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3 Air Conditioning Options for Old Houses

Old Home Interior

Choosing the right air conditioning for old houses can be overwhelming. With several different options to choose from, it’s understandable to feel unsure of which option is best for your unique home.

In many cases, older homes don’t have the ductwork needed for traditional, modern air conditioners. That doesn’t mean installing air conditioning in an old house is impossible — but you may have a more complicated process ahead of you.

The cost to install air conditioning in an old house is an investment worth making. However, it’s important you know what your options are and make an informed decision.

John C. Flood is here to help guide and educate you along the way. Read on for the top 3 air conditioning options for old houses.

How to Install Air Conditioning in Old House

The installation process for air conditioning systems in older houses is unique to the home and the unit you choose. Never attempt to install an air conditioner on your own, especially in an old home that may need an updated electrical system.

If you try to install an AC unit on your own without the proper skills, experience, and knowledge of the unit, you can end up causing damage to your home, your AC unit, and potentially yourself.

As mentioned above, old homes often lack the necessary ductwork and electrical capacity to handle a modern AC unit. That means you may have a big upgrade job ahead since you can’t simply “plug and play.”

Not only that, but some old buildings lack the space to install the ductwork needed for a traditional system. Finding the room to put the ductwork and a big AC unit can be challenging, and upgrading all the electrical equipment in the home can get expensive.

If the job is done poorly, you can end up with damaged walls, floors, and woodwork in your home.

Thankfully, air conditioning options for old houses aren’t limited to massive units with complicated ducts. You have a few different options for installing air conditioning in an old house to make the job a little easier.

Top 3 Air Conditioning Options for Old Houses

1. Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioning Systems

Mini-split systems get their name because they have two major components: 1) The compressor and condensing unit, which is often called the outdoor unit, and 2) The evaporator coil and air handling unit, which is often called the indoor unit.

In a ductless split air conditioning system, the outdoor and indoor units are connected by a small conduit with refrigerant and electrical lines.

The outdoor unit is typically installed under a window on the outside of the building and the indoor unit can be wall mounted or can be installed in the ceiling if there is adequate clearance.

Mini-split AC units are typically used to cool one or two rooms and are quieter than wall or window units. They’re great options if you’re looking for something budget-friendly and flexible.

2. Variable Refrigerant Flow Air Conditioning Systems

One of the best contemporary air conditioning alternatives for older homes is the Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system. VRFs have an indoor air handler and an outdoor condenser, much like conventional central air conditioning systems. However, that's where the similarities end.

It is possible to install VRF systems without bulky ductwork. Instead, the unit uses smaller indoor fan coil units that are dispersed across the home and are connected by refrigerant lines.

This cutting-edge system technology means you can have multiple indoor units to create zones that can each be controlled separately. It’s highly efficient and guarantees that there are no hot or cold patches in your home.

3. High-Velocity Air Conditioning Systems

One of the best air conditioning options for old houses is a high-velocity unit. This system is made for smaller spaces that can't support massive ducts. The high-velocity system uses tiny, flexible ducts with a diameter of only 2 inches.

These can easily be routed through walls and around obstructions without making significant holes in the walls and ceilings.

To lessen noise, the little ducts are also insulated. The blower and coil unit are also included in the system, which is housed in a compact box that may fit in small places.

Cost to Install Air Conditioning in Old House

The cost to install air conditioning in an old house varies significantly. For example, a smaller unit will be much more affordable, especially if you don’t need to upgrade the home’s electrical system to support the installation.

On the other hand, a big unit for a big home will cost more, especially if you’re also upgrading the electrical work. Expect to spend anywhere from $3,000 to $25,000, depending on the season, the scope of work, and the unit you choose.

Get an Installation Estimate From John C. Flood

When it comes to installing air conditioning in an old house, it’s important to work with experienced professionals. We’ll work with you every step of the way, and will be happy to create a maintenance plan to ensure your home gets the extra care it needs.

Contact us today to get started.

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