Old houses often don't have air conditioning installed, which can be a problem when the summers are hot and uncomfortable. You may decide that the answer is to install air conditioning. In this case, you have three options – central AC, ductless or mini-split systems, or a window unit. The following guide can help you decide.
This is the most expensive option, since it may require the installation of duct work along with the air conditioner. The main benefit of these systems is that they create uniform coolness throughout the home and they can maintain a consistent temperature no matter how hot it gets outside.
When considering central AC, the main concern is ductwork. If you already have a central furnace, you may be able to piggy-back on the furnace ducts. Just keep in mind that the system may not work as effectively if you go with this option, since furnace ducts are typically placed near the floor (because heat rises), while AC ducts are usually near the ceiling so the cold air can sink down.
The other option is to have ductwork installed. This is really only a viable choice if you have easy access to the ceilings via the attic, and if there is sufficient room in the attic for the ducts.
A mini-split system is less expensive than a central unit and it doesn't require the installation of ductwork. This is a good option if you want a quiet and effective system, but would also like the ability to enjoy different temperatures in different rooms. This is because each room gets its own system. So, for example, you could keep your bedroom cooler so you sleep better, while the guest room is warmer when no one is staying in it.
In order to install this unit, you will need to have a spot to install the interior unit at ceiling level on an outside wall in the room. A small hole will be drilled to pass the air hose through, which will connect to the condenser unit on the outside of the house. The unit itself is hardwired into the a thermostat for that room. This is repeated for each unit, although multiple inside units can share one outside condenser.
A window AC is the best option when you want a low cost method to cool one or two rooms in the house. These units are loud compared to the other options and they will take up a window, so they aren't the right choice for everybody.
When selecting a window AC, measure the room you plan to cool first. Each unit will list the room size it is recommended for, and it's important to get a unit that is sized appropriately to ensure it cools well.
Talk to an AC contractor for more help.
For central AC installation, contact a company such as Getzschman Heating, LLC.