Heating and Insulating a Home Addition
LESLIE: William in Illinois is on the line with a heating question. How can we help you with your project?
WILLIAM: I live in the Midwest here in Illinois. I’ve got a smaller house, about 1,100 square foot. It’s got an addition on the front of the house that is about 12 foot by 10 foot, something like that. Well, it’s in a small room. It’s got a pretty good-sized window facing the road. It’s on a foundation but it’s not attached to the garage and it’s not heated. I don’t have a heating duct running out there. It’s attached to the attic space, which is insulated. That room gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer.
And I wondered if I just ran a heating duct out there, if that would be enough or should I put a vapor barrier down? Or should I knock a hole in it to attach it to the (inaudible) or get up under there and insulate and then run a heating duct or what?
TOM: First of all, whenever you have a stand-alone space like that that’s pushed off from the rest of the house, you have more exterior surfaces, so you have more ways for the – basically that building to chill. Adding insulation is always a no-brainer. Add insulation to the floor, add insulation to the attic, making it as insulated as possible is good.
Now, you ask, “Can I add a heating duct to that?” Maybe. Depends on a lot of things. Depends on the existing layout of your HVAC system and whether or not you can get a properly sized supply and return duct to that space.
Does this room get heat from the rest of the house but just not enough heat?
WILLIAM: It doesn’t get anything right now. It has just a door. It was – we just use it as a bedroom at – in the summers, I guess.
TOM: It doesn’t get anything. OK. So what I would do is I would consult with your HVAC contractor to see how difficult it would be and whether or not the pro thought you could get enough BTUs into that room to provide enough heat. And I don’t know if it includes the air conditioning or not.
If not, the other thing to look at is what’s called “split-ductless.” Basically, you would install what is, essentially, sort of a miniature heat pump right outside the wall of that house. And you would hang on the wall a register that has the fan built into it, sort of a blower unit. And that can supply cold air in the summer and that can supply warm, heated air in the winter. And that would, basically, be a separate heating system for that room – a separate HVAC system for that room – but it’s easier than trying to sort of extend, sometimes, the core system of the house. Does that make sense?
WILLIAM: Right. Yeah, yeah, it sure does. Alrighty. Well, I will look into both of those options.
TOM: Great, William. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.