Older homes are often beautiful and come with a storied history- however, they are also known for being difficult to heat and cool, as they weren’t built with modern HVAC systems in mind. These older houses have structural differences that impact these systems in many cases, but there are options that can work well for these historical structures.
Cooling Old Houses
Most of these homes were built before central air conditioning existed, and therefore they lack the ductwork that allows for these cooling systems. This means that traditional cooling is likely not the best way to go about this project- instead, there are energy-efficient solutions that will work well. Most of these systems can be used for heating as well as cooling.
Because most of this ductwork is usually built into the home’s frame, your older home will likely not have room to install these ducts after the fact. A high-velocity system relies on a dedicated HVAC unit that is connected to a mini-duct system, allowing for much smaller ductwork to be incorporated into the home. These ducts are about three inches in diameter, meaning they can be snaked through walls and ceilings, while their small vents create less disruption.
There is also the option of a ductless HVAC system, requiring no ducts of any size. These models use an exterior heat pump, which connects to interior air handling units to distribute air to the living space. A single unit outdoors can support multiple indoor units, connecting to them via a line set containing wiring and piping. This requires just a small hole in the exterior wall of the home. The indoor unit will be mounted on an interior wall and controlled via a remote. These units can also be controlled individually, so different rooms can be different temperatures.
Heating Old Houses
In addition to high-velocity systems and ductless systems, many old homes may already be equipped for radiator heating. This technology has been available since the 1700s and therefore is likely in place, requiring just updates to make them more efficient. A professional HVAC servicer can evaluate your radiator and determine what parts need to be updated and which pieces are still usable. In most cases, the radiator itself will be functional, requiring just a new boiler. Modern boilers offer better efficiency when a radiator uses hot water heating. Because these modulating-condensing boilers use only the amount of water needed, they can lead to energy conservation, which ultimately cuts down your energy costs.
Based on your home’s layouts and your needs, a professional may also recommend baseboard heating, electric heaters, or geothermal heating in more unique cases. The cost of different fuels in your area may also impact your decision.
If you live in an older home, Comfort Experts want to advise you on the best way to enjoy your beautiful house and still be comfortable. Our experts can evaluate any existing HVAC systems and your needs to determine the best option for you to tackle your indoor comfort.