With the St Louis Home Show right around the corner, we thought it would be fun to discuss home improvement. Specifically, projects that require work from an HVAC contractor. Having grown up in construction, I always enjoy seeing amenities in households that put off a “wow” factor. Which is why we also love working on custom projects that help transform both the look, comfort and functionality of a customer’s home. After a lot of thought, here are 5 fun home improvement projects an HVAC contractor can help you with.
1) Wine Cellar
What was once thought to only be found in high end homes, wine cellars are now becoming much more affordable. A lot of this has been due to a huge shift in the habits of consumption. Back in 2015, the Wine Market Council released a study stating that 42 percent of all wine in the United States was consumed by millennials. As more millennials transition into their first and second homes, it makes sense why a home wine cellar makes for a great project. Because let’s be honest, no one likes that tacky wine rack you bought at a garage sale back in college.
Factors to Consider When Planning How to Build a Wine Cellar
- The Space: This is the most important factor. Basements usually make the most sense. Which is probably why they call them a wine cellar. Due to being underground, a basement will naturally maintain colder temperatures than the rest of the home. The ideal wine cellar temperature can range anywhere between 45° F and 65° F depending on the type of wine. Most wine cellars are usually set around 55° F.
- Sunlight: While drinking wine in the sun is a good thing, storing wine in sunlight is not. Direct sunlight or even bright lights can cause wine to age faster than it should. This can lead to a decrease in taste quality. This factor is another reason why basements make a lot of sense for wine cellars.
- Temperature Fluctuations: Consistency is key when it comes to wine storage. Choosing a space that experiences minimal temperature fluctuations is the trick to maintaining quality. An easy way to identify an optimal space is locating an area with low humidity levels.
Wine Cellar Cooling Unit Installation
Once the space has been located and plans are in place, installing the wine cellar cooling unit becomes vital. This is where a local HVAC contractor can help. Not only can an HVAC professional help with the installation, but they can also help guide you on which type of cooling system to choose. A good HVAC contractor will be able to weigh what options make the most sense for the homeowner based on their current heating and cooling system. Common types of wine cellar cooling units include:
- Ductless Mini Split Refrigeration System
- Ducted-Split Air Handler
- Self Contained Air Handler
For any questions or information regarding wine cellar cooling unit installs, give us a call at our office. Our phone number is (314)351-5580.
2) The Man Cave
The man cave. Every man’s sacred shrine of beer neons, sports paraphernalia and big screen TVs. Each man cave is different, however we can usually classify them into 3 types:
The Basement Man Cave
Also known as an “Underground Lair of Testosterone.” The basement man cave is a common compromise between husband and wife. The husband agrees to finish the basement or have the basement finished, while the wife agrees to let him think he owns the space. Picking out decor for the basement man cave can be the most difficult part of this project as the basement is technically still part of the home. Many times, the wife is ‘OK’ with the masculine look as long as it is tasteful. Think more Dave & Busters than local dive bar.
The Garage Man Cave
So you weren’t happy with the restrictions in the basement, and have now decided to move your man cave to the garage. In your eyes, this is a win win for everyone. The man gets his man cave and the woman keeps her home feeling like a home. But the garage man cave does not come without challenges. Extreme temperatures in Missouri can create less than ideal climates for almost half the year. There is also the whole car factor. However if you can get creative, the garage can serve as a proper haven for male activities. An important factor to weigh with the garage man cave is smoking. Just like carbon monoxide with cars, smoking in the garage can often cause toxins to find their way inside the home. This can decrease your indoor air quality by increasing indoor air pollutants found in cigarettes.
The Detached Man Cave
This man cave can be located in a variety of different structures. Most commonly are the detached garage, poker shed or hunting shack. All face the same challenges of any man cave not located within the confines of the home. That is heating and cooling. But heating and cooling your man cave can be resolved. And if that factor can be addressed, having a man cave off-site comes with a number of perks. Such examples of this include playing your music loud, staying up late and less maintenance (cleaning).
The Ductless Mini Split to the Rescue
Every home is different, but in most cases the ductless mini split is perfect for man caves. Mini split systems are affordable ways to heating and cooling man caves. While the basement man cave can easily be tied into a central air system, both the garage man cave and detached man cave will usually require ductless systems. An HVAC contractor can assess the perfect solution when weighing these factors. If you are currently working on your male refuge, and would like to talk about heating and cooling solutions, call our office today at (314)351-5580. We will be able to provide you a quick assessment and quote to get your man pad up and running in time for the next big sporting event.
