Three Rules For That New Addition To Your House

by Grace Motley

When you need more space in your home, sometimes the easiest option is to build that space onto the existing house instead of changing the interior layout. Remodeling existing space requires dealing with load-bearing walls, reducing space in some areas, changing existing ventilation ducts, and other changes that can add a lot of time to your remodeling plans. If you build an addition, however, you just have to connect systems such as the plumbing and wiring. You don't have to destroy load-bearing walls if you don't want to — you only have to cover exterior walls to make them look more like interior walls.

When you design the home addition, you may want to make it much easier on yourself by keeping some other systems separate. You also need to be wary of fads as those can make the new space seem unappealing after just a few months.

Add Another Circuit

You'll have to connect the new addition to the home's electrical system, of course, but do yourself and the new addition's occupants a favor by creating a new circuit for the addition. When you look at your home's circuit breaker box, you'll see plenty of switches. However, unless one of those switches is not being used, you will want to have electrical contractors add a new circuit.

This is because that circuit box and all those original circuits were designed for the home you have now. If you connect the addition to an existing circuit that is in use, you'll reduce the available power going to the outlets in the rooms already on that circuit. The number of amps available overall stays the same, but you'll be plugging in more and thus reducing the power that's left. That can lead to tripped circuits.

Instead, you can add a circuit for the addition or commandeer an existing circuit that's not in use. For example, if you have a home that has a circuit for an old jacuzzi that was removed long ago, ask the contractors to see if they can rewire that circuit to serve the new addition.

Consider Separate Heating and Air Conditioning

If your home has central heat and air, extending the ducts into the addition can add time and money to those remodeling plans. If you provide the addition with its own wall air conditioner and heater, however, you don't have to worry about the ducts at all. In fact, if the addition is going to become an accessory dwelling — a guest unit or a mother-in-law apartment, for example — then making the air conditioning and heating in that unit separate from the home's main system is what you want to do so you and the future tenant don't argue over temperature.

Avoid Fads

Sometimes people building additions want to make the room look totally stylish, and that's fine. But be wary of fads. It doesn't matter if those huge plate-glass windows on the west side of the room let the occupant get sunlight all day. Some days, that sunlight is just going to be too hot. It doesn't matter if rain showerheads look luxurious; if they can't be adjusted for direction and are too high up, the person trying to use the shower is going to end up frustrated that they can't move the showerhead.

The construction company that builds the addition can also help you design and re-evaluate your plans for the addition. You'll be able to find cost-effective solutions and learn more about which options allow for easier construction, and that will help make the addition more comfortable and economical.