Tips for Adding an AC System to an Old House

If you have just purchased an older home, there is a good chance that you are trying to find a way to install an air conditioning system. The thing about older homes is that many of them were built before the age of central air conditioning – if you can imagine such a time. Most people during that time would have to leave the house if it got too warm. These days, though, AC systems have advanced to the point where you can retrofit your older home with an air conditioning system that won’t require too much installation or destruction of original details. Here are some tips for adding an AC system to an old house.

  1. Go portable if you have a smaller home. If your older home isn’t very big, you can probably get away with installing a portable or window air conditioning unit. These systems require extremely minimal installation and you won’t have to worry about drilling or knocking down walls. Of course, routine AC maintenance will be required, but you won’t have to clean out ductwork, which can be a huge boon when it comes to air conditioning systems.
  2. Save money by going with a split ductless system. What is a split ductless system? A split ductless system is basically an air conditioning system that can cool down your entire home, but that doesn’t require a snaking labyrinth of ductwork. A split system includes two main units: an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. The outdoor unit condenses and conditions the air and the indoor unit emits the cold air and effectively cools down your home. These systems are great for moderately sized homes that don’t have multiple levels.
  3. Utilize dead space for ductwork. If you do install ductwork, you want to do your best not to knock down walls or to destroy the original craftsmanship of the home. In older homes, there is crawlspace where you can squeeze ductwork. You can also use basement space and attic space for ductwork. When it comes to creating dampers for the central air conditioning system, be sure to install the dampers low and away from molding and other details – you don’t want to take away from the look and feel of the older home.
  4. Add inches to the ceiling. If you don’t want to cut directly into the old walls for dampers, you could add a few inches to the sealing, pull in the ductwork and then cover everything up with dry wall. You can very easily blend the drywall into the original workings of the walls, so that everything looks seamless. This is the best way to minimize major construction.
  5. Make sure that your electrical system can handle the power load of your new AC. Before you let the new AC rip, you want to know if your older electrical system can handle the new power requirements. If it can’t, you may need to make minor updates to your electrical system – you don’t want to cause a short or a blackout.

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