3) Outdoor Gas Fireplace & Fire Pits
There is no better center piece to an outdoor living space than an outdoor gas fireplace. An outdoor fireplace can transform the functionality of your home and extend the use of your backyard by up to three months a year. The level of difficulty in regards to installation can range depending on the scope of the project. For this section we will be discussing two of the more popular examples.
Many hardscape projects can be extremely intimidating and rightfully so. There is nothing worse than loading thousands of pounds of stone only to realize you are in over your head; but do not be afraid. As the outdoor fireplace continues to increase in popularity, many hardscape manufacturers provide kits for outdoor fireplaces with detailed instructions on how to assemble. If you are looking to build a stone fireplace that is over six feet high, you might want to contact someone who specializes in masonry. The advantage of an outdoor fireplace over a fire pit is strictly design configuration. Outdoor fireplaces are best used as a focal point of an outdoor living space. Many homeowners will attach an outdoor TV to the mantle which makes for an ideal environment to watch a football game during a chilly Fall afternoon. An outdoor fireplace can help boost the value of your home as these features are popular selling points for prospective home buyers.
Just like outdoor fireplaces, fire pits are also commonly found in easy to assemble kits. Fire pits on average require less labor when installing. When comparing the functionality, fire pits are better suited as a center piece to an outdoor living space. They provide a purpose for guests to sit around and congregate together over heated space. Most come with attachments such as a fireplace grill, where residents and guests can cook food over an open flame while enjoying a glass of wine.
Running a Gas Line Should Not Dictate Your Decision
A friend of mine just finished an outdoor fireplace he had been working on for over six months. When I went over to check it out, I noticed it was not hooked up to a gas line. I asked him why he decided to not use natural gas, and he replied “I didn’t want to run a gas pipe from my house to the fireplace.” I couldn’t believe what I had heard. Natural gas in Missouri is extremely accessible and affordable which is why most homes use gas furnaces. Depending on the configuration, it can be very easy to have an HVAC contractor come out and run a gas line straight to an outdoor gas fireplace or gas fire pit. If you are weighing the options between gas or wood, give a trusted HVAC contractor a call first. It can be a much easier and affordable job than you think. We would be more than welcomed to shoot you a price. Call us at (314)351-5580 to set up a quote.
4) Home Music Studio
If you have every been to a local music store, you have probably noticed they keep their high end acoustic guitars in a separate room. At first glance, many customers assume it is for security. However the primary reason is tied to sound quality as it relates to humidity levels. During the winter months in St Louis, it is impossible to escape the dry air. We feel it everywhere we go. The dry throats, dry skin, dry hair and static are all symptoms of low moisture in the air.
How Low Humidity Levels Can Impact The Sound of a Guitar
So what does dry air have to do with your acoustic guitar? Acoustic guitars, like most wooden instruments experience a dramatic decrease in sound quality when exposed to dry air over long periods of time. The dry air causes the wood on the guitar to lose moisture. When the wood becomes dry, it shrinks leading to a dramatic shift in the sound quality of the instrument and potential permanent damage. The ideal humidity for guitars sit right around 45-55%.
There is No Better Installer or Humidifiers Than an HVAC Contractor
Now that you have your home music studio equipped with the essentials (USB Mics, Pro Tools, Instruments, etc), it is time to create an ideal indoor ecosystem for that first recording sesh. A good HVAC contractor can assess your current humidity levels and equip your studio with the proper humidifier to maintain optimal levels. While we can provide ideal conditions, it is on you to record that artistic masterpiece. To get started on your new home music studio, call our office today at (314) 351-5580.
5) Outdoor Heater
As we touched on with outdoor fireplaces, outdoor living spaces are becoming more popular. But what if you don’t want to install a fireplace just to heat your patio? As you have probably noticed with many heated restaurant patios in St Louis, patio heaters are becoming more popular as practical solutions to heat an outdoor space. Many HVAC contractors offer a variety of different outdoor heating options that can be specifically designed to heat your patio. These include overhead heaters that can installed on an awning to portable propane patio heaters. To find out more about how Vitt can help heat your outdoor living space, call us today at (314)351-5580.
The Importance of Air Duct Cleaning After a Home Improvement Project
It is extremely important to have your air ducts professionally cleaned after most types of home improvement projects. Especially ones that require any sort of demolition. Air ducts are often contaminated with building materials and other particles that eventually are released and recycled throughout the air inside your home. One of the first questions we ask our customers when they ask about air duct cleaning is if they recently completed a home project. If the HVAC contractor you are working with does not offer air duct cleaning, most do. We would love the opportunity to earn your business. If you have recently completed a home improvement project and want to schedule an air duct cleaning, call us today at (314)351-5580.