If you’re thinking about remodeling your home or are building a new home from the ground up, you definitely want to have a general contractor who you can trust to bring in the right kinds of people to do the job right. Plumbing, heating, and cooling are crucial parts of your home that need special care and attention to make sure that you have quality systems running in the new part of your home (or your new home in general!). Well done work will keep you from having to think about significant repairs for a long time and decreases the likelihood that you’ll have issues with the system early on. Of course, keeping your plumbing, heating, and cooling systems well maintained and looked after is also important, but if your general contractor brings in great people to do the job the first time around, you can rest easy with your renovations.
If I’m Doing Renovations, What Should I Keep In Mind?
You want a general contractor in any case who is going to be punctual, responsible, and a good manager. He or she is responsible for the daily management of the construction site, ordering materials and dealing with vendors (if it’s a major project) and keeping everyone on the same page as the project progresses. It’s key that you trust and have a good working relationship with your general contractor.
Water Heaters and Furnaces
If you’re doing renovations that involve your basement or wherever you keep your furnace or water heater, you may want to consider replacing them entirely. If furnaces are over 10 years old, you need to get them inspected every year anyway and old water heaters can suck up as much as 30% of your total energy consumption. Furnaces on average are only expected to last between 15 to 18 years and you want to have one that’s energy efficient. Indeed, the new lowest efficiency permitted by laws for new gas furnaces is 78% and some of the brand new models are at 97%, which is near total efficiency. Not bad! You can also swap out your old water heater model if you use under 41 gallons of hot water a day for tankless water heaters. These can be anywhere from 24-34% more energy efficient than the traditional water heaters with storage tanks. They also can last over 20 years.
Around two-thirds of all homes in the United States have air conditioners and these can cost homeowners over $11 billion annually, especially if they’re running inefficiently. Keeping your air conditioner clean and well maintained can have a huge impact on how efficient your air conditioner is. Swapping out an old model for a new high-efficiency model and investing in other ways to keep your home cool could cut down on energy use from air conditioners by 20-50%. Measures like planting shrubs and trees near your home or adding awnings or shutters can help keep your home cool as well. Good air flow (created by keeping windows and doors open) and turning off lights can also help reduce the temperature.
If you’re remodeling, you generally want to avoid moving the major plumbing lines already in existence. Try and work around them if you can, since relocating them even a few inches can cost you thousands. You also want to be sure that you’re not skimping on skilled and qualified labor for these kinds of jobs. If you’re starting from scratch, a good plumber will know the best place to lie the sewer and plumbing lines to keep tree roots from wreaking havoc. A good plumber will also look for higher quality pipes and other fixtures to make your remodel look fantastic. They’ll do a great, watertight job that you won’t have to worry about for years. Keeping oils, fats, hair, and other large substances out of your drains can also go a long way towards extending your plumbing’s lifespan!
There are certainly plenty of things to consider when thinking about remodeling your home or building one from the ground up. A good general contractor can take many of those worries and responsibilities out of your hands.