Is a Split HVAC System what we need? Love It or List It

Why an Oversized Air Conditioner Is a Bad IdeaAs their children become teenagers. A couple realizes that they lack space and privacy..this is the theme on this episode of Love It ot List It.  Hillary and David travel out to the suburbs to work with a family of 4 and their ageing 90’s tract home.  What catches out attention is the unfinished basement and the question many of us have when working with one…Is a Split HVAC System what I need?

The home is well located in a good school district and the husband has a longtime friend living across the street. He Loves It, She List It.  With an $80k reno on a house that’s currently worth $280k against a new house budget $360k, it seems like a fair battle.  But they insist on staying in their school district which proves to be challenging.  Fortunately, they have an unfinished basement to move into but that isn’t the only place they want to spend money.  The house needs work all over (kitchen, baths and finishes) so this isn’t a slam dunk for Hillary either.

More Basement Renovations

The good news is, the basement is a full “day-light, walk-out” that, although musty smelling, has a 4 piece bath already stubbed out.  There seems to be no concerns with pumps or anything else associated with the new bathroom they install so this is a slam dunk.  There also seems to be adequate ceiling height to work with so they’re are no structural or HVAC duct changes needed to make the space comfortable.

The big concern here is the musty smell in the basement and while Hillary starts workign on that, David is showing houses.

David Struggles…

David finds a 3/3 that’s a little larger than what they currently have and is in the same school district.  Unfortunately, the home is as dated as their home is and the kids are still sharing a bath!  David has to color outside the lines here so House 2 is outside of their school district…what was he thinking! Working in their budget in their school district, David can’t seem to find a suitable home for the family.

Why is my Basement Musty Smelling?

Hillary luckily finds that the mustiness downstairs is because the basement has no HVAC system at all.  Therefore, no fresh air is flowing through the space at all and with all that exposed concrete, it’s bound to be musty.

Where do you go from here?

The first thing to do is to see if the current HVAC system has the capacity to condition all this extra square footage.  Of course it doesn’t.  HVAC systems are typically sized to service just the amount of square footage that needs to be conditioned.  Anything larger than that won’t work efficiently.  To learn more, follow the link below….

Why an Oversized Air Conditioner Is a Bad Idea

We weren’t surprised to find that the original HVAC system doesn’t have the capacity to condition the basement.  After running the numbers, they decide that the best alternative is to install a separate, “split” system for the basement. This is the cheaper option but it still represents a $12k investment which includes a new electrical service for the added equipment.

But they could have just as easily went with a “packaged” HVAC system for this application.  For more options on adding HVAC capacity to your home, visit the link below…

Packaged AC Systems Vs. Split AC Systems

Did They Make the Best Use of their Basement?

One thing that impresses is how much larger the basement looks after the drywall goes up!  Hillary’s plan is to make the basement into a “teen” hangout complete with a full bath and a guest room and it turns out beautifully.

For us, another option would have been to turn the basement into a beautiful master suite and adult hangout space. This would leave the kids to take over the upstairs. The teens would not only have had a “hangout space”, they would have each had their own bathroom.  The parents would have had the large master they were hoping for but basement masters are a but unconventional.  When do you draw the line between convention and function?

Who wins?

The basement turned out great and as their “List It” budget wasn’t large enough to get them everything they wanted, they decided they may as well stay where they are if they were going to have to compromise.
Hillary is the winner today!

Hillary 6, David 4

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