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Managing a Home's Mechanicals Requires Creative Solutions

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Home Design

Managing a Home's Mechanicals Requires Creative Solutions


August 25, 2021
air conditioner
Photo: Christian Delbert | stock.adobe.com

Smaller lots require creative thinking for the necessary parts of the home, the mechanicals. Designing and constructing a beautiful home is important, but if the heat, air conditioning, and hot water systems are not up to par, buyers won’t want it. And as lot sizes get smaller and smaller, placement of the mechanicals requires innovative solutions, says architecture firm Housing Design Matters. When locating a spot for an air handler in Florida, it requires 3 to 5 feet of space, and might result in two air conditioning closets, depending on the size of the home.

In other locations, the units end up in the attic or basement, requiring chases. Of course, it gets harder to carve room for units and chases in smaller homes and attached product.

Then there’s the water heater. Is it in the garage or basement? If it’s gas, we will need a flue or have it direct vented to an outside wall. We avoid putting water heaters in the attic since no one wants to look up at a wet ceiling or worse, a waterfall. On-demand water heaters are awesome because you never run out of hot water, and they take up less space.

OUTSIDE: THE BIG STUFF
With every inside air handling unit comes an outside unit. When side yards were 7.5’, we would locate those along the side of the house. Naturally, we would have to screen them from the street which we could do with a half wall or landscaping.

But with 5’ side yard or smaller, we are no longer able to put them on the side – unless we indent the house.

Instead, these units end up on the back of the house. Perfect for adding ambience to your backyard living as you listen to your unit (or your neighbor’s unit) turn off and on – not! And how does it look? Can you see it from inside the home? Nothing is more alarming than seeing your air handler from your owner’s suite sitting area.

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