Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) is ideally a humble, hard-working and barely noticed element of the overall home. Unfortunately, issues of placement, upkeep and installation are common and often costly.
Poor HVAC planning can lead to mold growth from too much moisture, white noise (or downright loud noise) and poor performance from a unit that is the wrong size for heating or cooling the area. If there's a lack of insulation or an inefficient placement of vents, residents can be hot or cold most of the time, which is a huge but preventable flaw. High ceilings, too many windows, too few windows and other design elements can add to heating and cooling costs.
While a gorgeous white-wash stucco dwelling in a Mediterranean climate may seem dreamy, consider the added task of frequently white-washing the walls to remove mold. Lovely joinery in traditional Asian building and wood detailing in Western Victorian architecture provide beauty and character, but they also have an abundance of interesting cracks, drafts and low-tech building issues. Consider your budget and your comfort in all seasons.