A remodel is all about making your home more enjoyable to live in. While it certainly isn't a glamorous overhaul, updating your HVAC system during your remodel is a good use of your budget. Many HVAC makeovers require access to ductwork that is stashed away in the wall. That means these updates are best done when the walls are already open, like during a remodel.

Switch to a Zone Based System

Zone-based HVAC systems might just be the best thing since sliced bread. Whereas a traditional forced air system only has two options—on or off—a zone based system offers the ability to only run the air in one part of the house, or to make small adjustments in temperature. Not only do zone based systems use less energy, they keep the house at a more consistent temperature, making you more comfortable. No more trying to use fans to try and keep the hot air from hanging out upstairs or freezing all afternoon just so your bedrooms are sufficiently cool for good sleep. The reason why a remodel is the best time to put one of these systems in is that it does require reworking quite a bit of your ductwork. Valves will have to be installed in key locations in the ducts, as well as the controls to run and coordinate them. The easiest time to do this is while the walls are already open, which saves you the step of opening them up just for this.

Make Sure Your Ductwork Is In Good Condition

Even if you aren't ready for a major upgrade, this is a good time to do minor repairs. This means finding any and all leaks in the ductwork, as well as adding insulation if you don't have any already. These things seem relatively minor, but they can make a big difference. You want your conditioned air to control the temperature in your home—not in your walls. Since the cost of this maintenance is minimal, there is no excuse to exclude this project each time you work on a room.

Get a New Thermostat (or Two)

Another small project you can easily add to any remodel is a new thermostat. This is especially important if you are still using an old-school manual thermostat. At the very least, you should move up to a programmable model, but if you want to really move into the modern age, you can invest in a smart thermostat.

A programmable thermostat will allow you to set the temperature based on the time of day—a bit cooler in the evening, warmer during the day, and off while everyone is away at work and school. A smart thermostat takes things a step further. Most models will actually suggest a schedule for you that maximizes your comfort while minimizing your energy bill. You can also control your thermostat remotely, allowing you to change the temperature before you leave work or check on things when you are away for the weekend.

If you are also adding a zone based system, you may need multiple panels—one for each zone. Just make sure they are capable of communicating and coordinating with each other. Your HVAC tech will be able to make a recommendation as to which models will work best with your new zone based system.

Upgrading your HVAC system is definitely worthwhile—in fact, it may be the only part that will eventually pay for itself. The next time you are working on your house, consider adding an HVAC upgrade into the mix. While your budget might get a little bigger than you wanted, it is a decision that will reward you for years to come. Click here for info about your options.