5 HVAC Tips for Turning your Attic Into a Spare Bedroom

June 28, 2016
Ross and Witmer

If you currently use your attic only to store items you’ll never actually use again, you might want to convert it into a useful, attractive space. Attics make excellent spare bedrooms, especially if you’d like to use one of your bedrooms downstairs for another purpose, such as a library or home office. Attic bedrooms create a private, peaceful space for your guests. Before you start the job, however, consider these five HVAC tips to help you effectively turn your attic into a spare bedroom.

Increase or Move Insulation

In many homes, the insulation layer in the attic is along the floor. This isolates the attic from the rest of the home, which means the attic isn’t part of the conditioned envelope. One of the most effective ways to convert your attic space into a spare bedroom is to remove the insulation from the floor and add insulation to the attic ceiling. Essentially, you’re bringing the attic into the rest of the house.

You can attempt this job on your own, but consider hiring a professional. An expert will know what type of insulation will work best for your space and can complete the job faster and more accurately than a layperson.

Examine Existing Ductwork

To add heat and air conditioning to your attic, you must have enough ductwork. Our trained technicians can inspect your ducts and let you know if your renovation will need modifications or extensions for existing infrastructure. Additionally, this is a great time to have your ducts cleaned so they facilitate reliable air flow.

Keep in mind that ductwork doesn’t just supply your home with conditioned air. It’s also critical for indoor air quality (IAQ). When dust, mold spores, pet dander, and other contaminants build up within the ductwork, they get distributed throughout your home.

Add a Separate HVAC System

When you usher your attic into your home’s conditioned envelope, you increase the square footage that requires conditioned air. If your existing air conditioner, heat pump, furnace, and other HVAC units aren’t large enough to accommodate the increase, you’ll have to decide how to address the issue.

A ductless system allows you to end the need for more ductwork. Plus, the units are smaller than traditional systems, which makes them ideal for small spaces like attics. Your guests will feel comfortable when they stay overnight and you won’t have to assume the extra cost of a duct-based system.

Choose a Thermostat That Works With Zoned Systems

If you’re adding another HVAC unit, such as a ductless system to your home, you have to control it. A programmable thermostat that’s compatible with zoned systems will make your life easier and give you more control over your home comfort. Plus, you might see a significant reduction in your energy bills, because you’re controlling your home’s temperature more precisely.

Zoning allows you to control temperatures independently. Since you’ll only use your spare bedroom when you have a guest, you don’t need to keep it as cool in the summer or warm in the winter as you do the rest of the house. When you have company, you can adjust the temperature settings to suit your guest’s preferences.

Seal Doors and Windows Tightly

The most efficient HVAC system in the world won’t help you control energy costs if air can escape through small cracks and gaps. Windows, doors, and hatches typically aren’t sealed as well in attics because they’re not intended for living space. To ensure a tight envelope, caulk or weather-strip these areas.

Look for other areas that might facilitate heat loss and gain. For instance, the tiniest hole in the wall could result in unnecessary energy consumption. Our HVAC technicians can help you locate vulnerabilities and devise strategies to eliminate them. If your windows are thin, consider replacing them with double-paned models that help keep conditioned air where it belongs.

Converting an attic space into a spare bedroom takes work, but it can increase your home’s usability and resale value. For expert guidance on your attic’s HVAC components, call Ross & Witmer at 704-392-6188 and we’ll schedule a consultation.

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