What comes to mind when you think of a mechanical room? You know - the place where your water heater and air handler live? In older houses they tend to be a nightmare...usually the water heater has been leaking for a while and there’s rust surrounding it. You might also observe insulation hanging from the ceilings, and dim lighting. In new construction homes, it’s typically a very crammed space with several items jammed together. Water lines, electrical wires, and HVAC ducts run around in crazy patterns, making it impossible for most new homeowners to determine what goes where. Simple things like changing the filter on your air handler, or adjusting the temperature on your water heater are a constant battle in poorly lit and cramped conditions.
But please take note: It doesn’t have to be this way; in fact, it shouldn’t be this way!
One of the construction processes that we at Collins Building Group take seriously is orderly and unencumbered work spaces. We make this a priority throughout all building stages, including “unseen” spaces like the mechanical room. Normally, mechanical rooms are located in the basement or crawlspace of a new residence, so they will not be seen by guests in the home; often they receive little attention during the construction process. However, mechanical rooms are one of the most important rooms in the house, and therefore deserve thoughtful planning.
Collins Building Group implements the following smart solutions in our clients’ mechanical rooms:
1) If located in a basement, we always use open web floor trusses, for several reasons. One reason is so that we can run all the pipes, wire, and HVAC duct through the webbing in the floor trusses, versus nailing it to the bottom of a typical 2x. This also allows us to keep our ceiling heights in basements high so you don’t need a dropped ceiling.
2) We prefer to place a few 4-foot fluorescent light fixtures inside the mechanical room with a switch, instead of the normal pull-chain on a single light bulb.
3) We free up valuable space by recommending a tankless water heater, which is also much more efficient.
4) We install drains for the air handler and the water heater below the device (instead of in the middle of the room) so that the homeowners don’t have to worry about tripping over drain lines when they walk in. (This is a real personal irritation of mine. When I see a drain in the middle of the room with pipes running to it from all directions, it’s a sure sign that someone was trying to cut corners!)
5) Finally, soundproofing the entire room with blown cellulose ensures absolute quiet for people upstairs or outside the mechanical room. Using netting over the cellulose ensures that it won’t fall down in a couple of years.
With sound systems, security systems, water heaters, HVAC, and panel boxes, the importance of having a clean and orderly area is very important. Questions like - To which side of the house should we run your water and gas? - are issues we address before the start of construction. The last thing you want is for the mechanical needs of your home to be an afterthought. Each and every client of CBG enjoys easy access and well-lit, organized conditions in their home’s mechanical rooms.
For more information regarding this topic, please contact us.