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Fit an Older Home With an HVAC System


Thinking about upgrading an older home with an HVAC system? Even historic homes can often have their value improved through the addition of an HVAC system. But HVAC systems are complex, and simply adding one to an already built home can be a bit of a challenge. The following ideas and guidelines may help.

Try an Unobtrusive Mini-Duct Systems

If your home has been in your family for years (or if it’s a historic home you put a lot of pride into), you may want to consider a mini-duct system. Mini-duct systems are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Ducts in a mini-duct system are only a few inches wide. They can be used for both heating and cooling. They are a little more expensive than traditional HVAC systems, as the air must be pushed harder through the smaller ducts. But it can be well worth it to maintain (or improve) the value of a property.

Mini-duct systems do take longer to install, but they can also improve the comfort of a room because the velocity of the air pushed through mixes the air for a more uniform overall temperature. They are also generally more energy efficient and less wasteful because the ducts themselves have a smaller surface area.

Install New Wall Units in Single Rooms

If an HVAC system is prohibitively difficult or cost is a major concern, some air conditioning and heating units can be mounted to a wall. These are not central systems because they don’t use duct work; they have one inside unit and one outside unit. 

These wall units are ideal for homes that have multiple zones that would be separately heated and cooled. They are not extremely visible, with a single small unit inside and a larger compressor unit outside.

Place Registers Anywhere

Registers can be placed practically anywhere throughout a home. It may be worth it to consider where you’re going to place the registers for your HVAC system. You will want to avoid any areas in which you intend to place furniture or decor. Many people also don’t consider symmetry, which can be important on both an aesthetic level and a functional level. 

Consider marking out the ultimate layout of the property with painter’s tape before you decide on where to put the registers.

Hide Ducts Throughout the Home

Though an older home may not have duct work installed, this duct work can be easily hidden throughout the property. Ducts can run to other floors through ceilings and run through closets and other storage as necessary. In most homes, second floor closets are the most effective option. All that will be visible are fairly small holes. 

Select the Right HVAC System

HVAC systems are selected using two factors: zone and size of the house. In order to choose the right HVAC system, you need to figure out which zone you are (moving from north to south) and how many square feet your house is.

This will give you a ballpark picture regarding how expensive your HVAC system is going to be. But you’ll still need to get a quote for the labor and installation costs.

Make Other Changes

Before you start using your HVAC system, you may want to consider ensuring that it’s efficient by making a few additional changes. Blowing in insulation into the attic, adding insulation to the walls, redoing your weather stripping, and adding energy efficient windows can all help.

Older homes may not have the newest methods of insulation. Installing an HVAC system can improve the overall energy efficiency of heating and cooling, but it won’t be as efficient as it could be without the above upgrades. For more information about retro-fitting an old house, contact the experts at HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Drains.

Posted in: Cooling, Heating

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