.
The biggest benefit of this type of system is that it can be independently controlled, which may help keep your energy bills low. If you are only going to be in that part of the home, for instance, you can turn off the central unit and use the independent one to stay cool in that area, provided that area can be closed off. Additionally, you may qualify for a federal tax credit for purchasing the unit.
However, mini-split systems are expensive, costing an average of $1,900. In comparison, a regular central air conditioner costs an average of $5,335 but you can get one a low as $3,720. Depending on the pricing in your area, it may be cheaper just to upgrade your entire system to accommodate the increased space.
Opt for a Zoned System
If you don't want to spend a lot of money on another air conditioning system another option is to connect the addition to your existing system but have it zoned. With a zoned air conditioning system, a series of panels are installed in the ducts that direct the flow of cool air. This system lets you cool certain parts of the home by controlling with ducts are open and closed.
Thus, conceivably, you could keep the addition cool by redirecting the cold air from other parts of the home. This may work well if the addition is on a second floor. Heat rises, so lower floors will naturally remain cool. Therefore, redirecting the cold air to an upper floor may not cause too much discomfort to people on the first floor (or basement). This is also a good option if you only use one part of the home at a time.
However, this can be problematic if you want the entire house to be cool at the same time, because your existing air conditioner may not be powerful enough to do that. It's best to have your unit sized by a professional to determine if this is a good option for your home.
For more ideas on keeping a home addition cool, contact an air conditioning specialist, such as those found at Polk Air Conditioning.