New Homes

Comfort and the Bonus Room

Bonus Room

Bonus Room: an extra space added above the garage. New-home builders like it because it is relatively easy to construct, thereby creating additional square footage for relatively less cost per square foot. Home owners like it for the same reasons, plus they now have a Game Room, or Entertainment Room, or Play Room. Until high summer hits, that is.

Then the homeowners suffocate from the heat, and pay extra money to their Heat and Air contractor only to be told everything’s working just fine, that it’s just a naturally hot room. Then the builders get a call-back: why’s this room so hot? So on the next house, the builder will have their Heat and Air folks put in a larger AC unit, hoping this will solve the problem. Or have the Bonus Room made into a separate zone. But it still never reaches the set temperature in high summer or deep winter. Another call-back.

I can’t tell you how many homes I’ve done Energy Audits on, where one big complaint is the Bonus Room’s discomfort. Too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter. AC set to a mere 78 degrees but the room never gets below 85. Or Heat set to 72 but it never gets above 65.

The family doesn’t like to hang out there. The extra square footage that seemed like a benefit is now a burden. The Entertainment Room isn’t so entertaining. The Play Room isn’t played in. No hobbies are done in the Hobby Room.

And yet, what a simple fix! Simple, that is, when still building the house; not as easy after it has already been built. So now, when I inspect new home construction at the pre-drywall stage, I can assist builders on how to avoid those costly and inexplicable call-backs on the Bonus Room. The overall aim in my inspections is to ensure that the hot summer attic air does not reach the walls, ceiling, or floor of the Bonus Room. Or the cold winter air. This is so important that the IECC CodeEnergy Star, and LEED all insist on a pre-drywall inspection. This entails looking for ways air can move and ways temperature can influence. We want to have proper air blocking and correctly installed insulation.

With these simple fixes—relatively inexpensive alterations to framing techniques, insulating techniques, and finishing touches—we can ensure a Bonus Room that is still cost-effective to build and comfortable for the home owner.

So make one phone call to us to avoid calls about Bonus Rooms in the future.

William2

 

By: William E. Beaver, HERS Rater

 

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