A bonus room over a garage holds a lot of potential for a homeowner. It’s an opportunity to create an extra bedroom, office, or a little getaway area to relax, read, watch television or listen to music.
And, in some cases, it can even be a tax loophole. They often don’t have closets, so they’re not counted as a bedroom. Often, they’re not listed as a room at all. As a result, your property taxes may be slightly lower.
In Kane County, you’ll find a lot of these in places like Sleepy Hollow, Crystal Lake and Dundee Township. These areas feature ranches and split ranch homes with attached garages. However, there are some challenges to using a space like this as a living area. A big one is that they can get way too hot in the summer.
A common reason is that the garage underneath it doesn’t have any heating or cooling. And, these spaces usually don’t have any windows.
As a result, heat builds up and rises into the room above the garage in the summer. If that room doesn’t have any fans or air conditioning, it heats up quickly. In some cases, people have even reported the floor feeling warm.
If you’re planning to use the room as a living room or bedroom, you’ll need to keep it cool in the summer. There’s more than one way to do it, but not all the options are equally effective.
Installing a fan, for instance, is inexpensive. But, it may not cool off the room enough, especially if the windows aren’t big enough to get some good circulation. More powerful options include adding a window-unit air conditioner or connecting to a home’s central ac. However, these can be expensive and not as effective as other solutions.
For rooms like these, ductless mini-split systems are becoming more and more popular. These use wall-mounted panels to deliver air conditioning with the strength of a central system. But, they’re much easier to install. And, they’re often less expensive to run each month.
Here’s how ductless air conditioning works, and why it’s an excellent choice for rooms like these.
Ductless air conditioning works by transporting cool air without ductwork or portable air conditioners. The setup is more efficient than a window unit because it uses less electricity, and less treated air escapes the room. And, it is less expensive to install than expanding existing ductwork.
As with central air, this system starts with an outdoor unit. In this case, a heat pump draws heat from the room it’s treating. It removes warm air from the area, leaving the colder air.
Then, through a heat exchange process, a condenser unit extracts the heat. Then, it sends the air back into the house. That treated air cools down the room further.
The air travels through thin, plastic tubing. Hvac techs drill a small hole near the outdoor condenser and feed the tubing through it. Then, they snake it through the walls, so it’s not noticeable. Finally, it enters the room through another small hole.
Once inside, the air gets distributed through a ductless panel. Techs mount these high on a wall, where they’re mostly out of site. The panel itself also cover the hole where the tubing comes in.
Each panel has its own thermostat. This way, a homeowner can set the temperature separately from any other heating or cooling system in the house. They come with remote controls in case anyone has trouble reaching them.
The panels are also whisper-quiet: Even when they’re at full blast, you won’t hear a thing unless you’re right underneath and listening for it.
Installing a ductless mini-split is also a simple process. It only takes a few hours to set it up. And, once it’s there, you never need to remove or adjust it. They also require little, if any, maintenance.
A ductless hvac system is a great option for cooling or heating a bonus room over a garage. It has the power and efficiency of a central system. But, it’s also easy to install and customizable, like a less-efficient window unit.
In fact, ductless systems are strong enough to heat and cool entire homes. To do so, you would create “zones” throughout the house. Each zone gets treated by a different ductless panel.
In the case of these rooms, however, the advantage is getting that power without the headache of expanding a central unit.
In many cases, you can extend the ductwork to a room where it’s not already installed. But, this process is costly.
Hvac techs must design, build and install the new ducts. It can cost hundreds, if not into the thousands. And, the ducts would take up space in the room.
That becomes even more costly if the home doesn’t have central air. That’s common in homes built before the mid-70s. Like many suburban areas, Dundee Township experienced a population boom in the 50s and 60s. Not all of the houses built at that time are retrofitted with central air.
That’s why, for a long time, window units were the way to go. They provided cooling without a considerable investment. But, a ductless system does a much better job.
For starters, you don’t need to drag the unit out for the warm weather and store it in the winter. You also don’t need to clean it out like a portable ac. And, ductless is quiet, unlike the constant dull roar of a window unit.
Finally, and most importantly, a ductless system provides better cooling, The technology behind it allows to distribute air more efficiently. It also uses less energy to do so.
Ductless air conditioning uses less energy than a window or portable air conditioner. In many cases, it’s also more efficient than a traditional central system. Since ductless uses less electricity, it costs less money to run.
Ductless is more efficient for a few reasons. First is the heat pump part of it. Unlike a central air conditioner or window unit, it doesn’t use electricity to generate cool air.
Instead, the pump only uses a small amount of energy to power its system. The process by which it extracts warmth is called a heat exchange. It’s a cyclical process that draws heat to the system and alternately cools and freezes refrigerant fluid inside the heat pump.
Next, the tubing that transports the air is sealed tight. That means no air gets lost along the way, unlike ductwork.
For these reasons, ductless mini-splits are Energy Star-certified. They meet federal standards showing they use less money than other units that provide the same amount of cooling. And, in Kane County, that can mean savings.
ComEd, the electricity provider, offers rebates to homeowners who install new heating and cooling units that meet specific efficiency standards. Ductless systems meet these criteria, That means a homeowner who installs one can get a significant discount on its cost.
Between rebates and energy savings, there are many financial benefits to a ductless mini-split. It’s an excellent way to get clean, quiet cool air for less money than you may have imagined.
Are you looking to add climate control to the bonus room over your garage? Contact us, and we’ll design a system that’s perfect for you.