One modern amenity that many older homes are missing is an air conditioning system. Homes built before air conditioning were often built to take advantage of natural cooling mechanisms such as cross breezes. However, even with the ability to create a natural cool down, modern residents often prefer to have modern air conditioning installed into their older homes. However, this task is not as simple as simply putting in a central air conditioning system. Adding air conditioning to an old home can take more time and cost more money than homeowners expect. Here are three things that should be considered before adding air conditioning to an old home.
Some Homes Can Be Retrofitted With Central Air Conditioning
Many homeowners put off adding central air conditioning to the home since they expect that it will take a lot of time and money. However, some old homes can actually be retrofitted with central air conditioning if they already have an electric or gas forced-air heating system. The cost for this is on average between $2,800 and $3,800 but can go up to $10,000 if more duct work is needed. This project can also take as little time as just a couple of days when left in the hands of an experienced professional.
An Electrical Panel Upgrade May Be Needed
One thing that homeowners may not consider when going through an air conditioning installation is that many older homes have smaller electrical panels. In the past, homes did not use quite as much electricity as they do now. Upgrading the electrical panel may be required, especially if an additional breaker is necessary for the new air conditioning system. The cost of this averages between $570 and $1,581.
While central air conditioning is likely to offer the highest comfort level, in some homes it may not make much sense. This is often the case in homes where adding duct work or installing central air would undermine the architectural features of the home. The good news is that there are ductless options that owners of older homes should consider. Ductless mini-split air conditioning systems are far less obtrusive than central air conditioning systems that have duct work. While ductless air conditioning is less obtrusive, it does come at a cost. These systems cost about 30 percent more than central air, with a system for a 2,000 square foot home costing anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000.
Installing air conditioning in an old home can be a challenge. Homeowners who are thinking about air conditioning installation should consider whether or not their heating system can be retrofitted. It may also be necessary to upgrade the electrical panel when adding air conditioning to an older home. For those who are reluctant to add duct work to their home, ductless options are worth looking into.
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