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HVAC Tips for a Finished Attic Space

Aug 20, 2021

When finishing an attic, everyone could use a few HVAC tips. While the attic is often a place homeowners store unused items, many view the space as potential to create an extra bedroom or office. Of course, you’ll need to plan accordingly so it meets local building codes, is safe, and comfortable. Your HVAC system is a great place to start.

Expert HVAC Tips for a Finished Attic

Configure Your HVAC System Properly

A finished attic space may require significant modifications to your HVAC system. Here are some important considerations regarding your heating and cooling system and a finished attic:

  • Check the Ductwork: If you’re extending your HVAC into the attic, there must be enough ductwork to support this. If there’s not enough, you could end up straining the system and doing serious damage. Air ducts must be clean to ensure proper airflow and indoor air quality.
  • Set Up Zoning: A ductless system gives you the opportunity install a programmable thermostat that supports a zoned system. Zoning lets you control temperatures in different areas independent of one another. Your attic can be set to a different temperature depending on use, which can lower your energy bill.
  • Set Up a New HVAC System: Install a separate ductless system. It is smaller than a standard HVAC and ideal for small areas like attics. If you increase the square footage your existing HVAC serves, the AC, furnace, heat pump, or other equipment may become overloaded.

Insulate the Room

No matter how you use your attic, it should be properly insulated. Otherwise, air can flow freely between the inside and outside and it can become hard to regulate the temperature of your entire home. Floor insulation just cuts the attic off from the conditioned envelope below. By removing it, you bring it all together.

Insulation should be added to the ceiling. The type and amount of insulation you install depends on where you live (there are 8 zones in the U.S., as explained at Energy.gov). There are many kinds of insulation, from low-density to high-density fiberglass insulation, to mineral wool and spray foams. Before selecting insulation, check its R-value; the higher it’s rated, the more effective it is.

Ventilate the Attic

With insufficient ventilation, hot air can get trapped in the attic. There are many different roof vents to choose from, depending on how your home and attic are designed. Proper ventilation will continuously move hot air through the space and out. Also, consult a professional regarding installation of air chutes in the roof (if your home has rafter spaces that run from the soffit to the roof ridge).

Make Sure Living Space is Tightly Sealed

Cracks and gaps in walls, as well as existing doors, windows, and hatches, can allow air to escape. Repair cracks and other spaces, consulting a technician to seal them properly, if necessary. Also, add caulking or weather-stripping to windows and doors to avoid heat loss and gain, and consider replacing old windows with double-paned units that better seal conditioned air.

Contact an HVAC Contractor

You can install a window AC unit and electric baseboard heaters on your own. However, they’ll cost more to run, despite being cheaper up front. This option may also not comply with building codes, such as those requiring fresh air exchange. An HVAC contractor can determine exactly what you need and install a properly sized, high-efficiency unit that saves you in the long run.

Follow These HVAC Tips and Call Elmer’s

Elmer’s Home Services can help with air conditioner and heater installation as well as advise you on HVAC tips for your finished attic. There’s a lot to consider, so the assistance of a professional can go a long way. We’re available in San Antonio to answer all your questions and provide the service you need. Call 512-936-5200 for more information.

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